Allison Leach has one of those careers fashion design enthusiasts would love to add to their style dossier. Her style projects includes the films The Hills Have Eyes , The Last House on the Left, and yes, the television show that literally dictated an entire season of fashion, Mad Men.
She is currently the head of wardrobe for Mattel’s first live-action feature Max Steel currently filming in Wilmington, NC. She has also worked with corporations including Microsoft, Caesar Entertainment, BMW China and Sony Music International. Her latest corporate uniform design can be seen at the world’s biggest observation wheel, The High Roller, Las Vegas.
We had a chance to chat with Allison about her stylish career while she’s filming in Wilmington.
Carolina STYLE : Why did you choose this field? Something you always wanted to do or something that chose you?
Allison Leach: A little of both! I spent much of my childhood playing dress up. But it wasn’t until I was about 20-years-old that I realized that something you enjoy can also be a career.
How do you prepare for each project?
Once I sign onto a project, I start seeing inspiration everywhere I go. So I just keep my eyes peeled and heart open to all the inspiration around me! I become like a magnet for cool elements to include in the visual world of the movie. Often I just trust my gut, file things away on my computer in a very general folder. These images always come back to find a place in the film. It’s magic!
What do you do while in NC (and which city are you in now)?
Currently in Wilmington, which feels like an enchanted place to me! Great people and great vintage shopping! Can’t wait to be done shooting so I can check out the tide pools, go wreck diving and just generally pretend to be a mermaid.
What is the best part of what you do?
Besides great catering, the moment of transformation of an actor into a character. Sometimes that happens in the fitting. Or sometimes it happens after they are in full hair/makeup & costume. It’s a beautiful moment.
Describe a typical day on set…
It feels 18 hours of running on a treadmill with a carrot dangling just out of reach! But when the film is all shot, you get to sit there in the dark and watch it all on the big screen. And that’s when you get to eat the carrot.
What type of movie would you love to work on? Era, location?
Something sweeping and epic! A movie like “The Fall”. Or something funny and full of great characters, like “Overboard” or “Big Business”!
Professionally, what would you like to accomplish next?
Having a few of my favorite designs from the last 10 years available for purchase. A tiny little “line”. Just a whisper past my usual rule of only designing custom one of a kind clothes and costumes (except the uniforms I do for the venues in Las Vegas… Those are definitely in quantities above 1).
Advice for aspiring wardrobe designers?
Wear one thing a day that scares you!
Anything else you can share about future movies and projects?
Lots of big and exciting stuff on the horizon! Living the dream!