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What Dreams May Come, Universal Pictures 1997, Directed by Vincent Ward, Costumes by Yvonne Blake


This is a story about soul mates (Robin Williams and Annabella Sciorra) whose love lasts into the afterlife. There are stunning visualizations of heaven and hell with Max von Sydow, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Rosalind Chao as guides to eternity. It won the 1998 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

I loved every day of the seven months I worked on this film because I got to dye yards of my favorite material, silk, and make historical costumes. Yvonne Blake was a joy to work with and her attention to color is akin to mine. She trusted my knowledge of costume history so I was given to the task of outfitting the Heaven and Library sequences. The concept was that a Victorian diorama in the little girl’s bedroom was what her version of heaven would look like, so I outfitted characters to bring that work of art to life. I worked very closely with the art department to ensure that the art that they put on the home set transformed into the costumes in the afterlife. For example, Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Garden of Earthly Delights is hanging above the bed in one scene, and I used an image within it to make the hats for the red guards in Hell. I think two of the most challenging costumes I have ever made were for this film: a Renaissance mermaid that was not only waterproof, but also rigged to fly and a coat made out of Buffalo hides for Max von Sydow.

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