An international road to fashion, costumes and films with Ornella Chiossone
by Margarita Sophia Cortes
Walking into an empty trailer I am always afraid of walking in on someone doing something they don’t want to get caught doing. Luckily it’s the first day of shooting and I find costume designer, Ornella Chiossone trying to call my cell phone. There, nestled between the wardrobe she coordinated for an independent feature film production in Williamsburg, we begin our conversation on her creative process, her favorite projects and her international fashion background.
Ornella’s journey to Brooklyn as a costume designer was an interesting one. Born in Venezuela, Ornella says she always loved film. She got a job doing fashion PR in NYC and was sent to a film shoot, where she found herself immediately drawn to the wardrobe department. Surrounded by amazing costume pieces and the department crew, she nurtured her love of fashion, costumes, cameras and working behind the scenes. It was her calling and she wasted no time. Ornella contacted the Director right away and asked if she could help in any capacity on the film. Eventually she stayed working as a production assistant and helped out in the wardrobe department. Her ambition grew fast and after a couple of production assistant jobs, she was signed on as an official costume designer. “That’s what I love about NY” she gleefully shared with me, “everywhere you go on a film shoot, you meet people and then from there, you just get started.”
“I love Brooklyn, there are always things going on!”
Prior to coming to NYC, she briefly lived in Paris and Madrid, working in photography and advertising for fashion. In Madrid, she worked for Spanish Fashion Designer Agatha Ruiz de La Prada. “Her designs are very bright, fun and very elaborate.” Boy, she wasn’t kidding – check out these incredible runway shots from 2015.
As great as it all sounds, Ornella found herself wanting more and after exhausting all of her resources in Spain, she flew across the ocean for the big apple. “I love Brooklyn, there are always things going on!” Here in Brooklyn, this Venezuelan designer easily found enough film and television projects as costume designer through friends and industry networks.
Her current film project was made through an introduction from the producer, a friend who has previously worked with Ornella. After meeting with the director, reading the script and discussing the fashion strategy with the crew, Ornella got her best creative ideas while riding the MTA subway lines. “I took a picture of a character on the subway and then showed the look to the director and we worked from there.” All together, it took about two weeks for the creative process and one week to pull clothes and after 20 days of shooting she’s off to her next project, “ I’ll be working on a television pilot in Long Island!”
One of her stand-out moments was during a music video with a 60s style blended with interesting characters like ninjas, Hercules and a funkadelic dragon. Only in Brooklyn. “The creative process was very fun and imaginative.” She spotted a funky heart choker on instagram and bought materials to re-create her vision. “That was my favorite piece.”
Her goals are simple: “to keep growing, learning and continue working on films and television.” Through our conversations, I introduced her to New York Women in Film & Television and she joined right away. The nonprofit organization, which has been helping #WomenCallTheShots for 37 years, produces an annual gala specifically for designers. The 2015 Designing Women Gala Event takes place May 28 at the Scholastic building in Soho, NYC.
Our new NYWIFT member, Ornella can’t wait to check it out and continue building her career among a network of industry leaders.