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SYFY WIRE Interviews

Twisted Metal Costume Designer on Crafting a "Really Exciting" and "Very Colorful" Post-Apocalypse

Twisted Metal "wasn't a post-apocalyptic landscape that was meant to be shades of brown and taupe."

By Josh Weiss
Chloe Fineman as Bloody Mary in Twisted Metal 107

From word "Go!" the talented folks behind Peacock's Twisted Metal series (stream all 10 episodes right here!) set out to create a very different kind of post-apocalypse for the high-octane video game adaptation.

Recently chatting with SYFY WIRE​​​​​​, costume designer Liz Vastola (Daredevil, Jessica Jones) explained how showrunner Michael Jonathan Smith was constantly pushing department heads to take "big swings" in order to give audiences an unexpected take on the end of the world.

Twisted Metal Costume Designer Talks Vibrant, Post-Apocalyptic Fashion

"He wanted it to be bold and bright," Vastola said. "This wasn't a post-apocalyptic landscape that was meant to be shades of brown and taupe. Not that that's a bad thing. There are very iconic movies and shows that have been made in that color palette, but he was clear that he wanted it to feel really exciting to look very colorful."

RELATED: Twisted Metal Sound Editor Had to "Completely Amplify" Original Video Game Effects for Peacock Series

Despite the show's larger-than-life attitude, however, Vastola wanted to keep the various fashions somewhat grounded and capable of standing up to logical scrutiny by answering the question of: "Where are these people getting their clothes?"

"It’s not like everybody in our world is an amazing tailor, sewing rubber suits, or does the absolute most with what they wear," she continued. "Some characters express themselves very boldly in how they dress and some people are just doing the best they can."

On the "express themselves boldly front," Vistola came up with the idea of peacocking (no pun intended) among the milkman community and dangerous marauders who regularly operate outside city walls as a means of warding off potential danger.

"Those types of folks would really need to be expressive in how they dressed," she said, "because they’d need to announce to people on the road that they were strong, that they were formidable; that they were maybe a little scary, that they were maybe unhinged, so they didn't look as vulnerable."

Underpinning the whole costume design process was the fact that the world of Twisted Metal had began to culturally stagnate in 2002 when a mysterious, Y2K-style bug in the system took down the world's network of computers. Once people no longer had access to internet porn, civilization totally collapsed. While the early aughts had yet to completely shake off the "bigger volume" and "drab color palette" of '90s-era fashion, Vistola said, it did begin "turning the corner into something a little bit more chrome and silvery and bright."

RELATED: Who Are The Stars of Twisted Metal, and Who Do They Play?

"I think another huge thing was just the access to branding ... right on down to John’s Hi-C shirt," added the costume designer. "Not shying away from bold moves like that [which] would have been very ubiquitous at that time."

Speaking of brands, Vistola was aware of the need to steer clear of "newer brands that have quickly come onto the scene" over the last two decades. Footwear proved to be another sticking point, because of how it "goes through a fashion cycle quickly," she explained. "And so, making sure we felt a little more staid, a little more rough and tumble with the boots and the sneakers was important."

Nevertheless, Vistola still wanted "a timelessness to certain things" as a nod to how popular video game characters never feel too dated with regards to the apparel that follows them from console to console. "I think it's really successful when what they have on has this sort of iconic, timeless status to it," she said. "So I think it was kind of balancing that as well."

A number of costume pieces were culled from thrift shops in Louisiana (where production took place), with the rest being created from scratch. "Because we just needed so many multiples for driving doubles and stunt doubles," Vistola concluded, adding that her job was made a little easier by the fact that styles from the late '90s/early 2000s have enjoyed a serious comeback over the last year. "I always prefer the more legitimate, authentic thing. But it definitely helped us out for some larger crowd moments or for the lawmen, knowing that we were experiencing a resurgence of Y2K fashion in present-day stores."

All 10 episodes of Twisted Metal are now streaming on Peacock

Want more original Peacock content? Be sure to check out Bel-AirKilling ItA Friend of the FamilyPoker FaceJoe vs. CaroleMrs. DavisMacGruber, and Based on a True Story.