”It’s incredibly nice when costumes really are present”, is how Kicki Ilander stated it when she, 2008, received her first Guldbagge award for special achievement, in this case for the costumes in Arn –The Knight Templar (Arn: Tempelriddaren).
Kicki Ilander is an art director and costume designer who entered the film industry in the mid 1980s. She handled props on Allan Edwall’s acclaimed adaptation of Bertil Malmberg’s childhood memoir Åke and His World (Åke och Hans värld) in 1984, as well as on Andrei Tarkovsky’s mystery play The Sacrifice (1986), where a faulty film camera forced the team to rebuild a burned-down house more or less from scratch. She was an art direction assistant on Bo Widerberg’s The Serpent’s Way (Ormens väg på Hälleberget) and on Love Me! (Älska mig) by Kay Pollack, both made in 1986.
Ilander have had several collaborations together with Swedish art director Anna Asp. On the Palme d’Or- and Oscar-awarded Pelle the Conqueror (Pelle Erövraren, Bille August, 1987), Asp was in charge of the art direction department, while Ilander oversaw the costume design.
Ilander then created the costumes for projects as varied as Hans Alfredson’s 16th century drama Time of the Wolf (Vargens tid, 1986), the Astrid Lindgren adaptation Brenda Brave (Kajsa Kavat, Daniel Bergman, 1989) and the heist comedy The Jönsson Gang in Mallorca (Mikael Ekman, 1989).
She can take credit for the outlandish outfits in Tomas Alfredson’s 1995 feature film debut, the Guldbagge-nominated Bert: The Last Virgin (Bert: Den siste oskulden). The same year, Ilander’s name can be seen as art director on the television film The Dense Fire (Den täta elden), directed by the other Alfredson brother, Daniel.
Ilander created the very 1960’s Swedish welfare state-type checked flannel attire with a bit of Brigitte Bardot nostalgia mixed in for Daniel Fridell’s Swedish Beauty (Dubbel-8) in 2000.
She has since been regularly employed for big screen projects, and has also done quite a bit of work for television, such as yet another collaboration with Tomas Alfredson in the Klas Östergren-penned and Gösta Ekman-starring cult series Soldiers by Moonlight (Soldater i månsken, 2000), where Ilander handles the art direction. And she really has us savouring the pale blue silk materials and the high court attire with all their frillings in the television drama The Marriage of Gustav III (Gustav III:s äktenskap, 2001), starring Jonas Karlsson in the royal title role.
There are certainly a number of shades more than just four in her third collaboration with Tomas Alfredson in the best film Guldbagge-winner Four Shades of Brown (Fyra nyanser av brunt, 2004), where Ilander provides the low-key costume design.
There is more Swedish 1960s clothing to be seen in Martin Asphaug’s adaptation of Håkan Nesser’s novel Kim Novak Never Swam in Genesaret’s Lake (Kim Novak badade aldrig i Genesarets sjö, 2005) and when Asphaug yet again adapts a Nesser novel, Woman with a Mole (Kvinna med födelsemärke, 2001), she provided the art direction. Her costume design in Kristina Humle’s television drama En uppstoppad hund (2006), based on Staffan Göthe’s acclaimed stage play “A Stuffed Dog”, had the distinguished theatre critic Lars Ring giving praise to a showcase of joyful and very on-the-button (pun intended) cavalcade of recognition in the fashions displayed.
When Jan Guillou’s acclaimed book series about the young knight Arn were to be turned into epic film projects, Anna Asp was hired for art direction and Ilander got to dress huge amounts of knights and five hundred extras in 11th century fashion. For her work in Arn – The Knight Templar (2007) she received her first Guldbagge award in 2008 for special achievement with the motivation: “A fantastic, imaginative and fearless film worker who in the film Arn – The Knight Templar does not shy away from rumpled hemlines.” She was of course also on board for the sequel Arn – The Kingdom at the End of the Road (2008) and its costume designs.
The creation of clothes from older eras can give you significant freedom when it comes to interpretation, Ilander observes in an interview quote. But she may come across as even more imaginative when dressing up the colourful gallery of characters in Valleby, the fictitious small town where one can call The Whodunit Detective Agency (LasseMajas Detektivbyrå) to solve a crime. Ilander has great part in creating the timeless hybrid combination of 1960s fashions, mail order attire and pop art couture, first in the television Christmas calendar show of 2006, The Whodunit Detective Agency, and later in the big screen feature The Whodunit Detective Agency: The Chameleon Strikes Back (LasseMajas Detektivbyrå – kameleontens hämnd) in 2008. Ilander is also the costume designer on a suite of six Wallander films, featuring Krister Henriksson as the cult crime solver from Ystad. The series was created between 2009 and 2010.
As preparation for Pernilla August’s feature film debut as director of Beyond (Svinalängorna, 2010), art director Anna Asp and costume designer Kicki Ilander travelled to Finland for inspiration for the 1970’s home in the project buildings outside Ystad to get inspiration for what is described in Susanna Alakoski’s prize-winning novel. An apron with large flowers became the starting point both aesthetically and mentally in order to depict the dysfunctional home where most things are just a little too much to bear most of the time.
Ilander created the Dickens-inspired costumes for the Christmas calendar series The Wizard’s Daughter (2011), shot at the Skansen national park in Stockholm, and the following year she won the national television award for best children’s and youth show of the year for this work. Between 2011 and 2013, Ilander yet again dwelled into crime-solving, covering both the Arne Dahl series and the explorations of crime novelist Erica Falck and her policeman life-partner Patrik Hedström in the “Fjällbacka” series, based on the bestselling writings of Camilla Läckberg. She lovingly enhanced the portrait-like Edda Magnason’s wardrobe in the part of jazz singer legend Monica Zetterlund in Per Fly’s biopic Waltz for Monica (Monica Z) and for this she received her second Guldbagge award in the best costume category 2014.
Inspired by, among other things, the costumes in the famous Hallwyl Museum in Stockholm, Kicki Ilander created the fussy turn-of-the-century costumes for Pernilla August’s adaptation of Hjalmar Söderberg’s novel A Serious Game (Den allvarsamma leken, 2016). With her sense of the zeitgeist and its people, she brought home her third Guldbagge for best costumes in 2017.
For the retro sportswear look in the movie Borg vs. McEnroe (Borg) from 2017, a film about the legendary and well-documented 1980 Wimbledon finale between Björn Borg and John McEnroe, Ilander created her garments straight out of the original collection from Borg’s own fashion brand. For her ability to reinvent 1980 through tennis shorts, headbands and assorted wonderful touches in the small details, Ilander was nominated for yet another Guldbagge award in 2018.
It’s quite common that the costume designer has to “dress down” the actor in order to capture the character. This is very much the case when it comes to the titular part in Tuva Novotny’s feature debut Britt-Marie Was Here (Britt-Marie var här, 2019), where Ilander got Pernilla August to shed all vanity and don a line of finely-knitted pastel-coloured cardigans as well as a significantly drab tabinet coat, which, to boot, was specially designed to display of any occurrence of the possible pot belly of a regular 60-something female.
As of late 2019, Ilander is featured as costume designer in My Life as a Comedian (En komikers uppväxt), a theatrical adaptation of Jonas Gardell’s beloved novel with the same name. Rojda Sekersöz directs and Ilander takes us back to an era of orange and rust brown 1970s, complete with plush, with embroidered tunics and, not least, bellbottomed blue jeans.
Ilander is also part of the wondrous universe of private detective Ture Sventon, sometimes known as Tam Sventon in the English-language world. For Ture Sventon and the Secrets of The Bermuda Triangle (Ture Sventon och Bermudatriangelns hemlighet), she has had the pleasure of dressing main actor Robert Gustafsson in both the emblematic Sventon plaid patterns as well as countless crazy disguises for the master crime solver to hide behind.
Louise Lagerström (2019)
(Translated by Jan Lumholdt, 2020)
Sources: Kino SR1 2010, Resumé 2017, Femina januari 2019.
Main profession: Other profession
En komikers uppväxt (2019)
Den allvarsamma leken (2016)
Cirkus Imago – en chans på miljonen (2015)
Tjuvarnas jul – Trollkarlens dotter (2014)
Fjällbackamorden: Havet ger, havet tar (2013)
Fjällbackamorden: Strandridaren (2013)
Monica Z (2013)
Arne Dahl: Ont blod (2012)
Arne Dahl: Upp till toppen av berget (2012)
Fjällbackamorden – I betraktarens öga (2012)
Arne Dahl – de största vatten (2011)
Arne Dahl – Europa Blues (2011)
Arne Dahl: Misterioso (2011)
Wallander – vittnet (2010)
Wallander – dödsängeln (2009)
Wallander – hämnden (2009)
Wallander – kuriren (2009)
Wallander – skulden (2009)
Wallander – skytten (2009)
Arn – riket vid vägens slut (2008)
LasseMajas Detektivbyrå – kameleontens hämnd (2008)
Arn: tempelriddaren (2007)
Babas bilar (2006)
En uppstoppad hund (2006)
Kim Novak badade aldrig i Genesarets sjö (2005)
Fyra nyanser av brunt (2004)
Gustav III:s äktenskap (2001)
När alla vet (1995)
Hoppa högst (1989)
Jönssonligan på Mallorca (1989)
Kajsa Kavat (1989)
Go’natt Herr Luffare (1988)
Vargens tid (1988)
Pelle Erövraren (1987)
Kvinna med födelsemärke (2001)
Soldater i månsken (2000)
Den täta elden (1995)
Produktionsdesign Dödsklockan (1999)
Pelle flyttar till Komfusenbo (1990)
Scenografiassistent Ormens väg på hälleberget (1986)
Älska mej (1986)
Åke och hans värld (1984)
Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann (2013)
2017: Guldbagge Bästa kostym för Den allvarsamma leken
2015: Guldbaggenominerad Bästa kostym för Tjuvarnas jul – Trollkarlens dotter
2014: Guldbagge Bästa kostym för Monica Z
2008: Guldbagge Särskilda insatser för kostym i Arn: tempelriddaren