I fell head over heels for Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. [Merci Ronan pour le recommendation!] The Golden Compass (the first book in his trilogy and our favorite) takes place in a steampunk society where Victorian fashions and ultramodern technologies coincide.

On December 7, New Line will release the film adaptation of The Golden Compass, starring Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, and Eva Green. How I envy costume designer Ruth Myers! She tells the LA Times that her work was “the most incredible fun […] We really pushed all the boundaries to create a world that looks familiar, but unfamiliar.” Like Gothic Lolitas and Aristocrats, she takes cues from past eras: Victorian, Edwardian, the Roaring Twenties, the New Look ’40s. Her team created over 600 outfits in-house, opting for inexpensive and unusual materials, such as faux fur and burnt/painted velvet.

When Myers first showed her drawings to Pullman, the author was silent… and then told her, “You have created my world.” From what I’ve seen, she certainly has (take a look at photos here and here.) Myers makes astute choices; a less imaginative designer might have put Lord Asriel in sweeping robes and capes, but she styles him as a professor with three-piece suits, which makes his character more compelling. Lyra, the rambunctious 11-year-old heroine, “makes a complete journey and it was a question of where to start her and where to finish her.” In the first film, she is still very much a little girl. Myers outfits her in Lolita-esque dresses and winter coats with shirred sleeves, high lace collars, and empire waistlines. The images above show the evolution from sketch and fabric swatch to final costume.

The costume design in The Golden Compass is true to Pullman’s sensibility. What a shame that much of the film is not! (The critical final scene is cut, religious references have been watered down to non-existence…) His Dark Materials, however, belong on every Goth Loli bookshelf. Pick up a used copy from Amazon for $4 – you won’t regret it.