Costuming Gods and Monsters – Behind The Costumes of Moon Knight with Meghan Kasperlik

Perhaps one of the most-anticipated shows of the year at The Art of Costume was the Marvel series streaming on Disney Plus, Moon Knight. The promise of seeing the Moon Knight’s armor in live action was enough already. But with the added variety of various Ancient Egyptian gods, this is a costume design dream. Fortunately for all of us, costume designer Meghan Kasperlik was put on the job, and she really brought all of our dreams to life. Even better, Meghan was nominated once again for an Emmy® for designing the costumes of Moon Knight, this time for Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes Costumes!

Meghan Kasperlik recently joined The Art of Costume Blogcast to discuss all of the costumes from the show. You can listen by heading to Apple Podcasts, Spotify or by watching on YouTube.

Immediately upon looking at Meghan’s costume design for Moon Knight, you can tell that so much research went into this project. With characters so inspired by Egyptian mythology, how could you not?

I did an incredible amount of research preparing for Moon Knight. Being from New York, I was able to go to The Met and check out the Egyptian wing. My assistant on this particular show was living in London, so he visited the British Museum to look at artifacts. Then came the folders of inspiration behind it all because it was essential to incorporate not only Egyptian mythology but also the comics mixed in with the designs.

Meghan KasperlikMoon Knight Costume Designer
(L-R): Ammit (voiced by Saba Mubarak) and Khonshu (voiced by F. Murray Abraham) in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT., exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

The Moon Knight armor is incredibly impressive. There is so much texture and detail to it; it’s really a masterpiece. I was blown away the first time I saw it on screen, and not surprisingly, when I spoke to Meghan, she revealed some fascinating details about its creation.

I worked closely with the visual development department, and there were many iterations of this costume by the time I even started. When I went to fit Oscar Isaac for the first time in New York, we started talking about the mummy wrappings, but we wanted the suit to have that strong stature. So we wanted to add the armor to it. 

For me, it was the color I knew would be a challenge. In the comic, the fabric is predominantly white because Moon Knight says he wears white, so they can see him coming. I was a little concerned because that’s something that can go flat. So I always like to have a lot of texture in my designs and subtle textures. In the entire suit, there’s not one flat color on the entire thing. All of those mummy and bandage wrappings, that’s euro jersey that has been 3D printed. The top is all in the same 3D print but two different colors so you get the depth of the wrapping. The pants have four or five different prints of 3D printing. I was very adamant about having depth. We had to have texture, it can’t be flat! The suit had been patterned into 803 pieces. I didn’t really realize how many pieces there were until I spoke with FBFX, the company that constructed it. When I spoke to them, I asked how many pattern pieces there were. One arm alone has 45 pieces in it. They did a tremendous job!

Meghan KasperlikMoon Knight Costume Designer
Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

I was captivated by the textiles that made up the Mr.Knight costume. That lapel drew me right in! Meghan explained how she created that look on the suit.

The lapel is actually in the same euro jersey that we used for the Moon Knight suit. It’s just in a different color, white. We 3D printed on top of that. That pattern is the feather design that’s also on the Khonshu costume that has these leather bandolier straps that go across.

The white fabric that the suit is made out of is actually an upholstery fabric. Who’s not terrified of wearing white all the time? I knew Steven would be doing a lot of action and out on the street. I picked an upholstery fabric because it has a little toughness to it. Again, it’s always important to me that there’s texture, so the costume doesn’t just go flat. Because we were filming at night, I knew that if you just had a solid white suit, it would just be a marshmallow running across the screen!

Meghan KasperlikMoon Knight Costume Designer
Oscar Isaac as Mr. Knight in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

The first time I spoke with Meghan about these costumes, I didn’t even ask about Khonshu. I thought there was no way that this was a practical costume, but I was wrong! I had to go back to Meghan and get all of the details on creating the god looking over Marc and Steven.

Khonshu is from the comic; he saved Marc Spector from his wounds in the desert while Marc was a missionary and out on a mission. Khonshu comes from Ancient Egypt and that is where the mummy wrappings come in. When creating the costume, I wanted the mummy wrappings to be incorporated, so I used six different fabrics, dyed and aged the fabric before it was hand sewn, wrapping many layers on top of one another to create the costume for the actor to wear.

The bandoliers were made out of leather, a type of armor that was then hand-painted with a Khonshu symbol that is then also mirrored on Mr. Knights’s lapels. The crest is similar to that in the Moon Knight costume, but the Moon Knight costume has more of the Khonshu oath in hieroglyphs.

Every piece was custom-made and sewn, so it looked like a natural mummy look and was not overly processed. The Khonshu suit was not 803 pieces, but each strip was hand cut, hand dyed, hand painted, and pieced together. The gloves were very tricky but I had an amazing team building them.

One fun fact is that the actor who played Khonshu did not come to us until a day or two before the camera test. I needed measurements to make the suit, and he was in the middle of nowhere in the South of France. So we jumped on Zoom, and he and his wife did his measurements with a piece of string. I would tell them what part of the body to measure, i.e., chest, shoulder to shoulder, forearm. They would measure with the piece of string and then hold it up to a measuring tape from his tool kit. We built the entire suit off those measurements, and it worked! He needed slight alterations, but so minimal, and it was a major success!

Meghan KasperlikMoon Knight Costume Designer

Khonshu (voiced by F. Murray Abraham) in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Taweret is the incredible hippopotamus goddess who, believe it or not, wears a practical costume. I was blown away when I learned that basically everything below the neck was of a practical costume. Who doesn’t love Taweret?

What I was designing was actually going to be on screen. We made every CG costume for all of the Gods. We made them a practical costume, and an actor wore it. Everything was made practically. For Taweret, the hippo, the face, and the hands were CG, but the actual costume and jewelry were made, and the actor wore it.

Meghan KasperlikMoon Knight Costume Designer
Taweret (voiced by Antonia Salib) in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved. 

The Scarlet Scarab costume was revealed in the season finale, and if you listened closely, you could hear the entire world audibly gasp when they saw it. While the wings may have been CG, the rest of the costume is stunning and filled with detail.

I mean, I have to tell you the wings make the costume. The wings are phenomenal, but the wings are CG. If you look, there’s about a five-inch panel that comes down from the underarm. Effects wanted a jumping point to do the wings. But everything else on her costume was created and made practical, so she could completely move in it. The stunt people could completely move in it, as well as the Moon Knight and the Mr. Night suits. We didn’t have blue suits or green suits. They wore the costumes while they were fighting. 

Meghan KasperlikMoon Knight Costume Designer
May Calamawy as Layla El-Faouly in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Seeing Ammit was easily one of the best parts of the show and one of my favorites costumes of Moon Knight. This goddess with the head of a crocodile was fearsome and… kind of chic. You were thinking it! Like the other Egyptian gods, the Ammit costume was also a practical costume that Meghan created.

There are multiple layers to the Ammit costume. There was a leather corset with a skirt in a luminous, very shimmery fabric. Over that was an overlay that was a hand beaded dress that was in about three different colors and shades of beads. We did this so that when it moved, the costume would look like she was gliding along in the water.

Then there was the cobra that wrapped around the body. We had an in-house metalsmith that molded and hammered it, dipped it in the metal, and sculpted the cobra. It looked absolutely phenomenal in person! 

Meghan KasperlikMoon Knight Costume Designer
Ammit (voiced by Saba Mubarak) in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT., exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

I was not prepared for the horrifying scene with the Heka Priest. I hate seeing things crawl on the wall; it freaks me out. But even in a moment of pure terror, I still picked up on all of the detail in this costume. I knew I had to ask Meghan about this costume because you could tell a lot of research went into building this look.

The priests were actually people in the tombs and basically were the embalmers. When it was decided you would die in this tomb, the Heka Priests would mummify the people and take out organs with those little canisters that are on the waist. Those are canopic jars, a real ancient artifact.

We knew this character would be played by a stunt person and that they had to be chasing Layla. But when I started making it, I actually didn’t know what was going to happen in the scene! We just know what the character was. We made everything practical, and then we rubberized it so that the Heka Priest could do the action. My metalsmith made the neck piece out of individual metal pieces that almost look like quills or feathers. In each one of those is the Eye of Horus or a hieroglyph symbol on each individual piece. Then we built the chess plate and the leather belt that held the canopic jars. In person, it was just phenomenal. It was so good and creepy. And the stunt guy could really maneuver and do all these weird creepy moves. It was great!

Meghan KasperlikMoon Knight Costume Designer
The Heka Priest in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Gabor Kotschy. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

I absolutely love Moon Knight and am so excited for Meghan Kasperlik about the Emmy® nomination. It’s so well deserved as the costumes of Moon Knight truly are groundbreaking. There was an intense amount of research, innovation, and technique involved in bringing this world to life. Thank you so much to Meghan for talking with me. Go watch Moon Knight!

Moon Knight is streaming now on DIsney Plus

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