Karn (Christopher Dane) is a complex and mysterious man, living in the forest outside the village in a self-made Aladdin’s Cave of untold treasures. There are many questions surrounding Karn, some of which are answered, some hinted at in the very clothes he is wearing, even woven into the fabric.
Karn is vastly travelled, seeing unknown lands others could only imagine. Seeking master craftsmen across these lands, Karn appears to have accumulated a plethora of unique items and acquired skills able to make what he needs. I wanted to suggest his worldly experience through the styles of his garments. His boots, with upturned toes and leather bindings, have an Eastern edge. His pouch is from a grey-skinned animal, not native to the forests around Lyngarth – perhaps the tusk fastening gives us a clue to what it might be.
Bearing symbols and mysterious marks, Karn’s clothing holds clues as to who he is or who he once was. One of the most subtle, yet poignant, is that which sits upon his ring. The crossed staff and sword is a symbol we see in Ren’s pendant also, made by the extraordinarily talented Rebecca Illett. These pieces hold a key to the intertwined lives and history of Karn and Ren’s family.
I wanted the blue and grey hues to run throughout Karn’s costume, to reflect his calm and considered nature. I was enormously focused on the colour for Karn’s trousers. I had an exceedingly small scrap of grey moleskin, which fit perfectly for his palette, but finding any more proved virtually impossible. A fabric-seeking mission ensued, and finally the amazing Michelle Golder (co-producer) found something that almost worked. After a day of careful dyeing, we had a jigsaw puzzle of trousers and fabric to piece together, which was realised seamlessly by Rebecca Fisher.
Karn’s costume develops through various versions during season one, culminating in his Mahri’Rai outfit upon his return to the village, where we witness his faultless swordsmanship, proving his skillset as an Ancient Warrior.