John Bramley
February 14, 2013 at 08:17 PM EST

For costume designer Jeffrey Kurland, the challenge of creating the wardrobe for the big screen adaptation of Beautiful Creatures was having to dress characters — both mortal and supernatual — for a story that weaves through the past and present. The upside? Kurland was able to show off his vast expertise and let his imagination run wild.

“I was actually asked by the director not to read the books, which I didn’t because he didn’t want me to be locked into the books, he wanted me to be locked into the movie,” says Kurland, who was appointed to represent the newly-formed Costume Designers branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last month.

So how did he come up with the designs for the 80 one-of-a-kind costumes used in the film?

“I looked at a lot of books from all historical periods, and extrapolated the best looks from many decades to incorporate them into each character as I saw fit,” says Kurland, who sourced luxe fabrics from Los Angeles, New York and New Orleans, where the movie was filmed. “I used my own personal knowledge of fashion — I’ve been doing this for over 30 years so I have a lot of knowledge in my head. I knew what I wanted to do.”

Click on to see Ethan, Lena, Ridley and more characters, and find out how the costume designer created their looks. SEE THE PHOTOS

Next: Ethan Wate (Alden Ehrenreich)

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