Advertisements

Tag Archives: costume design

A Tribute to The Hunger Games

As long as you can find yourself, you’ll never starve.”  Katniss Everdeen is the iconic heroine of The Hunger Games, both a wildly popular and groundbreaking book and movie.  Author Suzanne Collins seamlessly weaves politics, history, philosophy and social commentary into a young adult action-adventure novel about a dystopian society, so it’s no surprise she also has a lot to say about the role of appearance in this horrifying future. Oscar-nominated costume designer Judianna Makovsky (for her stunning work in Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) was given the herculean task of bringing the style of The Hunger Games to the silver screen.  For the past week, we’ve highlighted some of the film’s most memorable moments, looks and costumes.  The Hunger Games begins in the home of Katniss (played by Jennifer Lawrence) in District 12 – a depressed mining area in former North America.  Katniss spends most of her time hunting with her best friend, Gale (played by Liam Hemsworth, pictured, above left) and providing sustenance for their families, since their fathers were killed in the mine.  Makovsky told Vogue, “We looked at a lot of photographs of coal mining districts from the turn of the century to the 1950s, because we wanted it to have a very American feel.”  The people of Katniss’s district are starving and struggling to survive, so they’re not very worried about looking good.  Makovsky continues, “We wanted to make a very serious impact, and color was very important – to keep it mostly gray or blue… very cold because coal leaves a black dust everywhere.”  The lack of color throughout District 12 certainly gives it a bone-chilling look, and makes the over-the-top publicist Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks, pictured, above right) stick out even more when she comes to collect the male and female tributes for the games.  While the children of District 12 appear in fifty shades of grey, like Katniss’s sister, Primrose (pictured, above left), Effie appears in bright magenta, crazy makeup and a powdered wig.  Makovsky was inspired by the Elizabethan era, John Galliano, and Alexander McQueen, to create the frivolous and frightening citizens of the Capitol.  She told Vogue, “I just thought it would be funny if these people, who have such a vicious streak in them, are sort of covered in flowers and ruffles.”  When Katniss sacrifices herself by volunteering to take the place of Prim, she and the male tribute of District 12, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), leave for the capital city of Panem.  They make their first impression on the Capitol by arriving in a glorious chariot ride, hand in hand (pictured, above).  Along with Effie, Katniss and Peeta are accompanied into hell by the only living victor from District 12, Haymitch Abernathy (played by the fantastic Woody Harrelson).  Haymitch (pictured, below left) is a drunk, and is living proof happiness doesn’t always come with winning… Makovsky told EW, “He had won the game, he had money… We didn’t want him to be the cliché filthy, dirty drunk. There’s a bit of a dandy about him. He puts on a bit of a front so you don’t really know who he is… he knows how to play the games. He’s done it before. And we thought he would dress for the capital. So he has a little bit of Edwardian cut to his clothes.”  In the days before entering the arena, Katniss and Peeta have to show off to the Capitol, too, to gain sponsors, who can pay for items, like food and medicine when they’re in the arena.  They also face several days of “training,” which might as well just being a showing-off session to their competitors… Each tribute wears a black tracksuit with grey and red piping and their district number adorned on their sleeves (pictured, above).  Following this physical training, they also take part in televised interviews with TV host Caesar Flickerman (played by Stanley Tucci).  Waiting to meet with him, the future killers are lined up in different shades of pastels, like lethal Easter eggs.  Katniss and Peeta stand out, once again, in a coordinating gown of flames and a dark suit – just like coal and fire.  But it turns out, there is a burning passion inside of Peeta Mellark, too.  Sexy duo Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson weren’t the only men who got to wear significant costumes.  Katniss’s stylist, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) makes her come alive through clothing, but he dresses pretty simply, himself, in a black Lurex Prada sweater and his famous gold eyeliner.  Stanley Tucci is completely redone as TV host Caesar Flickerman (pictured, below left), with false teeth, bright blue hair and a sparkly suit to match.  And according to the Washington Post, even President Snow (played by the highly under-appreciated Donald Sutherland, pictured, below right) had costumes with deep secrets.  If you notice, he wears a white clergy shirt underneath his suit made of sharkskin – it’s obvious why he’s wearing clothing made of a vicious animal, but that’s certainly saying something about religious oppression/manipulation by putting him in a clergy collar…  When Katniss and Peeta are finally thrust into the Games, it seems their getups match, once again.  In the book, all of the tributes wear identical outfits in the arena, but that didn’t work on film.  Makovsky told EW, “It was my problem to find a look that looked good on boys and girls, and from kids that are age 12 to age 18… All the jackets were specifically dyed – that took forever just to find colors that would read in the woods.”  Apparently, the jackets read quite well – because they’re now available to purchase online!  Between Katniss’s bow-and-arrow skills, and the upcoming Pixar film, Brave, we’re sure archery lessons are going to go through the roof, but that isn’t the only thing from The Hunger Games that is catching fire… Not only are the arena jackets for sale, so are the training uniforms, backpacks, makeup, and numerous mockingjay accessories on Amazon, Etsy and Cafe Press, among many other outlets.  Despite the fictional novel’s futuristic element, Suzanne Collins has created one of the most realistic female characters of all-time.  This is a strong girl who knows herself, and isn’t ashamed of who she is – a rarity among many “heroines” that Hollywood and publishers seem to churn out.  Katniss Everdeen is a hunter, sister, daughter, tribute, rebel, friend, soldier, symbol, survivor – she IS the mockingjay.  And this bird isn’t going to stop singing any time soon…

Advertisements

Look-of-the-Day

What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction.”  It seems the color of the sun will forever play an interesting role in Katniss Everdeen’s life… Here she is with fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) in The Hunger Games.  The two make quite an attractive pair in a bright blue suit, and a soft, non-threatening yellow dress – nothing like what Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) has worn prior to this moment in her young life.  Without revealing too much about the series or the film, this seemingly happy moment will only be short-lived… Let the countdown to Catching Fire begin!


Look-of-the-Day

Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to…to show the Capitol they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games.”  Peeta Mellark is the other tribute from District 12 that has to enter the arena with Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.  For the film, he’s played by Josh Hutcherson, who it’s hard to believe, is only 19-years-old.  He carried the entire movie Little Manhattan as a young boy, made us cry in Bridge to Terabithia, and really showed his acting skills as the son of a lesbian couple in the Oscar-nominated film The Kids are All Right.  After auditioning for the role, author Suzanne Collins and director Gary Ross high-fived each other without saying a word when he left the room, because they knew they had found their Peeta.  We usually don’t feature too many male outfits on theSkinnyStiletto, but Peeta is such an integral part of the story, we didn’t want to leave him out!  Here, he’s wearing the matching outfit to Katniss’s arena digs – leather boots, a plain black t-shirt, and drab olive utilitarian pants (he has an identical jacket, as well, which is not pictured.)  Costume design Judianna Makovsky told EW, “In the book, [the Tributes] all wear exactly the same thing in exactly the same color… For film, that wasn’t gonna work well. You couldn’t tell who is who. Gary was very specific. He wanted each district to have their own color jacket and then they would all have the same color trousers.”  With all the hidden meanings of the characters’ names, it seems Peeta’s has stumped many of the readers… Our mother picked up that his surname, Mellark, probably comes from the word “malarkey,” which is slang for meaningless talk, or rubbish (hmm, just like the way he manipulates everyone with his words?)  Most assume “Peeta” is derived from pita bread, since his father is a baker, which makes sense, but it also happens to be Scandinavian for “rock” – the perfect word to sum up “the boy with the bread.”


Titanic: A Film to Remember

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the day the Titanic fell to the bottom of the Atlantic, and we wanted to honor the vessel and her passengers, by discussing costume designer Deborah Lynn Scott’s intricate and beautiful early 20th-century Edwardian dresses that Kate Winslet wore in the film that was made fifteen years ago.  In order for this editor to write this piece, and do it justice, I decided to watch it for the Nth time.  (Our other editor got to see it in 3D last week, and said it was truly spectacular.)  Having been just shy of my eleventh birthday, when I first saw the film, all I knew was Leonardo was incredibly handsome; I hated Kate Winslet, because she was making out with my future husband; and I adored all of the dresses Kate’s character, Rose DeWitt Bukater, got to wear.  I no longer hate Kate – I have actually grown to appreciate her as a phenomenal actress, but I am still in love with all of the designs that earned Deborah Lynn Scott her Academy Award for Best Costume Design.  Scott’s resume is as diverse as it is magnificent.  She was the head costume designer for mega blockbusters like Back to the Future, all three Transformers movies, and the hugely popular, Avatar, but aside from the action-packed films she’s done, including others like Minority Report and The Patriot, you won’t be shocked to find out that she’s best known for her beautiful craftsmanship on this James Cameron creation.  Scott has been quoted as saying that she likes to design for all different time periods because they give her, “an incredible opportunity to delve into history, which is a real educational experience,” and she has proven her ability to tell stories through her variation of designs.  Scott studied theater at California State University at Northridge and ended up catching a big break working as a costumer on the set of E.T.  She was eventually promoted to costume designer and has been expanding her extraordinary range ever since.  While watching the feature, I noticed the beautiful subtleties of Rose’s transformation that is partially aided through her costuming.  Rose is first seen in a frock we’re fanatics about (we featured it in one of our first posts) – she appears in a fitted, pinstriped, high-collared suit and a major statement of a hat, but the dress that Rose is wearing at the end of the film, though equally stunning, has a completely different meaning to its presence in the movie.  Rose’s gowns that she wears to dinner are extremely formal, adorned in painstakingly, perfected bead-work complemented by satin and lace, in dark hues of scarlet and maroon.  For Rose’s daytime outfits, they are similar in style as well as color, gold and lime, with long, white sleeves, empire-waists, satin trains, and lace embroidered collars.  For the dress that withstands that most action and longest screen time, Scott created nearly two-dozen copies of the multi-layered, flowing, pastel sheath Rose wears, because she goes through the most physical scenes in it (pictured, above left).  It made sense that this pink and lavender dress was looser than the others in terms of fit and material, but it was also softer and uninhibited, showing the changes Rose was preparing to make with her life once she departed the Titanic.  (Note: Today’s Look-of-the-Day honors a character who is born to survive, just like Rose was.)  In the scene where Rose and Jack are running through the engine room, the dress could easily resemble the paintings that she loves so much.  The movement of the dress alone is filmed in its own shot to show the beauty and existence of Rose’s new found freedoms; freedom to do whatever she wants and the freedom to experience them with the love of her life.


Look-of-the-Day

She’s a survivor, that one. She is.”  In The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen has to fight for her life, along with 23 other tributes, when she enters the arena.  The costume Jennifer Lawrence wears might seem simple, but let’s be serious – this character is an icon in the making.  Katniss sports her famous brunette braid, a black t-shirt, leather boots and a black jacket with grey piping.  Costume designer Judianna Makovsky told Entertainment Weekly, “The main conversation that we had was that it would be practical… We were shooting in North Carolina in 90 degree, 100 degree weather – and humid. So we didn’t want to kill the kids! With Katniss, we started out not having a black jacket and ended up just like the book, having a black jacket.”  Katniss’s stylist, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz), finishes her look off by attaching her mockingjay pin to her lapel.  The odds certainly aren’t in Katniss’s favor, but we know the “girl on fire” isn’t going down without a fight…


Mockingjay Jewels Catching Fire

They let you wear one thing from your district in the arena. One thing to remind you of home. Will you wear this?”  The mockingjay pin from The Hunger Games has become as synonymous with the story as Katniss Everdeen herself, and a symbol of rebellion against the atrocities of the Capitol.  The pin shows a bird in flight – the hybrid of a mockingbird and jabberjay, the fictional bird created by the government to spy on people in the outer districts of Panem, to report any sort of uprising brewing.  For the film, former Tiffany & Co. designer Dana Schneider (pictured, below) was hired to created the symbolic accessory.  She had previously worked with the movie’s costume designer, Judianna Makovsky, and is a favorite among clients, including Cher and Marilyn Manson.  According to the New York Times, Schneider doesn’t own the copyright (the design is author Suzanne Collins and a Brooklyn couple’s creation) and despite endless requests to make copies, the jeweler only made four pins – three for the film, one for herself!  Even though we can’t get one of Schneider’s original creations for Katniss, dozens of sites are selling their own version.  Cafe Press has pages of accessories, as well as Amazon and Etsy (for all of Schneider’s success, she does actually have her own Etsy store!)  This editor isn’t proud to admit it, but after I finished reading The Hunger Games, I jumped on the craft site and bought a mockingjay necklace, bracelet and pocket watch… hehe.  But that bird represents bravery, honor, sacrifice, rebellion, survival and standing up for what’s right – in these precarious times, that is certainly an accessory we can get behind.


Look-of-the-Day

At least you two have decent manners. The pair last year ate everything with their hands like a couple of savages. It completely upset my digestion.”  In The Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta’s publicist Effie Trinket (played by Elizabeth Banks) has elaborate outfits and outrageous powdered wigs that bring to mind a modern-day Marie Antoinette.   Costume designer Judianna Makovsky and Banks actually worked together before on the 2003 set of Seabiscuit.  (Fun Fact: The actress’s wedding to husband Max Handelman was actually inspired by the 1930s-era of the film.  This editor remembers seeing her stunning photos in In Style when I was in high school.)  Despite all of Effie’s costumes being made specifically for the actress’s body, Banks told People, “They were all torture.”  Yet, this poofy-sleeved teal dress embellished with an enormous flower pin happened to be her favorite, because, “it was the most comfortable.”  We love the miniature black hat, and ridiculous manicure, which apparently took 45 minutes everyday to complete!  While the word “trinket” means a tiny, cheap ornament (like Effie’s whole wardrobe), “Effie” is short for Euphemia, which means “well-spoken.”  But, it is also happens to be the the name of a martyr, who refused to take part in her government’s ritual sacrifices, and as a result, was forced into an arena and tortured to death.  Hmm… Is that a hint where Miss Trinket’s true allegiance stands underneath that seemingly shallow persona of hers?