“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…
Tag Archives: Judianna Makovsky
“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.”
“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…
“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.
“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?
“I am not pretty. I am not beautiful. I am as radiant as the sun.” In The Hunger Games, Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) leaves her coal-mining district to compete in a battle to the death in Panem’s Capitol. But she’ll have to make an impression to earn sponsors before she enters the arena. Instead of showing the dark coal of District 12, Katniss’s stylist, Cinna, decides to show the fire. Costume designer Judianna Makovsky used orange silk taffeta and organza with crystal embroidery when creating Katniss’s gown for her interview with TV host Caesar Flickerman (played by Stanley Tucci). Makovsky told Entertainment Weekly, “In the book, it’s described as being covered in flame-like jewels. Well, to me, that’s very dangerous, because it could be like a Dancing With the Stars dress… I just wanted this image of what I call ‘the Gypsy moment,’ when Natalie Wood comes out in the blue dress in Gypsy. She’s only been in these boys’ clothes before that, and you go, ‘Oh my God, she’s actually gorgeous.'” Makovsky certainly achieved that vision – Katniss goes from the plain girl in the Seam to the “girl on fire” in this stunning sequence. And the Capitol will soon realize it’s a flame that’s inextinguishable…
“Yes, frosting. The final defense of the dying.” Suzanne Collins’ epic series makes sly commentaries on war, death, politics, fashion, love, hunger, bravery, cowardice, history, destruction, life, birth, and even reality TV, so it’s no surprise, she has something to say about makeup, too. Three-time Academy Award winner Ve Neill (Beetlejuice, Mrs. Doubtfire) was the head makeup artist on The Hunger Games, and she did some truly exceptional work: making Jennifer Lawrence look striking using very little makeup, giving Lenny Kravitz just a slick of gold eyeliner, and designing Seneca Crane’s infamous beard. Besides creating the crazy faces of the wealthy people of Panem, she also had to do extensive work on burns, blood, gashes, and other injuries to demonstrate the true brutality of the games. Avoiding starvation is usually the main thing on the minds of the people in District 12 – not selecting the perfect shade of lipstick. But it turns out, makeup will help Katniss and Peeta in ways they never imagined when heading to the arena…
- Lose Your Brows: Costume designer Judianna Makovsky insisted that Capitol citizens’ eyebrows be powdered into nothingness. She told Vogue, “It immediately takes the face somewhere else. It takes it high fashion, but also a little scary. And also beautiful, funnily enough.” The ghostly look certainly makes the Capitol creeps look soulless – maybe to show the monsters they truly are.
- Make those Lashes Flutter: Effie Trinket always brings to mind a small, skittish animal or a spastic butterfly, running and teetering around on her heels, so it’s no surprise that on closer inspection, you can actually see the little bugs and antlers accenting her eyes. The fake eyelashes were created by PAPERSELF.
- Wig Out: Katniss’s hair, face and body are au naturel, so it makes sense that the decadent denizens of Panem are completely fake from head-to-toe. The people in charge of hair on the film were Cherry Petenbrink and Linda Flowers (God, those certainly sound like Hunger Game names!) Flowers told ELLE, “When you’re doing bright colors for hair it can look kind of Mardi Gras-ish. This was a very sophisticated group of people, so it had to be classic.” Capitol wigs are most often pastel-colored.
- Too Matchy Matchy: According to Allure, Ve Neill always made sure to match Effie Trinket’s makeup to her outfits. She used Obsessive Compulsive Lip Tars in lavender and pale blue to match Effie’s pale purple suit, showing her cool demeanor.
- Tie Up Those Lips: In the same article in Allure, Neill told the magazine why Effie’s lipstick was always in the shape of a bow, “That’s Effie’s signature. Her lips have a bow in every scene. We wanted her to be the perfect picture, always.”
- Paint by Numbers: Choose your favorite tribute by selecting a nail polish representative of each district (which is now available by China Glaze). Luxe & Lash for the luxury of District 1; Stone Cold for the masonry of District 2; Riveting for the technology of District 3; Hook and Line for the fishing of District 4; Electrify for the power of District 5; Fast Track for the transportation of District 6; Mahogany Magic for the lumber of District 7; Dress Me Up for the textiles of District 8; Harvest Moon for the grain of District 9; Foie Gras for the livestock of District 10; Agro for the agriculture of District 11; and Smoke & Ashes for the coal mining of District 12 (our personal favorite – from the rubble will rise a burning phoenix!)