Thursday, May 17, 2012


Academy Award-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood provided Vanity Fair details regarding her costume selections for SWATH.

Accompanied by photos, we get to see the what, when, where, how and why the costumes came together.

Atwood on Snow White's costume:

"The bold transformation was not something that Atwood, a three-time Oscar winner, for Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha, and Alice in Wonderland, took lightly. “Snow White was one of the first movies I saw when I was a child,” she tells us. “There were certain things that were magical about the Disney character, and I loved the way she was dressed, but our character could hardly be dressed in red, blue and yellow.” Instead, the designer took a practical approach to Snow White’s understated ensemble, which Stewart wears for most of the movie, by determining how a young woman locked away in a tower for seven years realistically might be dressed. “I kind of backed into Snow White’s costume because it’s similar to what the servants in her castle wore,” Atwood explains. “She had been thrown in prison young, and it seemed reasonable that she would have been given something similar to [a servant’s uniform] to wear all of those years.”

Atwood did hold onto one aspect of Snow White’s signature frill. “I wanted to do the puff sleeve as a little nod to what the expectation is for Snow White,” she says. “But still, I wanted it to feel like a real piece of clothing and not a fluffy, girly thing.” As for rejecting the princess’s primary colors, the designer tells us, “We did some color tests with other color combinations, but the olive and light blue just suited Kristen’s eyes and hair. The colors also looked good in the forest and against many different backgrounds, which was important, because she is in it for so long.”

Read the rest of the article here and see the development of the costume below.

Kristen Stewart’s suede Snow White costume begins as a gown, but is quickly converted into a tunic to accommodate the heroine’s Enchanted Forest adventures. In a nod to the princess's traditional dress, Atwood designed puff sleeves but opted for earth-toned hues in lieu of a primary color palette.

About 20 variations of Stewart’s costume survived production—some short, some long, and some that were subjected to more intense aging processes to reflect Snow White’s wardrobe wear and tear later in the film.

Ravenna’s cloak was the very first piece that Atwood designed for the film. She had to make sure it would look gorgeous even when covered in oil.

A milliner spent four weeks hand-cutting and mounting each rooster feather to the cloak.

After production each day, the wardrobe department detached the cloak’s removable collar and stored it in a hatbox. The rest of the garment was kept on a stand under a protective layer of muslin.

Utility was key for Chris Hemsworth’s Huntsman costume. “He has a lot of layers to his clothing,” Atwood explains. “Everything had to be useful to him. For example, his big, heavy coat could also be used as a blanket to sleep on.”

Atwood also helped design the Huntsman’s weaponry. According to production notes, “Atwood needed to design the axe rig on his back to enable him to grab his weapons quickly. Her team eventually settled on a rig that used magnets to secure the axes to the harness, allowing Hemsworth to access them with ease and speed.”

Atwood nicknamed the leather-spiked chainmail gown that Ravenna wears during a climactic scene with Snow White “the porcupine dress.”

Because of the costume’s weight, the dress was built with detachable parts so that, for example, Theron could remove the burdensome skirt if Sanders was filming a tight shot of the actress’s upper half.

For what Atwood calls her “European wedding dress”—built from fabric found in Paris and gold details recovered in Italy—the designer says she immediately had a vision for the garment’s basic structure and toyed with the details once it was on the stand. “I knew that I wanted to do a caged collar,” she recalls. “I knew that I wanted to have an open sleeve with lacing up it, and I knew the basic shape.”

Of the architecturally inspired wedding gown, Atwood says that this was the first time she has “done a dress in light colors that from one side looks one way and from another side looks completely different. When an actor moves in it, it kind of shifts color.”

via @palakpatelSource/All photos belong to Universal Pictures

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