By Tracey Lomrantz, Glamour magazine
Red Riding Hood--a dark, medieval new take on the classic fairytale, starring Amanda Seyfried in the title role--hits theaters today, and we caught up with the film's costume designer, Cindy Evans, to dish on creating that all-important scarlet frock!
Five cool things you definitely want to know about the costume design process for this film:
1. It all started, as many great things do, with Google: When Evans came on board to design costumes for the film, director (and longtime collaborator) Catherine Hardwicke had already done a great deal of research into period dress. Then Evans took to the internet for further inspiration--"I used a lot of reference from stuff I found online from old medieval and 15th and 16th century clothing. We didn't want lock ourselves into one specific time, because it was meant to evoke a fantasy, a fairytale." They also used Bosch's "Garden of Earthly Delights" painting for inspiration.
2. The titular red riding hood went through many, many changes. "At first, I had my heart set on working with this incredible knitter in Ireland named Lainey Keough," Evans tells us. "It just got stuck in my head--I thought the fabric would look perfect, like warm moss. In concept it was beautiful, but it never would have worked out. The stages were really hot, and knits grow, so the weight and the heat made it impossible." She entertained the idea of velvet, brocade, even weaving her own especially for the film, but finally found a silk matka--a type of raw silk-- that perfectly fit the bill. "It was just the perfect fabric," she says.
3. And it was worked by many, many hands: Given the intricate nature of the "hero cape," as Evans calls it, her team was able to create just two of them to work with on set. "We stenciled in this beautiful pattern that goes all the way around the cape, like a swirly paisley, and then we had a stitching circle of women, 8 or 10 of them at a time, who embroidered over the stencil pattern using six different shades of red. It's tough to see, but my intention was that it shouldn't look obvious, and if you catch a glimpse of it, it's a beautiful surprise."
4. But it wasn't the costume designer's favorite piece to create. While the red cape certainly had a major impact on the film's overall aesthetic, Evans found herself more challenged and entranced by some of the regular dresses worn by Valerie (Amanda Seyfried's character) and the rest of the cast. "I love all of Valerie's dresses, especially the blue one we put her in. We wanted everything to have a really homespun feeling. In this village there was a dye factory where they made dye from cornflowers, so when the women worked their skirts would get dragged through the vats and create this ombre kind of effect, which we created and which just looked so authentic and cool. I also loved the purple robe worn by Solomon [played by Gary Oldman]. It was amazing the amount of work that went into that. It started off as a white silk velvet, and we did so many different samples and tested it under different color lights, to find the perfect color purple. He really believed in it so much, when he put it on it just made him feel like his character. He called it my baby!"
5. The film inspired Evans to explore her imagination further. Most of her prior work consisted of contemporary, real-life clothing (Marley & Me, P.S. I Love You, Along Came Polly), but working on Red Riding Hood gave Evans the itch to explore the fantasy world. "I just have this bug now where I want to build stuff and create, whether it's science fiction or 1800s or any kind of fantasy world. It's so exciting because there's so much texture and detail and imagination, and the beauty of a project like this is that it's sort of up to our whims and follies of where we want to take these characters."
Red Riding Hood hits theaters today! Tell us ladies, are you planning to see it? Isn't it amazing to see how much work goes into creating costumes for a major motion picture? Have you ever wanted to be a costume designer? Discuss!
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Photo Credit: imdb.com