Katniss and Peeta in From handcrafted designs to pieces by Alexander McQueen, Nicholas K, Tex Saverio and Juun J, the new Hunger Games film is an eye-popping fashion fantasy. The Hollywood Blog caught up with costume designer Trish Summerville to talk about the fashions she chose for Katniss, Peeta, and the competitors in the arena-plus, how she handled author Suzanne Collins's frequent impulse to have characters appear nearly naked.
The Hollywood Blog: Tell me about what it's like to work on something that so many people have already imagined. How do you tackle a challenge like that?
Trish Summerville: Well, it's interesting. 'Cause the other film I've also done [2011's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo] is based off of a book, as well. When you're reading a book, each individual person gets to imagine each character. What they look like, as well as what they're wearing and what they do, and how they act. So I just had to take the approach of what I thought would be visually appealing, 'cause a lot of things that are written don't necessarily translate onto film.
Like the transparent netting that's worn by Finnick, played in the movie by Sam Claflin.
[Laughs] The "strategically placed knot." He was concerned about what he was gonna have to wear. And I was concerned with how it would be functional, how the actor could actually move in it-and what would still give us a PG-13 rating. So we were just trying to incorporate a gold net. It was this woven gold yarn that we did-a metallic yarn-and weaving it into like, more of a kilt shape. But still keeping it in play there, and having his hip bones be out, and having it kind of low-slung. It was incorporating the thing that would make it feel like what you get in the book, but not as literally as a gold knot that he's wearing.
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What other well-known costumes proved difficult?
Katniss's and Peeta's flaming costumes. It had to be something that they both could wear, that are somewhat matching in fabrication-that works well on Katniss, but also is masculine enough for Peeta. Which can be tricky at times, when you're making a kind of matching costume for the chariots.
So in that one I went with a laser-cut leather, then lined in a gold fabric, so that it kind of comes through all the laser cut, and you get a glint of light. So the way the visual effects are done for the fire-it looks beautiful, because it comes through the laser cut of the leather. And it just worked out really, really well.
So with the dress where Katniss spins around, and the white sort of flames into the black, did you have to worry about how that would work technically? Or were you just like, we'll just make it look cool?
So many things we had to worry about technically, how they worked. The wedding dress is definitely one of them. We had to have it so that she could spin, and it would twirl when she twirled. That wedding dress was quite heavy. I spoke with the designer of the dress, Tex Saverio, via Skype on a lot of it. He built this kind of hoop underneath, to make sure it stayed light. The spinning worked, surprisingly, really, really well. When she was onstage, I was pretty surprised at how much air it did catch.
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