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We already know that Anne Hathaway dropped 25 pounds by surviving on nothing but oatmeal paste and Oscar buzz to play the destitute Fantine in Les Miserables. (Following the strict guidelines of the best-selling book 19th Century French Prostitutes Didn’t Get Fat.) But to make her character look even more brink-of-death emaciated, Hathaway had a secret weapon: costume designer Paco Delgado.

“We worked with clingy fabrics,” says Delgado, who oversaw the creation of more than 2,200 outfits for the cast of the epic movie musical (in theaters now). “And [we] used an airbrush to darken the sides of her costumes to make her look even thinner.”

That wasn’t the only subliminal touch to Hathaway’s wardrobe, which helps show her character’s descent from factory worker to consumptive prostitute.

“Fantine was originally a seamstress and had nice clothes in the past, but now she doesn’t have any money,” Deglado explains. “So Anne was very keen on the idea that her costumes would have a lot of mending, like they were old and mended by her character.”

Color was also used to play up the outsider status of Hathaway’s character, especially during the everybody-gang-up-on Fantine number “At the End of the Day.” “We wanted to show that Fantine is a woman who is being criticized by other women for being different,” Deglado says. “So we came up with this idea that she wear a blue bonnet and have a little bit of pink in her costume at the factory, and everyone else would have brownish greyish colors.”

For more about the costumes in Les Miserables, check out this behind-the-scenes featurette.

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Les Miserables
  • Movie
  • 167 minutes