'Hunger Games': Sizing Up the Costumes
A longtime collaborator with Hunger Games director Gary Ross, Judianna Makovsky has also designed the costumes for films as disparate as X-Men: The Last Stand and The Legend of Bagger Vance. ''Gary and I had endless discussions about just creating the world [of The Hunger Games],'' she says. Her mandate: Follow Suzanne Collins' book — when she can. ''How do you do this with the money we have and the time that we have? That is my problem to solve.''
''Katniss' leather hunting outfit became a big discussion,'' says Makovsky. ''In the book, the jacket is her father's jacket and it's oversized. When we did [it that way], it was like, 'Oh, well, she can't move in it. She can't shoot in it and it doesn't look very good on film, so just make a nice jacket.' ''
Makovsky started building the world of Panem first with District 12. ''It has a very sort of mid-century, 1930s to '50s feel — Americana,'' she says.
For the outlandish Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), the first citizen of the garishly wealthy Capitol that we see, Makovsky says Ross was a bit more hands off. ''He was kind of just like, 'Do what you do,' '' she says with a laugh. But he did definitely know what he did not want to see. ''One of the things that he was adamant about was that, even though these wigs are fun colors, he didn't want some hot pink wig. He wanted it to have a little bit more a tasteful feel... But it's Elizabeth Banks, [so] we should have a little bit of sexiness there and a sense of fun.'' Makovsky says she drew her inspiration in part from the work of Italian fashion designer Elsa Shiaparelli. ''It's kind of elegant, fun, but not ugly. I wanted to make sure that it wasn't ugly.''
''My whole thing for the Capitol is that everybody was gonna have these big puffy sleeves,'' says Makovsky. ''Already that's so silly, but you can be elegant and silly at the same time... It had to work with the sets, not only for the Capitol, but for District 12. It was very important to Gary that it all worked together.''
One of the bigger challenges was coming up with what Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) would wear during their debut parade in the Capitol. ''In the book, it's described that Katniss and Peeta are wearing exactly the same thing,'' says Makovsky. ''And that's an instance where things don't always translate [from book to film]. Boys don't look good in what girls wear. So [we were] trying to have a similar look, but cut them differently so that Katniss has this beautiful figure and Peeta looks manly. It's very hard in a chariot costume. So we tried to make it even a little bit more special than the book.''
For Katniss' interview with Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci), Makovsky also deviated a bit from Suzanne Collins' text. ''In the book, it's described as being covered in flame-like jewels,'' she says. ''Well, to me, that's very dangerous, because it could be like a Dancing With the Stars dress, or it could be extremely heavy so she won't be able to twirl. Certainly, the bottom of the dress is covered in Swarovski crystals. It's got all this stuff, but when you first see her, 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.' And that was the moment I wanted [for Katniss].''
There were entirely different concerns for the outfit Katniss wears during her time in the Hunger Games arena itself. ''The main conversation that we had was that it would be practical,'' says Markovsky. ''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.''
''In the book, [the Tributes] all wear exactly the same thing in exactly the same color [in the arena],'' says Makovsky. ''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. 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. That was a big problem. What looks good on all of these people and how do we create that? All the jackets were specifically dyed — that took forever just to find colors that would read in the woods.''
''He had won the game — he had money,'' says Makovsky of Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson), Katniss' drunken mentor. ''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, and we wanted that to come through in his clothes. He is in the Capitol — 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.''