The Costume Upgrade

tumblr_mdsvb26Hn81rbpy85o1_1280There are several things that are apparent when you compare The Hunger Games film adaptation to everything we’ve seen, and heard on or about the adaptation of Catching Fire, and one of those things is this– holy mother of god the costumes are a million trillion times better, and for me at least more like how I pictured Panem styles to look than what was seen previously. By the way that last few bits, yeah– you should read that as if I wasn’t breathing at all, running the words together, and basically being a flail-y costume enthusiast. What can I say, but ever since I made the unfortunate mistake of trying to be a theater major, and having to sit through a term long seminar on every aspect of the theater department at my then tiny university, and finding only the presentation on the costume department interesting, I’ve

This is Charlie Chaplin in costume as his signature character The Tramp

This is Charlie Chaplin in costume as his signature character, The Tramp

become a little bit fixated on, well– costumes. I may not have a stack of reference books on the subject, but I know that the feeling I get when I see a film costumed extremely well is very important.  I’ve written before about set design, or the background on furniture choices made in Catching Fire, so when I say set design, or the choices of furniture, art, and other set dressings help tell a characters story, to me it is on par, or the same as costuming, I hope you believe me. This is my point of view, set dressing, and the physical dressings of characters when you really think about it are one and the same, extensions of the story, tools that tell you sometimes everything you’ll ever know about a character, or a place that had up until that moment had only lived in people’s minds. Like this guy to the right, this guy never said a word out loud– but everything you need to know about him is right there in his costume, and his expression. Or that magical moment when Dorothy Gale stepped out of her bleak wind-swept house and into Oz for the first time.

This time around with Catching Fire there’s no doubt in my mind that the costume, and the set designing department has had a major upgrade, or cash injection. And, I’m sure the vote of confidence came about because of the success of The Hunger Games, and I’ve also heard through the grape-vine that the budget was doubled for Catching Fire possibly because of its success. To that I say, hell fucking yeah! And I say that for more than one reason, one of them being this– Alexander McQueen! And this– Junn.J! And this– Rick Owens! And this– Tex Saverio! If you’re at all like me, or even just a little like me you squealed with delight at seeing not just Effie (My Name Is Never Said Out Loud In The First Film), Trinket costumed in character, or costumed in pieces inspired more by the original source material, but other characters as well, then we’re on the same proverbial page. About other characters costumes, I think the costumes that are surprisingly intriguing me the most are Peeta’s. I know, you’d think they would be Katniss’, but there’s just something about Josh Hutcherson dressed head to toe in black leather for the Capitol Gala, or even his Capitol Portrait costume, with his chunky Rick Owens boots, his Junn.J white tuxedo jacket, slim fit

Altered to be more Tuxedo-y, of course.

Altered to be more Tuxedo-y, of course.

white trousers, and also amazingly styled gold metal collar, pocket square, and cuff bracelets also by Junn.J, that are keeping my eyes on him, and getting excited to see what else they’re going to put him in. I’ve become so intrigued by Peeta’s costuming that I’ve even made the conceded effort to try to find that black leather costume, and have come to this educated conclusion: The coat is looking like it’s by Junn.J, just like his portrait costume, only I’m strongly starting to believe that it’s custom-made for the film, however inspired by pieces that were in Junn.J’s 2012-2013 Fall-Winter collection. Fall-Winter collections tend to be showcased well before those actual seasons commence, so I’m thinking Trish Summerville got friendly, and asked to have a piece altered for the film. She literally put Peeta nearly head to toe in their clothing for the Capitol Portrait, and that includes the accessories, so– hey, if I were a designer and a Hollywood costume designer pulled that many of my pieces for a potential blockbuster film– and potentially asked for an other piece to be altered, I’d alter the thing myself! The trousers, I’m actually thinking they’re by Rick Owens, who’s a total leather master worker, and the boots, yep– those are Rick Owens’ as well. And it simply must be said, damn Peeta looks like a bad-ass in black leather!

Still on the search for Katniss’ Gala costume, for now it’s Versac-Balenci-something to me! It’s like searching for Spock, only way less cheesy. 

Them There Eyes


  1. Call it by whatever name you want, it’s spectacular! I might just gain 10 lbs from all the eye candy in Catching Fire.

      1. I was referring to the names of the fashion designers.

        I don’t know a.thing about fashion but I like “knowing” someone who knows. You should probably get paid more for this skill by Lionsgate. Oh, wait… Nevermind. Well, at the very least, you could add it to your LinkedIn profile if you have one.

      2. Oh, and I was referring to all the costumes in general, not just Katniss’ incredible gown. Ahem, I don’t mind seeing Peeta in leather either.

  2. Costuming may be a small part of the finished product but when such detail and time is put into anything? It will show like it does here. Gary Ross did well with the resources he had and Lawrence is simply building off of what he started. New directors can often pose problems when it comes to continuity and all, but I still feel as if Francis is heading the same direction as Gary – just with more detail and more money.

    1. I feel like they really failed where it came to world building where it came to the costume design of the last film. The only costumes I approved of were the Arena costumes, and the Reaping Day costumes, that is all. So, I don’t think Gary Ross, or better yet Judianna did well with the resources that were available to her. Just my opinion.

  3. As someone with a fashion degree I was super excited by this as well. Just from the character posters I was instantly relieved and impressed. The first film left me a little underwhelmed with the costuming, but I can tell they’ve turned it up a notch. Can’t wait for the fashion porn in Catching Fire!

  4. Elizabeth Banks described one of her costumes at Cinema Con recently, and it sounds incredible – a thousand feathers painted to look like monarch butterflies. When I read that, I just thought Oscar! All the costumes so far look absolutely incredible, they were a big disappointment in the first movie for me, but this time around they are far better that I imagined.

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