Bringing Hunger Games Fashion to Life
by Steph Richter
The Hunger Games, based on the novel by Suzanne Collins, raked in $155 million in its debut weekend, which is the third biggest in Hollywood history. But what we care about, of course, is the fashion.
After reading the book, I had a vivid image in my mind for the fashion throughout, and I think that the costume designer, Judianna Makovsky, matched my thoughts spot-on.
Makovsky has worked in numerous films, such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and X-Men: The Last Stand. She has been nominated for eight Oscars and has won three, two of which were for Harry Potter.
The two biggest outfits of both the movie and the book were the main character Katniss Everdeen’s ceremony outfit and interview dress. Both of these outfits are the reason why Katniss is tagged “the girl on fire”, so their importance is huge.
In the opening ceremony of the Hunger Games, each of the twelve districts is put in a costume that represents an aspect of their district. Katniss and Peta Mellark come from District 12, which is usually represented by coal miner outfits. Cinna, the pair’s designer, decides to change it up with an outfit that will make them stand out.
In the book, Katniss describes her outfit as a “simple black unitard that covers me from ankle to neck. Shiny leather boots lace up to my knees. But it’s the fluttering cape made of streams of orange, yellow, and red and the matching headpiece that define this costume”. After reading that, it’s pretty easy to get an image in your head of what Katniss is wearing. When the outfit gets lit on fire, it awes everyone at the opening ceremony at the Capitol.
Makovsky matched this outfit very well to the book, but she left out the headpiece and replaced it with a bunch of braids wrapping around Katniss’ head. The bodysuit and the flames flowing from her back match distinctly what Collins wrote. I wasn’t sure how well it was going to match the book’s description, but the faux flames worked really well.
The second outfit that was iconic in the book was Katniss’ interview dress. After the opening ceremony, she was becoming known as “the girl on fire” and Cinna wanted to keep rolling with the flame image. Collins didn’t lay out Katniss’ dress as clearly as she did with the opening ceremony costume, but she did say that the dress had “flame-like jewels”.
In an interview with MTV, Makovsky admitted that the dress was the biggest challenge for her. Makovsky decided to go easy on the jewels because she was afraid that Katniss would not be able to twirl and that the dress would engulf her and not show her beauty.
When I saw the film on Friday, I was most excited about the interview dress. Makovsky hit it on the head with the balance of jewels and bright orange color. The flames come into play when Katniss twirls to show off to the audience and faux flames come out of the bottom of her dress.
Another important aspect of the book is how different the Capitol city is from District 12, and the costumes evoke that difference perfectly. Everyone in the Capitol is dressed in crazy outfits with overdone makeup and fake hair. While those in District 12 are portrayed in a totally different light since they are the poorest district. Everyone is in very simple clothes and no makeup at all.
The fashion and costumes in The Hunger Games are essential to each character and represent their personality. Makovsky did a phenomenal job and I would be surprised if she did not get nominated for another Oscar next year.