The Hunger Games costume designer Judianna Makovsky talks creating the looks for the movie

In an interview to LA Times, the costume designer for The Hunger Games, Judianna Makovsky talks about creating the various elaborate looks required in this movie:

“I tried to stay as close to the descriptions in the book as I could,” says costume designer Judianna Makovsky. “When I was doing ‘Harry Potter,’ I changed to an unlisted phone number because I was so terrified I was going to disappoint people.”

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The simple beauty of the clothes in District 12, for example, recalls fashion’s never-ending fascination with vintage work wear, authenticity and Americana, which is seen in “heritage” brands such as RRL and L.L. Bean. And the outrageous clothing in the Capitol brings to mind the see-and-be-photographed blogger culture that thrives on peacockish personal style and celebrates the kookiest among us, from Nicki Minaj to Bryan Boy.

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Makovsky put as much thought and consideration into the low-key costumes for District 12 as she did for those in the Capitol.

She started her research by looking at photographs of working-class people from the turn-of-the-19th century to the 1960s in Appalachia and other places in America, particularly images by Lewis Hine and Mike Disfarmer. “We took the basics from that, the simple shapes of the clothes and the colors.”

A pair of striped pants Katniss wears to hunt were made from an 1870s Levi Strauss pattern. Her caramel-colored leather jacket was modeled after 1940s styles plucked from costume houses for inspiration. It’s not oversized, as specified in the book, where it is described as a hand-me-down from her father.

“We tried that, but it didn’t look good, and she couldn’t move her arms to shoot,” Makovsky explains.

The Sunday-best blue dress that Katniss wears at the Reaping, as the lottery for the Hunger Games is known, was also difficult to get right.

“We made dozens of different versions, some sheer, some not. Originally we thought it would be cotton, but rayon looked better. We found the fabric at the Western Costume fabric shop. And we bleached and dyed it to get just the right blue, and put some smocking at the top. It’s supposed to be her mother’s dress.”

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