‘Hunger Games’ costume designer on dressing ‘Catching Fire’ cast

Nov. 25, 2013 | 5:08 p.m.

Jennifer Lawrence stars as Katniss Everdeen in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

Mags (Lynn Cohen), left, and Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

Josh Hutcherson, left, Elizabeth Banks and Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) and Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in a scene from "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

President Snow (Donald Sutherland), left, and Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman) in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), front, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) in a scene from "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

Stanley Tucci and Josh Hutcherson in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

Jennifer Lawrence and Willow Shields in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks and Josh Hutcherson in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Woody Harrelson in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Sam Claflin and Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

Sam Claflin, left, director Francis Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Jennifer Lawrence on the set of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" actress Jennifer Lawrence, left, and director Francis Lawrence on the film's set. (Lionsgate)

Director Francis Lawrence, center, with actors Liam Hemsworth and Jennifer Lawrence on the set of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" director Francis Lawrence on the film's set. (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in a poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in a poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark in a poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Stephanie Leigh Schlund as Cashmere in a poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in a poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark in a poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Liam Hemsworth as Gale Hawthorne in a poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket in a poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Sam Claflin as Finnick Odair in a poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Woody Harrelson as Haymitch Abernathy in a poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Stanley Tucci as Caesar Flickerman in a poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Jena Malone as Johanna Mason in a poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Donald Sutherland as President Snow in a poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in a poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in a poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

For her last film, costume designer Trish Summerville was tasked with creating the stunning visual style of punk rock hacker Lisbeth Salander for David Fincher’s English-language telling of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” With her latest, “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” she’s found herself designing looks for another headstrong, resilient warrior, Jennifer Lawrence’s Katniss Everdeen.

“I feel fortunate that those are the types of films I’ve been able to work on, that you do have these really strong but emotional and sensitive female characters that are forging their way,” Summerville said. “They’re good role models for young women.”

“Catching Fire,” based on the second novel in Suzanne Collins’ best-selling trilogy of young adult novels, sees Katniss summoned back to the arena to compete against previous survivors of the brutal battle to the death for a special anniversary edition of the Hunger Games. As the narrative expands to include more corners of the world of Panem, showing even the fashionable Capitol in more detail, the costume requirements were massive.

Summerville was responsible not only for signature pieces described in Collins’ book — such as the wedding dress Katniss wears in her interview with Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci)  — but she also had to invent looks for a range of characters, including Josh Hutcherson’s noble Peeta Mellark, Elizabeth Banks’ garish, mesmerizing Effie Trinket and Lenny Kravitz’s quiet, centered stylist Cinna.

Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Stanley Tucci and Jennifer Lawrence in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” (Lionsgate)

“Trish had a really tricky job,” said “Catching Fire” director Francis Lawrence. “When you think about this movie, you have 24 tributes, and each of those tributes has to have outfits — very specific outfits for the chariot ride, for the interview with Caeser Flickerman, for the training in the Capitol and for the arena. Just with the 24 tributes alone, the amount of design that had to go in was pretty remarkable. She pulled it off in such a great way.”

That wedding dress already has garnered plenty of attention. The gown, the work of Indonesian designer Tex Saverio, featured a metal bodice layered with silks and decorated with Swarovski crystals and weighed close to 25 pounds. But Hero Complex caught up with Summerville, who was speaking by phone from the set of Fincher’s upcoming thriller “Gone Girl,” to discuss some of the other key looks in “Catching Fire” as well.

Katniss and Peeta: “With Katniss and Peeta, they won [the Games], so their clothes are kind of funneled from the Capitol, and they have some money, and they’re much more mature. I wanted to show that transition. They have their same style of dress but just better clothing. Peeta still wears work boots; Katniss, her clothes are much more functional than they are fashion. As they travel and have to do these interviews and they go on the victory tour to the Capitol and to the galas, this progression of their clothes, you see it kind of enhance and change and become more fashionable. They have more color, they become more mature, so you kind of see this growth of them. You figure, if you’re looking at what they’ve gone through in a year of their life, it’s been extreme. They’ve grown up in front of our eyes.

Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) and Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in a scene from "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) and Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in a scene from “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

“I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing Katniss Everdeen. In her own sense, she’s so approachable and so lovely and really down to Earth and really close to her family. I think she’s really taken that character and really embodied it. She’s full of strength and she also has this sensitive side to her. I think she’s extremely relatable. I also think the overall film, the Peeta character, the friendship and the relationship that they develop, the chemistry outside of it is so great. They’re so close that the chemistry on screen is there and so believable because it’s really genuine. They have this really great camaraderie.”

The Peacekeepers: “I wanted them to be much more intimidating than what the first peacekeepers were. In this film, there’s a lot more going on with the rebellion, so I wanted the peacekeepers to come across as much more intimidating and much more powerful and fearsome to the district people. I liked the way a praying mantis’ head is shaped and was going in with that [idea] of having a very low-profile helmet, having the eyes be shaded out. Then with the chest plate, one of the inspirations I drew from was Alexander McQueen. Years ago, he had done these suitcases that were very spine influenced. He did one that was a crocodile spine as well. For these peacekeepers, I wanted there to be a question of, how human were they? How much connection could they have? So I gave them these kind of skeletal structures and shells. We took it from there and molded pieces and molded the helmets. I’m really happy with the way they look. I think there’s a good insect-y creature-ness about them.”

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), front, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) in a scene from "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), front, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson) and Haymitch Abernathy (Woody Harrelson) in a scene from “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” (Murray Close / Lionsgate)

Effie Trinket: “Elizabeth [Banks] is fantastic and was really great about all these extreme shapes we were putting on her. With Effie’s character, I talked about it with Francis and with Elizabeth. Her character development is really interesting — although she’s part of this Capitol world and part of Panem, she’s really conflicted about what she’s doing, and she never quite feels safe. In the world of President Snow, you can be taken out at any moment, and she’s grown to love these two tributes as well as she’s gotten to know them. She definitely loves all the grandiose [spectacle] of the Capitol and what it presents, but also with her own kind of self-penance and what she implies to herself is that she can never quite relax. So a lot of her dresses she can’t really sit in, and the waist we had cinched in quite tight. Some of them have these metal belts that kind of cut into your ribs. That really helped with her posture and the whole concept…  She looks quite incredible, but she’s never really relaxed and comfortable enough to just sit down and not always be conscious of the battle that’s going on within herself, the turmoil that she has. Is she contributing to the death of these kids? Then we had her in shoes that were really, really high. There are some McQueen shoes that we had that she’s kind of balancing on the front of her feet; the underneath is literally like a metal horseshoe. There’s no heel, so she’s kind of always teetering on the tips of her shoes, concentrating for her balance. [Elizabeth] was really up for all that.”

Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks and Josh Hutcherson in "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks and Josh Hutcherson in “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” (Lionsgate)

Lenny Kravitz as Cinna in a poster for "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire." (Lionsgate)

Lenny Kravitz as Cinna in a poster for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” (Lionsgate)

Cinna: “With Cinna, I took an approach of [thinking about myself] as a costume designer or a stylist. You kind of have to sneak in and sneak out sometimes to make adjustments, so you generally wear black a lot, just so you’re not caught on camera or anywhere. You’re trying to be as subtle as you can. Me personally, my aesthetic, I’m not saying all stylists or costume designers are this way, but I like to step back a bit. I just want my client to shine. Large parts of my wardrobe, the palette goes from gray to black.

“With me as well as what I did for Cinna, your key basic pieces that you need, it’s the good shoes, the key jacket that you have and layers because you’re in and out. You’re in buildings, you’re outside, you’re constantly moving. You need to possibly look very presentable at times when you go places. For Lenny, I took a bit of what his aesthetic is and moved it into more modular kinds of shapes and pieces and then [added] aesthetically what I felt a stylist of his caliber would wear.”

– Gina McIntyre | @LATHeroComplex

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Comments


9 Responses to ‘Hunger Games’ costume designer on dressing ‘Catching Fire’ cast

  1. Resaec says:

    The costumes in 'Catching Fire' were absolutely and outrageously fabulous!

  2. Ben says:

    Just saw it today. Excellent entertainment. Continuity director screwed up however. Scene where Katniss is rolling in a wave….comes out of the water with three arrows in her quiver….runs into the jungle seconds later and somehow has a full quiver. Hmmm.

    • Sofia says:

      I saw that too, but I tried to find a way for it to not bother me so much, so in my head I have this idea that she found some more on the cornucopia, or what was left of it, I know it's not much but it helps me

  3. james ceffalo says:

    Man, and I thought twilight was stupid

  4. @joeganci says:

    Good catch, Ben. I saw it today in an IMAX theater and missed that continuity error.

    I thought the costumes were amazing. Poor Elizabeth Banks! She must have had 500 costume changes in the course of making the film.

    • Samantha says:

      Lol I think most girls would kill to wear some of the stuff Elizabeth Banks wear in that movie, myself included. After all, discomfort is fleeting, but images of yourself covered in butterflies– or in this case 10,000 feathers designed by McQueen to look like butterflies) is forever. :)

  5. Amanda says:

    4th picture is the most beautiful dress of all

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