She has won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design for Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha and Alice in Wonderland, but Colleen Atwood says that she experienced a few career firsts while creating the wardrobe for Snow White and the Huntsman – which earned her a 10th Oscar nod.
“The level of craftsmanship in this movie has never happened with me before,” Atwood told EW at Tuesday night’s Costume Designers Guild Awards in L.A. “And if it’s never happened with me before, it probably hasn’t happened very often in the last ten years of costume design.”
That craftsmanship is most evident in the dresses worn by Charlize Theron’s evil Queen Ravenna. “We had things that were made from beetle wings, and pieces that were made out of parchment paper, which is an ancient technique not normally used in costuming. I had stuff made in India, in Turkey, I had fabrics woven,” says the designer, who created a total of 2,000 costumes for the film. “There are less and less people in the world who know how to do the things we got to do for this movie.”
Atwood says Ravenna’s wedding gown – which features structured epaulettes designed to look like a skeletal cage – is one of her favorite Snow White costumes, in part because Theron was so appreciative of the work the wardrobe team put into constructing it.
“When we did [fittings for] the wedding gown, it was like we were doing Charlize’s own wedding gown,” the costume designer says of the actress’ reaction upon trying on the finished garment for the first time. “She came in and did a turn around the room to show the girls who helped make it. It’s a special moment when wardrobe people, who nobody ever notices, are regarded by the actors they’ve designed for. It was generous of Charlize to do that, and it was a great moment for all of us.”
–Reporting by Lindzi Scharf
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