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The magical costumes of Harry Potter part 2

If you have read my previous post, you will be expecting the second part of the Harry Potter special, as I delve into the wonderful costumes shown throughout the films.

Here, Harry wears a brown corduroy jacket due to it being a hard-wearing fabric and indeed a lot of wear it had. This is the jacket he wears before and after the Battle of Hogwarts which required many duplicate costumes to be made to show the stages of the battle. The costume breakdown team broke down the costumes using an aging and distressing process which included washing the costumes with stones, rubbing the fabrics with sand paper and shaving holes into the fabric to make them look more realistic and true to the script.

Emma Watson has admitted to really disliking Hermione’s costumes in earlier Harry Potter films, like the endless amount of ugly jumpers she seems to own but Watson has grown to embrace the costumes to help her get into character. Due to the amount of action in the Deathly Hallows it was an important decision to have Hermione’s costumes as comfortable and practical as possible while still remaining true to the character. As many as 12 duplicates of the costume had to be made for the stand-in’s and stunt doubles which luckily for the breaking down department didn’t have to be overly distressed due to Hermione not getting overly hurt in the battle.

Ron Weasley isn’t well-known for his fashion sense throughout the films, he’s teased by Draco Malfoy due to having his older brothers Fred and George hand-me-downs. What he does wear completely suits Ron’s character and personality – the casual and earthy colours represent him in his messy, scatty ways with his non-ironed … everything and dare I say it, slightly ‘rugged’ look later in the films. All of Ron’s and the rest of the ‘children’ in the film have their costumes sourced from high-street shops and the rest are hand-made.

Oh the work that goes into Mad Eye Moody’s costume is quite something! This jacket or ‘mac’ took all of one month to create the look of it being worn for 25 years and ‘lived in’ to stay true to the books. The process consisted of fabric dye, acrylic paint, enamel paint, latex, rubbing the fabric with sandpaper, using a blow torch and repeating the process over and over again until the desired look was completed … and then this was repeated on the duplicates which had to be exactly the same to prevent any hardcore fans noticing mistakes in the film.

The Death Eaters had a great deal of detail that may have gone unnoticed by fans of the film due to the dark colours and dark lighting. Jason Isaacs who plays one of the Death Eaters, Lucius Malfoy had even admitted to being spooked by the masks that they wear to intimidate Harry, Ron, Hermione and the rest of Hogwarts. The masks were created by concept artist Rob Bliss which had different motifs and patterns on each one in order for them to identify one another. The details of the masks were then transformed onto the leather ensemble they all wear, as well as the capes. There were 40 Death Eater costumes in total which meant the embroidery had to be exact to the detail on the masks, this meant expert embroiders did so by hand. The embroidery on the robe could take around a day whereas the leather could take up to a day and a half. After all of the beautiful, specific details were complete … all 40 costumes were taken down to the break down department to go through a whole other process of aging and distressing.

Sirius Black looks quite stylish in the films or as Gary Oldman said ‘somebody to take home to your parents’ and not surprisingly a lot of detail went in to create his costumes. Sirius has a transformation from when we first see him after escaping Azkaban when he is dressed in rags to becoming a smart, even stylish godfather to Harry. The waistcoat shown in the above image was hard work for the costume team, it was made from velvet which was then dyed and then used in a printing technique called devore which burns the pattern onto the fabric. The tiny flowers on the waistcoat were hand painted by the costume team which was very time-consuming and let’s not forget the duplicates they had to create and then repeat the same process. The poor costume team, it’s a hard task working on set of the Harry Potter films but I’m sure we would all kill to be apart of it!

Dumbledore’s costume is quite prominent in the film, the dusty lilac floor length robe stands out much more than other characters at Hogwarts. The silk twill robe has a shawl collar with purple and grey embroidered flourishes down the front which creates a very luxurious look. The design of the sleeves required a lot of needlework – the braid and embroidery detail coincides with the flourishes down the front of the silk robe. Dumbledore is also shown a lot wearing a dark green brocade smoking hat which has faded green and gold braid with brown silk tassels.

The lovely Maggie Smith plays the plain-speaking Professor Mcgonagall and her costume is undoubtedly a strong and bold statement due to the medieval fashion. The points on the shoulders are very unusual and the wide sleeves fall from the elbow which creates a dramatic effect while her outstretched arms are casting spells as shown in the above image. The empire waist dress is fastened with a silver clasp with a floor-length long sleeve dress underneath and a high pleated collar. There are a lot of points throughout her costume such as on the inner sleeves, outter sleeves and on her shoulders, the points with the stripes  on the gown create a sharp look which reflects her professional ‘take no crap’ attitude (in a lady-like way of course!) On her feet she wears laced up Victorian style boots and on her head (sometimes) she wears woolen witch-like hat.

Snape’s costume makes him look very long and snake like to coincide with the fact  that he is the Head of Slytherin. He was dressed in dark navy and dark green (again to coincide with the Slytherin theme). His clothes are very 19th century gentleman with the high collar, frock coat and narrow legged trousers, it reminds me of a lot of Johnny Depp in the period horror film Sleepy Hollow. Usually, Snape wears a black gown which has a long train which drags along the ground, inspired by the tongue of a snake.

What’s your favourite costume moment in the Harry Potter films?

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The magical costumes of Harry Potter part 1

In light of the new Harry Potter tour at the Warner Bros. studio in London which opened on the weekend I thought I would honor the wonderful costumes in the enchanting films for the first blog post of the week. I guess you could call it an early Easter present from moi if you like.

To get you pumped for some Harry Potter greatness, have a watch of this 36 second video of the making of the studio itself: 

How exciting!

She sure does love her pink clothes, it’s difficult to imagine Dolores Umbridge in any other colour, but don’t let the pink fool you. Usually pink is associated with warmth, love and care – this lady doesn’t know the meaning of these words – the clothes are a real masque of what she really is, pure evil. The shade of pink in the above image is interesting though, it’s not a soft, shy colour – the magenta tone portrays her power and authority well within Hogwarts. The shades of pink started off soft and gentle by using angora wool which created an ora and glow around her silhouette but as her power increased the pink became a more intense colour. The woolen dress-jacket is collarless and features a velvet asymmetrical bow (looking a little worse for wear here) with 3/4 length flared sleeves, also donning velvet bows near the cuff. Actress Imelda Staunton wore a fat suit underneath this ensemble to produce her unusual body shape.

I personally can’t imagine anybody more perfect to play Bellatrix Lestrange than Helena Bonham Carter who has a big say in the costumes she wears to play the cunning death eater. Helena and  the costume designer of 6 out of the 8 films Jany Termime worked closely together to determine the look of Bellatrix who is noticeably attractive despite her ragged clothes and messy hair. The initial costume idea was to have Bellatrix wearing a sack due to her 14 years in Azkaban prison but Helena wanted her to look feminine and shapely. The sleeves are made from a fine knitted fabric to avoid tearing and the leather bodice was laced at the back in a similar fashion to a corset with parts of her arms on show which Helena wanted in order for Bellatrix to look slightly sexy.

Robbie Coltrane portrays the friendly giant, Hagrid and to help with the illusion of him being a giant every detail had to be handmade much bigger than usual including all buttons and stitching which were then made to look more distressed by the costume breakdown department. Hagrid’s clothes were produced in earthy colours to fit in with his woodland surroundings on the outer-grounds of Hogwarts and were again fitted over a fat suit to help emphasise his large size which even had its own cooling system. Ever notice Hagrid’s heavy, stomping walk? This was a deliberate characteristic with his specially made boots being bigger enough to fit his trainers into them. 

Voldemort wore a silk Habotai over robe in a poisonous green colour to coincide with his allegiance with Slytherin and the silk was the perfect material as the draping sculpted the particular way in which he moves. Underneath the over-robe he wore a heavy cross-over-robe with long, wide draped sleeves in a very slightly lighter green, both dyed more than once to create an uneven effect of both light and green shades. 50 metres of silk was used to create Voldemort’s costume which is the same length as half of a football field. Ralph Fiennes who plays the ‘Dark Lord’ has admitted to tripping over the overly long robes and to wearing tights underneath which were then cut to stockings as the gussets of the tights constantly fell down, causing difficulty in walking. Now, that’s a funny image but maybe not as funny as the image of him flashing his stockings to the stunt men if they were acting too ‘macho’ which Ralph also admitted to.

Part 2 coming soon …

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