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?

Top 5 fashion in film moments of 2011

2011 was a a year with plenty of stunning costumes and I set myself the challenge to narrow them down to just five … five!

In no particular order here are my top five fashion in film moments of 2011:

One – Black Swan


Despite the controversy  surrounding the film’s costume design due to the Mulleavy sisters (who are a part of the fashion company Rodarte and contributed towards the fashion choices in the film) not getting recognition at the BAFTA’s whereas the overall costume designer Amy Westcott did, Black Swan to me, is an obvious and memorable choice in fashionable films when I think back throughout the year 0f 2011. Although I am in no position to point fingers and decide who deserves what in terms of recognition for the costumes, what I do know is that it is undoubtedly award-winning worthy.  The phycological thriller takes the aspect of the white swan symbolising the pure and virginal side to the lead of Swan Lake, Nina (played by Natalie Portman) whereas the black swan is highlighting the evil and powerful side, therefore it’s not surprising that the performance costumes are colour coded black and white throughout. The jewel-encrypted bodices, feather tutu’s and the illuminating head pieces are so impressive but don’t expect to see your childhood dreams of ‘I want to be a ballerina when I grow up’ envisioned on screen, as the wardrobe choices and identity shown are much more dynamic. The film heavily influenced the catwalk and fashion world with designer Chanel taking their dark and ballerina-esque clothes into the Spring season and French footwear designer Christian Louboutin designing his very own ballerina shoes with an eight inch heel. Now, they would be far too painful to wear.

Two – My Week With Marilyn


Marilyn Monroe was the definition of glamour and a 1950s sex symbol so it’s probably not much of a shock to see this film in the top five. Michelle Williams portrays Monroe in the British Drama My Week With Marilyn which focuses on the particular time in her life when her husband Arthur Miller leaves the country. Monroe is so iconic that it would be a tragedy to portray her wrongly – in terms of fashion everything is spot on but we see her behind the scenes – the private side of her, not the glamourous gowns but the signature dark black shades, white stiletto heels and wool overcoat. She’s so stylish it’s probably not long until the high-street shops are stocked full of Monroe inspired items with shoppers wanting to recapture the 1950s subtle and classy look. Costume designer Jill Taylor created the vintage-style wardrobe for the film in just six weeks, purchasing items from vintage fairs and shops, auction houses and markets to give an honest and true to the character depiction of Monroe. The film is focused at a weak and vulnerable part of Monroe’s life, therefore this is played on a lot showing her wrapped up in a dressing gown, highlighting the need for comfort, not the Hollywood glamour. A must see film for everyone, especially those who adore 1950s styling which is easy enough to recreate today – grab a shirt, pencil skirt, stiletto heels, dark sunglasses and throw in some hair curlers and you are good to go.

Three – Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows


It’s always nice to see Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law on the same screen so I was very much looking forward to seeing the second installment of Sherlock Holmes, A Game of Shadows and I wasn’t disappointed – plot wise and fashion wise. Before I start I thought it best to mention first that in the film we see Downey Jr. in a dress and I thought I would also assure you that there are plenty of clever and humorous scenes in which we see Holmes camouflaged in some outrageous disguises … something that fictional character Sherlock Holmes is well known for doing so. Watson played by Jude Law and Sherlock’s sidekick is radiating style, obviously well groomed and with fashion a clear interest in his life, with his perfectly non-creased shirt,  a Harris tweed jacket, top hat and leather gloves. Holmes is looking dapper too but in his own way – he has that look that he’s just thrown something on yet looks high-class with a slightly scruffy look – whereas it’s very obvious Watson takes pride in his clothing. In one scene in the film we see Holmes wearing a wideawake hat (similar to a trilby), a heavy coat jacket, embellished waistcoat, smart trousers, a silky scarf and round teashades (glasses) – all of which is spot on or extremely similar to the Victorian era in which it is set in. Many of the clothes from the first Sherlock Holmes (2009) were kept and used for this film, as well as sourcing clothes from Cosprop – a Hampshire based costume hire company, specifically original period costumes. A brilliant wardrobe for a brilliant cast – a must see film, even if it’s just to see Downey Jr. in drag.

Four – Drive


What a year Ryan Gosling has had and to be involved in my opinion the best film (on all counts) of 2011 he has quickly became a favourite to many in the film industry. Drive, based on a Hollywood stunt performer (played by Gosling) who also has second job as a getaway driver is directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and has an outstanding cast in the form of English beauty Carey Mulligan , Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston (see this post) and Mad Men actress Christina Hendricks. A man of very few words (the film has little dialogue – not that this is a bad thing), Gosling wears a silver-white satin jacket which is inspired by Korean souviner jackets from the Fifties and has a scorpion motif on the back which becomes his trademark look throughout most of the film – a memorable wardrobe choice. Gosling looks effortlessly cool throughout the duration of the film (and offscreen I may add) with a slight colour coding in his costumes – the caramel brown gloves match the inner collar of his jacket which in turn matches his shoes. Gosling or the ‘unnamed driver’ wears a variety of well known brands during the film including a vintage Levi’s denim jacket which had to be multiplied by twelve due to the amount of blood in the scenes and a Henley t-shirt which originated from soldiers who wanted to wear an extra layer underneath their wool and fighting jackets which gave off a scruffy mechanic look. Only Gosling could pull of the costumes in the film, I couldn’t quite imagine the likes of say, Seth Rogen pulling off the satin jacket, aviator sunglasses and toothpick in mouth combo. Sorry Seth.

Five – The Help

Mad Men eat your heart out. Costume Designer Sharen Davis created some beautiful pieces for book adaptation The Help which is based during the 1960s and focuses on the time when African-American maids worked in white households in Jackson, Mississippi. The styling has 1960s written all over it – women’s retro tweed suits, cat-eye sunglasses, simple tea dresses and bold floral print tailored dresses – basically my idea of heaven, being a big fan of Mad Men as well. The accuracy of the costumes is perfect and presents the era properly – head to toe the characters are dressed appropriately – everything down to headwear – bows and silk scarves are included. A lot of the characters including Skeeter (played by Emma Stone) wear the classic a-line skirt with a patterned blouse or a sleeveless shirt with high-waisted trousers… very Joan Holloway or Peggy Olson. The pastel colours with full skirts nipped in at the waist are very flattering and capture a very feminine look for the cast. Oh how I wish I was born in the 60s.

There you have it, my top five fashion in film moments of 2011. What are yours?

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