If you’ve been blind to the Hunger Games explosion, you must be living in a black hole. Especially since on March 23 Suzanne Collin’s first book was released in theaters—and nearly sold out for the week after opening day.
This popular trilogy is based on the premise of which children in the country of Panem (formerly North America), randomly selected from their respective districts to fight each other in a televised national competition. While this disturbing but imaginative future takes place here’s something stranger: each competitor receives a stylist. Oh, because teenagers who are being thrown into the forest to fight to death really need to look their best… Well, regardless Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) are paraded through festivities and publicity events they are guaranteed to look perfect down to the last detail.
Judianna Makovsky, the costume designer for the Hunger Games is accustomed to bringing characters to life through wardrobe. Most famously known for her Academy Award nomination on Harry Potter and the Socerer’s Stone wardrobe she has also worked on over 30 films designing costumes. Some of her other notable work is seen in X-Men: The Last Stand, National Treasure, Seabiscuit, and Great Expectations.
While designing costumes for the Hunger Games, Makovsky said to Vogue, “You don’t think of it as science fiction. And I always say: A suit’s been around for over 100 years; what makes us think it’s not going to be there for another 100 years? I find if you go too far afield from what we know, it becomes dated very quickly.”
Makovsky relies on the inspiration of current designers as well as Elizabethan clothes. She references Elsa Schiaparelli, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano as her typical inspirations. But Elsa Schiaparelli is by far her favorite, inspiring her to use color.
Since Panem was based on a desolate version of North America Makovsky researched a lot of photographs from the 1950’s. Specifically looking at photographs from coal mining districts because she wanted the clothes to have an all American feel. The blue-grey vibe of the costumes during the scene where Katniss volunteers for her sister was done to make a serious impact on the audience. It was a important moment, and the costumes created a solemn tone without being too over stylized.