A Tribute to The Hunger Games

As long as you can find yourself, you’ll never starve.”  Katniss Everdeen is the iconic heroine of The Hunger Games, both a wildly popular and groundbreaking book and movie.  Author Suzanne Collins seamlessly weaves politics, history, philosophy and social commentary into a young adult action-adventure novel about a dystopian society, so it’s no surprise she also has a lot to say about the role of appearance in this horrifying future. Oscar-nominated costume designer Judianna Makovsky (for her stunning work in Pleasantville and Seabiscuit) was given the herculean task of bringing the style of The Hunger Games to the silver screen.  For the past week, we’ve highlighted some of the film’s most memorable moments, looks and costumes.  The Hunger Games begins in the home of Katniss (played by Jennifer Lawrence) in District 12 – a depressed mining area in former North America.  Katniss spends most of her time hunting with her best friend, Gale (played by Liam Hemsworth, pictured, above left) and providing sustenance for their families, since their fathers were killed in the mine.  Makovsky told Vogue, “We looked at a lot of photographs of coal mining districts from the turn of the century to the 1950s, because we wanted it to have a very American feel.”  The people of Katniss’s district are starving and struggling to survive, so they’re not very worried about looking good.  Makovsky continues, “We wanted to make a very serious impact, and color was very important – to keep it mostly gray or blue… very cold because coal leaves a black dust everywhere.”  The lack of color throughout District 12 certainly gives it a bone-chilling look, and makes the over-the-top publicist Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks, pictured, above right) stick out even more when she comes to collect the male and female tributes for the games.  While the children of District 12 appear in fifty shades of grey, like Katniss’s sister, Primrose (pictured, above left), Effie appears in bright magenta, crazy makeup and a powdered wig.  Makovsky was inspired by the Elizabethan era, John Galliano, and Alexander McQueen, to create the frivolous and frightening citizens of the Capitol.  She told Vogue, “I just thought it would be funny if these people, who have such a vicious streak in them, are sort of covered in flowers and ruffles.”  When Katniss sacrifices herself by volunteering to take the place of Prim, she and the male tribute of District 12, Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson), leave for the capital city of Panem.  They make their first impression on the Capitol by arriving in a glorious chariot ride, hand in hand (pictured, above).  Along with Effie, Katniss and Peeta are accompanied into hell by the only living victor from District 12, Haymitch Abernathy (played by the fantastic Woody Harrelson).  Haymitch (pictured, below left) is a drunk, and is living proof happiness doesn’t always come with winning… Makovsky told EW, “He had won the game, he had money… We didn’t want him to be the cliché filthy, dirty drunk. There’s a bit of a dandy about him. He puts on a bit of a front so you don’t really know who he is… he knows how to play the games. He’s done it before. And we thought he would dress for the capital. So he has a little bit of Edwardian cut to his clothes.”  In the days before entering the arena, Katniss and Peeta have to show off to the Capitol, too, to gain sponsors, who can pay for items, like food and medicine when they’re in the arena.  They also face several days of “training,” which might as well just being a showing-off session to their competitors… Each tribute wears a black tracksuit with grey and red piping and their district number adorned on their sleeves (pictured, above).  Following this physical training, they also take part in televised interviews with TV host Caesar Flickerman (played by Stanley Tucci).  Waiting to meet with him, the future killers are lined up in different shades of pastels, like lethal Easter eggs.  Katniss and Peeta stand out, once again, in a coordinating gown of flames and a dark suit – just like coal and fire.  But it turns out, there is a burning passion inside of Peeta Mellark, too.  Sexy duo Liam Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson weren’t the only men who got to wear significant costumes.  Katniss’s stylist, Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) makes her come alive through clothing, but he dresses pretty simply, himself, in a black Lurex Prada sweater and his famous gold eyeliner.  Stanley Tucci is completely redone as TV host Caesar Flickerman (pictured, below left), with false teeth, bright blue hair and a sparkly suit to match.  And according to the Washington Post, even President Snow (played by the highly under-appreciated Donald Sutherland, pictured, below right) had costumes with deep secrets.  If you notice, he wears a white clergy shirt underneath his suit made of sharkskin – it’s obvious why he’s wearing clothing made of a vicious animal, but that’s certainly saying something about religious oppression/manipulation by putting him in a clergy collar…  When Katniss and Peeta are finally thrust into the Games, it seems their getups match, once again.  In the book, all of the tributes wear identical outfits in the arena, but that didn’t work on film.  Makovsky told EW, “It was my problem to find a look that looked good on boys and girls, and from kids that are age 12 to age 18… All the jackets were specifically dyed – that took forever just to find colors that would read in the woods.”  Apparently, the jackets read quite well – because they’re now available to purchase online!  Between Katniss’s bow-and-arrow skills, and the upcoming Pixar film, Brave, we’re sure archery lessons are going to go through the roof, but that isn’t the only thing from The Hunger Games that is catching fire… Not only are the arena jackets for sale, so are the training uniforms, backpacks, makeup, and numerous mockingjay accessories on Amazon, Etsy and Cafe Press, among many other outlets.  Despite the fictional novel’s futuristic element, Suzanne Collins has created one of the most realistic female characters of all-time.  This is a strong girl who knows herself, and isn’t ashamed of who she is – a rarity among many “heroines” that Hollywood and publishers seem to churn out.  Katniss Everdeen is a hunter, sister, daughter, tribute, rebel, friend, soldier, symbol, survivor – she IS the mockingjay.  And this bird isn’t going to stop singing any time soon…

Look-of-the-Day

At least you two have decent manners. The pair last year ate everything with their hands like a couple of savages. It completely upset my digestion.“  In The Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta’s publicist Effie Trinket (played by Elizabeth Banks) has elaborate outfits and outrageous powdered wigs that bring to mind a modern-day Marie Antoinette.   Costume designer Judianna Makovsky and Banks actually worked together before on the 2003 set of Seabiscuit.  (Fun Fact: The actress’s wedding to husband Max Handelman was actually inspired by the 1930s-era of the film.  This editor remembers seeing her stunning photos in In Style when I was in high school.)  Despite all of Effie’s costumes being made specifically for the actress’s body, Banks told People, “They were all torture.”  Yet, this poofy-sleeved teal dress embellished with an enormous flower pin happened to be her favorite, because, “it was the most comfortable.”  We love the miniature black hat, and ridiculous manicure, which apparently took 45 minutes everyday to complete!  While the word “trinket” means a tiny, cheap ornament (like Effie’s whole wardrobe), “Effie” is short for Euphemia, which means “well-spoken.”  But, it is also happens to be the the name of a martyr, who refused to take part in her government’s ritual sacrifices, and as a result, was forced into an arena and tortured to death.  Hmm… Is that a hint where Miss Trinket’s true allegiance stands underneath that seemingly shallow persona of hers?

Hunger Games Frosting

Yes, frosting. The final defense of the dying.”  Suzanne Collins’ epic series makes sly commentaries on war, death, politics, fashion, love, hunger, bravery, cowardice, history, destruction, life, birth, and even reality TV, so it’s no surprise, she has something to say about makeup, too.  Three-time Academy Award winner Ve Neill (Beetlejuice, Mrs. Doubtfire) was the head makeup artist on The Hunger Games, and she did some truly exceptional work: making Jennifer Lawrence look striking using very little makeup, giving Lenny Kravitz just a slick of gold eyeliner, and designing Seneca Crane’s infamous beard.  Besides creating the crazy faces of the wealthy people of Panem, she also had to do extensive work on burns, blood, gashes, and other injuries to demonstrate the true brutality of the games.  Avoiding starvation is usually the main thing on the minds of the people in District 12 – not selecting the perfect shade of lipstick.  But it turns out, makeup will help Katniss and Peeta in ways they never imagined when heading to the arena…

TIPS ON BLENDING IN WITH THE CAPITOL CITIZENS

  • Lose Your Brows: Costume designer Judianna Makovsky insisted that Capitol citizens’ eyebrows be powdered into nothingness.  She told Vogue, “It immediately takes the face somewhere else.  It takes it high fashion, but also a little scary.  And also beautiful, funnily enough.”  The ghostly look certainly makes the Capitol creeps look soulless – maybe to show the monsters they truly are.
  • Make those Lashes Flutter: Effie Trinket always brings to mind a small, skittish animal or a spastic butterfly, running and teetering around on her heels, so it’s no surprise that on closer inspection, you can actually see the little bugs and antlers accenting her eyes.  The fake eyelashes were created by PAPERSELF.
  • Wig Out: Katniss’s hair, face and body are au naturel, so it makes sense that the decadent denizens of Panem are completely fake from head-to-toe.  The people in charge of hair on the film were Cherry Petenbrink and Linda Flowers (God, those certainly sound like Hunger Game names!)  Flowers told ELLE, “When you’re doing bright colors for hair it can look kind of Mardi Gras-ish. This was a very sophisticated group of people, so it had to be classic.”  Capitol wigs are most often pastel-colored.
  • Too Matchy Matchy: According to Allure, Ve Neill always made sure to match Effie Trinket’s makeup to her outfits.  She used Obsessive Compulsive Lip Tars in lavender and pale blue to match Effie’s pale purple suit, showing her cool demeanor.
  • Tie Up Those Lips: In the same article in Allure, Neill told the magazine why Effie’s lipstick was always in the shape of a bow, “That’s Effie’s signature. Her lips have a bow in every scene. We wanted her to be the perfect picture, always.”
  • Paint by Numbers: Choose your favorite tribute by selecting a nail polish representative of each district (which is now available by China Glaze).  Luxe & Lash for the luxury of District 1; Stone Cold for the masonry of District 2; Riveting for the technology of District 3; Hook and Line for the fishing of District 4; Electrify for the power of District 5; Fast Track for the transportation of District 6; Mahogany Magic for the lumber of District 7; Dress Me Up for the textiles of District 8; Harvest Moon for the grain of District 9; Foie Gras for the livestock of District 10; Agro for the agriculture of District 11; and Smoke & Ashes for the coal mining of District 12 (our personal favorite – from the rubble will rise a burning phoenix!)

Wednesday’s Shoe

I’ve never worn high heels and can’t get used to essentially wobbling around on the balls of my feet.  But Effie runs around in them full-time, and I’m determined that if she can do it, so can I.“  Throughout The Hunger Games, Effie Trinket is always running around, making plans and sticking to schedules in her various pairs of high heels.  Costume designer Judianna Makovsky picked out some great selections for Effie’s onscreen presence, including these futuristic “Gold Faithful” peep-toe stiletto booties by Alexander McQueen, who served as one of Makovsky’s fashion inspirations for the film.  Originally priced around $1,200 (yikes – no wonder they’re meant for the opulent and indulgent people of the Capitol), they are now available on several online outlets for a lower price.

Look-of-the-Day

Happy Hunger Games!  And may the odds be ever in your favor!“  Who else would we feature on “Pink Wednesday” during our tribute (pun intended) to The Hunger Games, but Effie Trinket?!  Played by the wonderful and underrated Elizabeth Banks, Effie comes to the Reaping wearing a completely over-the-top magenta skirted suit, black stiletto open-toe booties, and her famous pink hair adorned with a flower hat to match her other ridiculous accessories.  While this is a darker shade of the purplish pink color, costume designer Judianna Makovsky told Vogue how she was heavily influenced by Elsa Schiaparelli, “The woman was a genius. I have to admit, I used a lot of color.  Schiaparelli pink,” when creating the clothes for Capitol citizens. “We looked a lot at Italian fascist architecture that is very imposing.”  Makovsky’s sly marriage of political themes and high-end fashion is present throughout the film.  I must admit, before reading the book, catching a glimpse of Banks dressed as Effie in the movie trailer completely terrified me when she reads off the name, “Primrose Everdeen” to the crowd of District 12.  Standing beside Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, Effie shows the sharp contrast between the lives of the citizens of Panem.  While these two women may dress, think, act and live as total opposites, it turns out both of them are much stronger than anyone expected…