Trish Summerville, who dressed the stylish ‘Hunger Games’ sequel ‘Catching Fire,’ returns in fiery fashion for the prequel.
Welcome to the 10th annual Hunger Games!
Elizabeth Banks’ fashionable escort Effie and Lenny Kravitz’s stylist Cinna are nowhere to be found, but there are still memorable style moments in The Hunger Games prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, centered on a teenage Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) before his Panem reign of terror. Director Francis Lawrence reunites with Trish Summerville, who outfitted the most memorable fashion film in the franchise Catching Fire, to bring a different Panem to life.
“This time around, our world is much more classic and more contained,” Summerville tells EW. “We've not reached that excessive, outlandish, very gluttonous world of the Capitol yet, so we did go about it in a much different way.”
Summerville channeled classic 1940s and ‘50s Americana to capture the earlier years of Panem, combing through JCPenney and Sears catalogs of yesteryear and imbuing the neutral palettes seen across filming locations in Germany and Poland into the designs. Below, the costume designer breaks down some of the prequel’s most notable looks.
Lucy Gray Baird’s colorful reaping dress
Rachel Zegler’s Lucy Gray wears her mother’s rainbow tulle dress on reaping day. It’s long before the era of tribute uniforms, so she and fellow tributes are thrown into the arena in the same clothes they wear when they’re plucked from their homes — meaning Summerville had to construct between 10 to 12 versions of the dress to account for wear and tear. She tapped into the songbird’s musical Covey background during the creation process. “Lucy Gray is a performer. She's much different than Katniss. She's a bit of a vaudeville traveling musician [and] got a bit of a can-can girl flare to her.”
Though she’s no Katniss, Summerville did include nods to Jennifer Lawrence’s Girl on Fire, creating a leather corset in the same silhouette as Katniss’ dark navy mockingjay dress in Catching Fire, seen below.
There’s also another nod to Katniss and her sister Primrose (Willow Shields) in the form of the katniss and primrose flowers painted on the corset alongside the snakes.
Volumnia Gaul’s regal purple dress
With Viola Davis’ gamemaker and geneticist, “I wanted her — and Tigris — to be the most fashion-forward people in this world,” Summerville says. “I did want to show some extremes, things that were over the top in various silhouettes and color, pattern, [and] texture.” As director Francis Lawrence previously told EW, "She's a creative person with a very sinister underpinning, so there's a lot of color in her wardrobe and in her hair and also in her creation."
Note, too, that Volumnia’s hands and neck are often covered. It all goes back to those mutations. “It was of the mindset that she's created all these creatures in her lab,” Summerville notes of the conservative coverings. “There's probably some scarification or burns or bite marks from her creatures, so we keep her covered so as to not alarm any of the students.”
Tigris’ muted pink suit
For future Capitol stylist Tigris (Hunter Schafer), Summerville used predominantly pink tones to lean into the “lightness” of the up-and-coming designer, who she calls a “ray of hope and sunshine.” In Mockingjay Part 2, Tigris, who owns her own boutique, “becomes much more extreme” fashionwise, Summerville notes. “[I wanted to] show how she [starts] off as this very soft, fashionable person.” There are even nods to Banks’ Effie, with Summerville paying homage to Hunger Games costume designer Judianna Makovsky by way of Tigris’ suit with a peplum waist and dramatic shoulders. “She started that world,” Summerville says of Makovsky.
Coriolanus and his classmates’ saturated school uniforms
To create the uniforms of Coriolanus and his Academy classmates, Summerville took a more “conservative and Communistic” approach and settled on a blood-like red to contrast the cold, gray interiors of the school and Capitol. “When the students file into the Academy classrooms, it’s this veining of blood,” she says. “It's like a blood flow. That for me was significant because this is the youth and they are the blood flow of the Capitol and how the future will be throughout Panem.”
There’s also a nod to future President Snow toward the end of the film, during Coriolanus’ final visit with Casca Highbottom (Peter Dinklage). Coriolanus’ red ensemble pulls from the burgundy satin and velvet jacket Summerville designed for Sutherland in Catching Fire. Though he wears white in the book, Summerville didn’t want him to stand out against the sea of red. “I wanted to keep him in a similar color but completely change what he was wearing,” she says. “Because now he's a civilian and he's gone through a lot. He’s become a man and we were calling it his ‘new man look.’”
The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is in theaters now. You can buy Entertainment Weekly's The Ultimate Guide to The Hunger Games here, or on newsstands.
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