The Hunger Games Costume Designer on Dressing Jennifer Lawrence and Elizabeth Banks: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

19 March 2012 by

The Hunger Games Costume Designer on Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks and Alexander McQueen Shoes

As we [im]patiently wait for the cinematic release of The Hunger Games, everyone at Grazia HQ has been busying themselves by lusting over Jennifer Lawrence’s red carpet wardrobe. Prabal Gurung, Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford and Marchesa — what more could you want from a Hollywood starlet on the brink of taking the fashion world by storm?

But it's not just the red carpet style that has us enthralled. The film's dystopian story has us glued to the trailer thanks to the elaborate and colourful outfits that channel an Alexander McQueen-meets-Thierry Mugler vibe, enhanced by a splash of aquatic Dior make-up. Here, Grazia Daily talks to costume designer Judianna Makovsky about dressing Jennifer and Elizabeth Banks in THE film of the year…

Grazia Daily: What was your reaction to designers like Alexander McQueen, Rodarte and Tommy Hilfiger expressing their interest in the film?
Judianna Makovsky: It’s very flattering that people want to be involved and that we’ve created this world that they all want to be involved in! There’s a website called Capitol Couture which is a fantasy website and it’s about people imagining the Capitol and a lot of designers have been involved with that but they aren’t actually in the film. We did buy a pair of gold shoes from Alexander McQueen though but all the rest of her clothes are made and designed by me.

Grazia Daily: Effie has emerged as an unlikely style icon. How did you go about deciding on her looks for the film?
Judianna Makovsky: I took some clues from the book where she’s described as very prim and proper but she obviously loves fashion and sort of epitomises the Capitol so we started from there. I looked at a lot to Elsa Schiaparelli and we had this 40s vibe going on with her big puffy sleeves and fun hats and then it just sort of went from there with a little bit of Marie Antoinette thrown in. We poked fun at fashion a bit. She can't really walk in her shoes because they’re so high and uncomfortable. We wanted her clothes to be very form-fitting at the waist to show how uptight she is but it meant that she could barely walk or sit down in those skirts because they were so tight!

Grazia Daily: Was Elizabeth Banks the most fun to dress then?
Judianna Makovsky: Elizabeth is great! She tells everybody that she’s my Barbie doll but she also has a lot to say. She knows a lot about clothes and she knows what she looks good in but she is also very brave and not afraid to look funny or odd. She doesn't have to be beautiful, she just wants it to be right. Just before she was signed on for the role officially, she called me up to talk about what we wanted for Effie and we started with the clothes and ended up in the hair and make-up trailer for two days trying to figure out her look.

Grazia Daily: Did anyone find any of the costumes too outrageous and uncomfortable?
Judianna Makovsky: All of Elizabeth’s outfits were uncomfortable but she mostly struggled with the fingernails - they were so outrageous that she couldn’t even unzip anything to go to the loo!  And we shot in North Carolina in the summer so it was so hot and humid that everything had to be made so everyone could take the layers off.

The Hunger Games Costume Designer on Jennifer Lawrence, Elizabeth Banks and Alexander McQueen Shoes

Grazia Daily: What was Jennifer like to dress?
Judianna Makovsky: With the more dressed-up garments, Jennifer would just let me do what I do but she had a lot to say about the clothes she wore in the arena because she had to do a lot of her own stunts so they all had to be super functional. The fabric even had to be fire-proof! But, mostly, Jennifer is very funny. She’s very down to earth and not very glamorous in real life, she’s just a normal girl and she’s really, really funny so we laughed a lot in the fittings. She was definitely the on-set prankster!

Grazia Daily: Did anyone take anything home?
Judianna Makovsky: Everything is still on set for the later films but Elizabeth did love her last outfit with the big turquoise sleeves. We got braver and braver throughout the film so her sleeves would get bigger and bigger!  

Grazia Daily: Was there a strict budget?
Judianna Makovsky: We didn't have the biggest budget for this kind of film at all so my challenge was figuring out a look for the Capitol that I could afford to do and dress 600 people in.It ended up being a combination of a lot of found garments, made items like the puffy sleeves and vintage and couture clothes.

Grazia Daily: How much did you know about the Hunger Games before you got involved in the film?
Judianna Makovsky: I knew nothing! I did not know anything until Gary Ross [director] called me and said ‘you have to buy this book right now, and get back to me, you need to find me some images because I want to do this movie’ And then as soon as I bought the book, I thought no wonder he wants to do it but I was terrified thinking to myself, how am I going to do this?

We think Judianna did a brilliant job and have decided on our next inspiration for a fancy dress party. Bring out the puffy sleeves, people.


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