Any fan of director Tim Burton’s movies is familiar with the trademark style that shines through in the costumes worn. Eccentric patterns, peculiar stitching, and fabrics in colors that shouldn’t go together but somehow marry perfectly in Burton’s world are characteristics of a style that has grown a cult-like fashion following. In 2010, Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland” was released, offering a new look at an old and familiar childhood classic. In order to create breathtaking imagery brining Lewis Carroll’s tale to life, live performances and CGI technology were used. The result is a full-frontal assault on the senses, and I mean that in a good way. The costumes are some of the most visually appealing elements in the film. Academy award winning costume designer Colleen Atwood worked on the curious costumes worn in the film, and has discussed some of the methods used when creating the costumes worn by the film’s most colorful characters. To get a look at some of those costumes, view the full trailer here.
Johnny Depp played the Mad Hatter, a slightly “bonkers” man with a suit that matches his personality. Atwood created his jacket out of layers of silk that were burned in spots to give it a tattered look. The Mad Hatter wears a colorful bow tie which can be seen moving up when the Mad Hatter is happy and down when he is not by way of a tie that the actor pulled. Because making hats is his love and he is known to do impromptu embroidering, Depp’s character wears a set of vintage looking scissors, ribbons, and haberdashery tools on his side as well as a chain of thread spools criss-crossed across his torso which resembles bullets worn by soldiers.
Alice, played by Mia Wasikowsha, wears a number of costumes in the movie, as her size changes throughout the film, from normal height, to very small, to gargantuan. There were around 20 hand-created costumes for the character of Alice alone. Throughout the majority of the movie Alice wears one of several powder blue dresses. In the opening she is wearing a Victorian-styled dress with an embroidered hem and striped layers underneath, which can be seen as she falls down the rabbit hole.
When Alice reaches the castle of the Red Queen, she has grown to epic proportions and a makeshift dress is created from The Queen of Hearts’ curtains. As such, the red, white, and black patterned dress has crazy seams and lots of ruffles. The dress was made on several scales, as later on Alice shrinks while wearing this dress.
Making the costume for Helena Bonham Carter’s character, the Red Queen, presented a challenge because the Red Queen’s head is very large and Atwood didn’t want her to lose her neckline. The end result is a Victorian queen-like gown with a severe waistline and ball gown skirt in red, black, and gold.
While working on this project was no doubt a challenge for even an experienced fashion designer, Colleen Atwood pulled it off, giving film goers stunning fashions to enjoy while watching the film.
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