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The Costumes
"The costumes are very fantastical and very heightened. It's complete transformation; it's just high-concept, high-fantasy. It's really fun."
-- Rachel Weisz (Evanora)

Costume designers Gary Jones and Michael Kutsche had their jobs cut out for them, as there were hundreds of original costumes to design for every type of fantasy character in the Land of Oz. A trip to the wardrobe room reveals a vast space filled with rack upon rack of clothes and shelves of handmade hats and other accessories. In all, Jones and Kutsche designed, created and assembled nearly 2,000 costumes for "Oz The Great and Powerful." Working on all sorts of characters from Witches to Munchkins to Quadlings and Tinkers, the two costume designers came up with special looks for all the fascinating and unique inhabitants of the Land of Oz.

But industry veteran Gary Jones is not a stranger to the costume demands of big films. He reunited with director Sam Raimi for "Oz The Great and Powerful," after having designed the wardrobe for Raimi's "Spider-Man 2." In addition to his continuing association with Raimi, Jones has enjoyed collaborations with such distinguished filmmakers as Garry Marshall (seven films, including "Valentine's Day" "New Year's Eve," "The Other Sister," "The Princess Diaries," "The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement," "Raising Helen" and "Georgia Rule"), Brian De Palma ("Dressed to Kill"), Louis Malle ("Vanya on 42nd Street"), Sidney Lumet ("Guilty As Sin," "A Stranger Among Us"), Peter Weir ("The Mosquito Coast") and Alan J. Pakula ("Consenting Adults").

Costume and character designer Michael Kutsche is an award-winning German artist who works both in traditional and digital media. Kutsche's unique approach to imaginative character creation led him to become a character designer for Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," his first movie experience. Kutsche has since designed characters for Disney's "John Carter," directed by Andrew Stanton and "Thor," directed by Kenneth Branagh.

Director Sam Raimi discovered Kutsche's outstanding costume design skills while he was originating characters 20for the film. Kutsche's extraordinary talent and approach to the film's wardrobe led to his additional collaboration as one of the project's two costume designers.

"Michael's drawings depicted characters in their costumes playing a moment from the picture, and they were fantastic," praises director Sam Raimi. "Right off the bat, he had a vision for the picture that fit in with Robert's environment. Like Robert, he's a visionary and his characters really sprang to life out of those drawings."

Before Kutsche put pen to paper (or paint to canvas, or cursor to computer screen, his chosen practice) in sketching the inhabitants of the Land of Oz, he turned not only to Baum's novels (which contained crude pen- and-ink drawings to illustrate the author's stories), but to Stromberg's overall designs for the world of Oz for his inspiration.

Kutsche tasked himself with reflecting the environment of the characters in the costumes he designed. "I think that the most important thing for me was that the costumes weren't just floating over, but actually part of this world," comments Kutsche. "Rob's [Stromberg] drawings and the drawings from the Art Department really were a great starting point because they already had put some very distinct language into them."

Kutsche began his process by drawing "a couple of pages of little pencil sketches," reflecting how he perceived the character to look, given his or her environment, personality and social status. Once he locked in the particular shape and design, Kutsche created an inked version of the sketch, which he scanned into his computer. Once it was living in his computer, Kutsche could colorize the sketch and create material and intricate costume detailing.

Gary Jones and Kutsche had several discussions about the costume drawings and what materials the costumes could ultimately be made of. Kutsche had very clear ideas about how he wanted to portray the characters and what specificity there would be to their costumes. It was up to Jones to flesh these ideas out literally and figuratively. About the process, Jones says, "In many cases, Michael's drawings did dictate what the feeling needed to be, but we had to go on a real search to find the right element and the way to do it. That was a great adventure.

"We eventually printed fabrics, beaded fabrics and manipulated fabrics to make the costumes individual and different. Although many of the things are not literally different, they appear to be. So, that's kind of exciting," he concludes.

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