Shades of Gray: Costumes of OBLIVION
When she joined the Oblivionteam, legendary costume designer Marlene Stewart -- who has worked on films from JFK and Terminator 2: Judgment Day to The Doors and Tropic Thunder -- was well aware that she was signing up for a completely designed, futuristic world. As well, she appreciated that Kosinski leans toward a modern aesthetic. Stewart notes: "Joe wanted streamlined, simplistic, and to have a manufactured, technologically oriented feeling. One of the big challenges was to have such a controlled color palette, and it was shades of gray. We learned that there are an infinite number of shades of gray and created a gray chart, with everything from green grays, brown grays, yellow grays, but it was still tricky because you only had two or three colors to work with."
The enviro suit, Jack's primary outfit over the course of the film, was never intended, according to Stewart, "to be a superhero suit. We wanted it to feel familiar in some way, and environmentally suited for conditions in the outside world." The costumer and her wardrobe team used more than 250 kinds of fabric and printing to craft the enviro suit. They created sculpts and molds, as well as a chest plate, and built hard pieces for the knees and elbows that would be used as protective gear for Jack. To finish, they used high-density ink and printed the company logo on the suit.
Because Cruise did all of his stunts in this suit, Stewart had to make sure the outfit allowed for freedom of movement. Leather, wicking fabrics, polyurethane and elasticized material were all used in the build of the suit to give it the look and feel of a motocross uniform. Along with the shades of gray used to create the costume, the outfit was meticulously aged to create even more texture and history, and its boots and gloves were also made from scratch. To handle all the wear and tear that Cruise would put his outfits through, in sum, 26 duplicate enviro suits were made to be used throughout filming.
The costume designer not only had the challenge of designing wardrobes for Jack, Vika and Julia, her team also created outfits for the residents of Raven Rock, the scavengers and the survivors. Stewart worked closely with Ironhead Studios to design the wardrobe of a civilization in rebellion and the only people left after a world war on Earth.
Kosinski had long had an image of what he thought the scavengers' wardrobe should look like, and he communicated that to Stewart and Ironhead to create costumes for 10 hero scavengers, plus ones for Beech and Sykes. Each suit consisted of 25 pieces, had three to four layers, and had a built-in cooling system inside. The base clothing was made of cotton so that the cast members would not overheat, and it took 30 minutes to dress each scavenger. Indeed, each of these pieces was dyed and aged to match the on-set environment, right down to the black military boots.
In addition to the wardrobe for those on the Raven Rock set, Stewart found it challenging to provide a new look for the more than 100 survivor costumes. Stewart made her couture line by pondering what materials might be available at the end of the world with which to make clothes. Any objects that were lying around were fair game to be incorporated into clothing.
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