The Japanese world that beckons to Logan in The Wolverine was an exciting challenge for costume designer Isis Mussenden -- who worked very closely both with Mangold and Audouy to craft the film's disorienting but visceral mood. Mussenden was excited by the chance to journey into Japan, past and present, traditional and post-modern.
"Researching Japanese culture, Japanese traditions, Japanese clothing, kimono, yukata, Ninjas, Aikido, Kendo, Yakuza, street looks, Harajuku -- all of that opened up a whole new world," she says.
It would also spark a whole new approach to Wolverine himself. "Logan is not the same person that he was in the previous stories, so we really ran with that idea to give him a fresh look, appropriate for this story," explains Mussenden. "In Japan, he's a real fish out of water."
Although Logan might only have five or so outfits, Mussenden's team made close to 100 individual pieces for Jackman to take him through all his primal, fabric-destroying adventures. "Hugh had to constantly change outfits to accommodate different levels of fighting, for harnesses, to deal with bullet holes and slash marks," she says.
While Logan appears mainly in earthy, raw "harvest colors," the women he encounters in Japan don bolder and more mysterious palettes. "Yukio is in red. Viper's obviously green which is based on her look in the graphic novels, and Mariko is in a serene blue, since she is our ingenue," Mussenden notes. "There is also a lot of black in the film, as there is a lot of black in the Japanese palette, but that is then set against intensely beautiful textures and colors."
Mussenden notes that she had to learn the intricate rules of wearing kimonos, the rituals of Japanese funerals and the traditions of Ninjas. But she found it especially fun to work with Viper's latex suits and Yukio's Japanese manga inspired look. "Viper's costume at the end is a big, showy costume and Yukio is a hip, cool kind of character and it was very satisfying to design for that," she says. "With Yukio, we were inspired by the Wolverine graphic novels, by lots of mangagirls, and by Rila Fukushima, who looks beautiful, tough and hot, all mixed into one."
Producer Hutch Parker expects that this new world for Wolverine will be equally compelling to audiences. "From the production design to the costumes to the locations, Jim Mangold and his team have steeped this story in the kind of detail that makes it all come alive," he comments. "The whole design creates a wonderful interplay with the Wolverine's psychological journey."
A distinctive journey that brings audiences more directly into Wolverine's experience is exactly what James Mangold hopes to have created. "I hope audiences will find that they have landed, like Logan, in a world they've never seen, and become completely immersed in something new and exciting," he sums up.
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