Costumes Define the Factions
"Carlo Poggioli is an amazing costume designer," states Burger. "What we were
do with the costumes is to simply be able to understand that people are in
different factions, but
we wanted it to feel very real. We didn't want it to feel like it was a uniform.
Carlo came up with a
really individual style for almost every person, whether they be a main
character or a background
extra. For example, all Abnegation wear their fundamental gray, but everybody is
wearing it in a
different way. Carlo made it a group of individuals, even as they are part of a
larger faction of
people. We had hundreds and hundreds of extras in some scenes, and every single
costumed as an individual. Nothing ever looked like a broad stroke of costumes."
Poggioli arrived in Chicago in January of 2013 with just sketches, and the
first batch of
Dauntless costumes were filmed the second week in April. Multiple workshops in
Budapest, Bucharest, Chicago, and Los Angeles manufactured thousands of
over 50,000 yards of fabric.
"We had to produce thousands and thousands of individual pieces. These
were not like a uniform with the same cut and fabric. The problem of this was
that we had five
different factions and for each faction, we had to make a thousand pieces
Poggioli. "In addition, they are completely different colors and shapes and
"I had to divide things. We started to make the prototypes in Rome and I'd
prototypes to Hungary and Romania. In each county, I had three or four different
each taking care of a different faction," says Poggioli. "We started making
costumes on the 13th
of February, and the first shipment arrived in Chicago on the 13th of March. In
one month, they
did all the Dauntless and the Abnegation."
"I was crazy flying from Chicago to Budapest to Romania to Rome. It was a big
laughs Poggioli. "But we made everything for the principal cast in the Chicago
Shailene and Theo, for example, it was impossible to make those costumes abroad
have to control and be able to alter things quickly. I found a wonderful crew
here in Chicago and I
brought a cutter from Italy."
The costume department logged over 1300 fittings. "It was a big challenge
had to invent everything. It's my first movie where I made everything from the
shoes, to the
pants, to the jackets, to the accessories. Each outfit is completely new. This
project was an
opportunity to invent a completely different world."
"The Dauntless costumes are great and I would wear all of them in real life.
Abnegation costumes are intentionally made to look like they could've been
created by a layman,
and the Erudite costumes are perfectly tailored and so beautiful. I would wear
all of them, to be
honest," laughs Veronica Roth.
Abnegation: The modest civil servants known as the Abnegation faction put
peoples needs in front of their own with no hesitation. With deep-rooted
selflessness, there is no
need to inject color into their clothing, grey tones and natural fabrics is all
that is needed to
perform their function in society.
"The Abnegation costumes are the simplest in shape and color," states
Poggioli. "We do
not see many hems, everything is cut roughly. The color is different shades of
the gray. We have
the light gray; we have the more beige gray. For Shailene and Ashley, I combined
linen... a heavy fabric with the light fabric on top, a long jacket. Each faction
has a different
length of the costume and the jacket. The shape of the Abnegation is like little
bit of sack. They
are very straight. No vanity."
"I loved working with the costumes," states Ashley Judd. "It's wonderful to
sit down with
such a gifted costume designer and be shown this massive portfolio. It was like
sitting with Mr.
Armani when he was making my wedding dress. There was espresso and there were
To be in a costume department where they're building everything from scratch,
when there are
rows of sewing machines and people who are so nimble with those fingers and,
is really hard and then fitting them, there aren't a lot of people who can do
anymore, so it was really neat. When we were filming the choosing ceremony, to
see the totality
of the factions and hundreds of people dressed within their style was really
Dauntless: The faction of fearless protectors that face challenges head on
are known as
the Dauntless. To display their mental toughness and readiness, technical and 3D
fabrics in the
darker shades of black, burgundy, rust and plum show off attention to detail and
"The Dauntless need something stronger than the other factions because they
city," explains Poggioli. "We didn't want to do a soldier uniform, Neil asked me
to go completely
away from the idea of a military society. We went with the dark colors, with
accent colors that
define their place in Dauntless. When our guys arrive to the Dauntless world,
orange to distinguish that there are new people arriving. The orange will help
the audience to
understand they're transfer people. Red details means Dauntless born. Four has
some details in
purple, meaning he is of a higher rank."
Shailene Woodley's costumes emphasize the big change her character goes
"The most important thing for the Abnegation is they do not show too much skin.
So, Beatrice is
covered at the beginning. The Dauntless are completely the opposite of the
Dauntless show a lot of skin. When Tris arrives in Dauntless, she has a
body. She starts the training and the fighting and her body transforms. The
costumes will help
her a lot. We start to discover her body, to see her shape. There's a big
"We had many, many fittings with all our actors, but especially with Tris and
made many different patterns for Tris because of the fact that she had to move
so much. We had
to respect what she had to do. We made 80% of the fabric for Dauntless. We used
fabric with some elastic in it. We used a combination of the 3D fabric, with the
fabric that we
made. We changed the fabric many, many times. At one point I had to ask the
Florence that were making the fabric for us, to make a special fabric just for
Tris because it was
impossible to find something that was nice on her, but at the same time
functional. We also
needed a lot of fabric."
"The audience will want to wear these pieces because we didn't go far," says
"The actors all said during the fittings that they loved the stuff that we made
and would wear
these pants and this jacket now. The 3D fabric they started to make only two
years ago. In
Dauntless, we have this new technical fabric. The challenge was to make
something futuristic but
something that you could believe and to wear today".
Members of the Dauntless faction wear tattoos. "Of course the tattoos have to
with the costumes. We knew that Tris had to show Jeanine the tattoo of the three
ravens on her
collarbone, so we made her shirts accordingly," says Poggioli. "For most of the
film, Four's back
tattoo teases at the neckline of his t-shirt. The proportion of Eric's shirt had
to show his forearm
tattoo. For Tori, her costumes had to show the tattoo on the back of her neck."
Makeup department head Brad Wilder oversaw the application of several
tattoos used on actors throughout production. "The hero tattoos were designed by
department, overseen by Andy Nicholson and approved by Neil. Once set, the
designs were sent
to a man named Rick Stratton in Los Angeles, who made the applications that my
team applied to
the actors on set. Rick also designed some of the hundreds of tattoos used on
artists," says Wilder.
Some Dauntless tattoos are rust color, some black, like Four's. "The
are referred to in the film as blood tattoos - in the movie a patch is placed
over the skin as if it's
drawing blood to the surface," explains Wilder.
The elaborate tattoo representing all of the factions on Four's back takes
artists three to four hours to apply to Theo James. "There are 40 separate
pieces that are applied
like a giant jigsaw puzzle, each piece numbered on a map," explains Wilder. "The
pieces are not
real durable and can rub off, especially with all the action, so sometimes we
have to touch them
up or re-apply pieces altogether."
"What I liked about the tattoo was its aggressiveness and masculinity, but
meaning. It wasn't just arbitrary symbols on someone's back. It felt like a tree
and there were
various influences, which I found quite interesting," says Theo James. "The
tattoo is a big part of
Four's identity, and mirrored in his mysterious nature. Through most of the
movie, you just see
this thing poking out the top of his neck, and wonder what it is and what it
means. Also, Four
doesn't dress like the others. He's not adorned with big neck tattoos and
piercings, so that also
adds to his level of mystery."
Erudite: Science, intellect and curiosity form the basis and foundation for
the faction of
Erudite. Shades of blues, stimulate the mind, sharp tailoring reminiscent of lab
coats and long
lines complete the look for this faction.
Poggioli says, "The color of Erudite costumes is suggested in the book, but
came from Neil to use a shape that looks like a scientist lab coat. That was a
very difficult concept
for me at the beginning because I thought they would look like too much uniform.
But Neil was
insistent and he was right and we made a variation of the lab coat. The lab coat
was the key of
the Erudite. There were variations - outside the school they're wearing a lab
coat that could be a
college coat. Also, we were not using all the same blue. All cold colors in
accent. That means
the blue. That means the green. That means the purple."
"Kate Winslet plays Jeanine, the head of Erudite. Her costumes are a little
from the others because she's allowed to wear some more green accent underneath.
has really three or four different things, but they look similar," adds Poggioli.
"When you look at
her she looks that she's wearing the same thing, but it is not. She has little
details, like the inside
of the collar of one coat is completely different from the other one. Also a
subtle change of the
color, smart and sharp tailoring."
Amity: With a faction filled with people who live the "joie de vivre," the
for Amity have an organic feel. Earth tones and natural fabrics with a sun
kissed pallet show off
these sexy hippy farmers.
"The book suggests red and yellow, but we preferred to go earth colors with
feel," comments Poggioli. "Amity was a big process. With only a few weeks before
were changing the colors. In fact, when the Amity costumes arrived in Chicago
from Europe, we
decided to re-dye everything. The Amity work in the fields, so let's try to find
some earth colors
that are more natural. They also have a different fabric from all the others,
they're wearing all
Candor: These truth tellers see the world in black and white and are not
afraid to be
honest and open when speaking their mind. Candor's clothing in black and white
"The Candor were the most difficult faction to design, because I started in
in a completely wrong direction," admits Poggioli. "I was thinking about
transparency and the
different shades of the glass. But it didn't work. In the movie, the interesting
thing about the
Candor costumes is their cut. If the base of the jacket is in black, the cut
underneath would be in
the opposite color white. Everything is in contrast. If they have the white
jacket, they have the
black pants. If they have the white vest, they have a black jacket. Only three
or four weeks
before shooting that we found the right way."
Factionless: Rejected from the rest of society, these deserters are surviving
they can and wherever they can. Wearing garb from their former factions, the
tattered faded rags
of colorless fabrics display their new identities.
"The idea for the factionless is the colors come from their old faction,
where they were
born or where they were refused," explains Poggioli. "Our factionless have
colors, and those colors are completely faded."
All of the costumes reflect the larger ideas of the Divergent world. "Chicago
is this walled
city and they don't have any resources from outside the city. They've recycled
it be raw materials or old clothing. Whatever it is, they've made it anew. The
movie's set in the
future, but it's not about futurism. It isn't about the latest technology. It's
very much about human
nature and I didn't want the costumes to take us away from that, by being so
exotic or sci-fi. The
clothing has a different feel, but you can still understand what it is, why
they'd be wearing it, and it
still looked good on them," comments Burger.
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