About The Costumes...And The Red Dress
Since she first appeared in comic strips over 80 years ago, Annie has worn the
red dress with the white collar. However iconic the image is, it's simply not a
dress that today's 11-year-old street-smart New Yorker would be caught dead in.
So, costume designer Renee Ehrlich Kalfus, working with director Will Gluck,
took a more realistic approach, dressing Quvenzhane Wallis' Annie in the
clothing that a contemporary kid in today's New York City might wear.
"Annie doesn't have much - all of her belongings fit into a backpack," says
Kalfus. "She's a clever city kid who knows her way around. She expresses herself
with the same cleverness in her clothes. She's like a magpie; she'll find
something she likes, and sew it on a jacket."
"When you have four or five foster kids together, everyone's trying to claim
their own style," Kalfus continues. "Clothing is how they identify themselves as
separate characters. To achieve this, they fight to make their own clothing
Kalfus avoided the color red in Annie's wardrobe palette - until the film pays
homage to that red dress at a very specific moment. Once Annie has become
ensconced in Stacks' home, he gives her the red dress to wear at a black tie
event at the Guggenheim Museum. Kalfus designed that very special dress, in
Annie's iconic red, for the transitional moment, when Annie takes center stage
and sings a new song, "Opportunity," in front of an audience of well-heeled New
"I spent some time figuring out the best red and the best satin fabric that
would be good on camera," she says. "I feel I gave a nod to old Hollywood
glamour and made a couture piece that a contemporary young girl might long for."
Kalfus's design is classic, with a full knee-length skirt, a crinoline
underskirt and a large satin bow at the left waist.
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