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Outfitting The Village
In 1897, it took five days to spin enough linen on a spinning wheel to make one shirt. Women and children typically did the spinning, and men would do the weaving on a loom. Men that were weavers could not do other laborious chores so their hands could stay soft and smooth. These are the kind of things that Oscar –winning costume designer Ann Roth ("Cold Mountain,” "English Patient”) and her team had to think about when designing and dressing "The Village.”

"I wanted the clothes in ‘The Village' to be a non-event, and I mean that in the most positive way. The costumes had to simply look as if the townspeople had made the clothes themselves. They didn't have access to fine laces or European textiles. That was a hard task to achieve,” say Roth.

In her initial discussions with Shyamalan, it was important to them both that the clothes be created either from materials available in "The Village” such as linen and wool, and also to mix in some cotton fabrics that would have been brought to "The Village” when it was first conceived.

"The people of ‘The Village' were not great dressmakers. I didn't want their clothes to be couture work. They live in the country, they work on farms and their clothes had to reflect their isolated and hardworking lifestyle,” continues Roth.

A number of different screen patterns were made by the costume department and then painted on to natural linen and then aged, or broken down. These screen patterns were made with simple techniques like potato carved stamps or gluing seeds on a roller being dipped in dye.

These patterns, many of which tie-in to a nature theme, are seen on the principal cast and the background players to give a feel of cohesiveness to "The Village” community. This continuity ties together the landscape and the costume into the beautiful symbiotic relationship that needs to coexist in order for an isolated village of this size to function. The costume department had to work with the type of natural dyes that would have been available drawn from plant life in "The Village.” Rusty and muddy browns, tans and beiges, moss greens were the predominant colors used in constructing the costumes. This color palette included muted colors with the exception of Bryce Dallas Howard's character seen in brilliant hues of blue and indigo to show off her vivacious and capable personality.

In addition to their everyday outfits, most people of the era had one Sunday best outfit. For women, when these dresses wore out they would then make them into a pinafore. Fabric was never wasted, even being used for curtains, house linens, or re-cut to make clothes for a child.

There is original antique vintage clothing featured in "The Village.” Roth hunted for such items in Italy, England, and Los Angeles as she prepped for "The Village.” It was difficult to find clothes specific to 1897. There is a large base of 1860's clothes because of the civil wars, and the 1900's are easy to find as well because the industrial revolution was beginning. The costume department integrated these pieces of authentic clothing with their own reproductions so that it melded into one costume that felt fresh yet period. Four staff seamstresses churned out costumes while a staff of three would take any costume for "The Village” and break it down to age it authentically with a worn in look.

Many of the accessories of the characters wardrobe were made from scratch by the costume department. All the shoes for "The Village” were handcrafted in Italy. Two hundred petticoats were made from fine cotton. Hats were handmade and were important to "The Village” as so many of the people worked outside in the elements.

Because the couple of hundred extras cast in "The Village” will be seen so often on camera throughout the<

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