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KINGDOM OF HEAVEN

Wardrobe and Weapons
Costume designer Janty Yates also did extensive research on the period to create the costumes for the diverse company of players in Kingdom of Heaven, some of which represented a blending of West and East. As she notes, "You need to know everything about every single tiny Saracen bootstrap. And we had to make five thousand of them.”

Yates began her journey at the British Museum, at other museums and libraries in the UK, at Leeds Armory, and at the Salle de Crusades in Versailles, where she found a priceless touchstone for her work on the film. "Just as we were leaving, having fought to get in there, I noticed there were family crests all around the room, framing the pictures,” she recalls. "I begged for more time, ran around, and found Balian of Ibelin's 1180 crest, which we didn't know even existed. We thought we were going to have to invent it. That's what research is all about.”

For Yates, who previously worked with Scott on Gladiator, the joy of a production is working with the actors to create character through costume. One of the most important aspects of costuming this cast was color, particularly of the garments identifying different military allegiances. "All our knights are in different tabards according to their heritage,” she explains. "When I found the crest of Ibelin, we noticed that it was burgundy and gold, and we translated that into burgundy and sand for the Ibelin livery. The Army of Jerusalem is entirely in cornflower blue, so the king also wears cornflower blue, with gold. Jeremy Irons, who is marshal of Jerusalem, is in cornflower blue. So is Marton Csokas, who plays Guy De Lusignan. The blue is a very strong color. For the Saracen army, we went with a palette of reds and sand and ambers and golds to denote the desert environment. For Saladin, though, we stayed with silver and gold and black.”

As Eva Green is the only woman in a leading role, Yates took special care with her costumes. "I had great fun creating her 28 outfits,” she recalls. "Her riding outfits are something to behold. I had a lot of silks embroidered in India, so her cloaks flow. She wears harem pants and boots I had made for her in Rome. And her dinner outfits are stunning. She's drenched in pearls. Everything's jeweled and embroidered by hand in India. I had turbans made for her, embroidered with jewels and pearls and veils.”

Yates and her team created approximately 15,000 costumes worn by actors and extras in the intense conditions of the Moroccan desert. "Our biggest extra day would be about two thousand,” as she describes it. "First you'll get one group fitted, then you have to have extra costumes to fit the next bunch, and the next bunch. And the stunt people all have seven costumes each.”

Fabrics were brought in from India, Italy, Thailand, France, and the UK. Each costume had thirteen to fifteen components: jacket, shirts, pants, tabards, multiple pieces of chainmail, helmets, boots, gloves, cloaks, scabbards, and sword belts. The chainmail was made by WETA Workshop of New Zealand, which had perfected the craft for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. "It's so light it could float away, and it looks so realistic,” Yates declares. "All our helmets are made of rubber, so they're very light. Everything has been made for the utmost comfort of our actors, and our extras as well.”

Yates, along with her team of 40 to 80 costumers based in Spain and Morocco, ran her operation much like a military campaign. As the production moved from location to location, she created "costume villages” to wash, break down, distress, make, and fit the various costumes.

Weapons master Simon Atherton was charged with creating tens of thousands of weapons, but two swords were of special significance: Godfrey's sword, which is inherited by his son, Balian; and Saladin's sword. "The hardest thing to make on Godfrey's sword was the scabbard and the belt,” says Atherton. "I created the handl

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