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Wardrobe And Makeup
"Every movie has its challenges,” says two-time Academy Award®-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood, "and this one is the two worlds—the world that Alice falls into and the so-called real world, up above—and figuring out how they're different and how they're similar. When you look at the original books, there really aren't many clothes. The Hatter's hat is similar to the early illustrations, but the rest of our wardrobe is all new.”

Atwood first worked with Burton on "Edward Scissorhands” and subsequently provided the costumes for "Ed Wood,” "Mars Attacks!,” "Sleepy Hollow,” "Planet of the Apes,” "Big Fish” and "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.”

"For the real world, we went more classical with Alice, in the sense we did a version of her in the blue dress,” says the costume designer. "We played around with other colors but came back to blue because it seemed the right thing and it also looked really pretty on Mia. It was her color. Then, as the story progresses, Alice gets clothes made out of different elements of the world she's in. She shrinks and grows and loses her original dress and ends up in her under-dress, which shrinks and grows.”

"I start off in the classic blue dress, of course, for the garden party,” says Mia Wasikowska who portrays Alice in the film. "When I shrink for the first time, I tie an undergarment around my waist. And then at the tea party when I shrink again, the Hatter makes me a little six-inch dress from the undergarment. At the Red Queen's castle when I grow, the Red Queen makes me a dress out of curtains, which is this big, extravagant, puffy red dress. Not only am I eight feet tall, but I have a dress that spans almost as wide. It's pretty funny.”

Those various changes in size were a major challenge for Atwood, particularly since Burton wanted to shoot them in as real a way as possible. "We had to really think out how all that worked together,” she says, "and make different scales of fabric to make it work with the shrinking and growing of Alice. If she's small, stripes have to be bigger. If she's large, they have to be smaller.”

In designing the Hatter's costume, Atwood began, unsurprisingly, with his hat. "The hat's based on a real hat shape of the period. It's just exaggerated and stretched out. I found this leather in Italy that was laser-cut in a weird pattern that looked like it had been burnt, just by chance, and I said, ‘Oh, the Hat could be made out of this stuff,' and then I had it made by a milliner in London who's a great hat maker.”

Atwood first met Depp on "Edward Scissorhands.” The pair has worked together many times. "As a costume designer, there's nothing quite like working with Johnny,” she says. "First of all, he's a very generous artist and he brings a lot to everything. He has a great sense of play. He knows how to wear clothes in a very special way.”

"Clothes are the shell of the character, a first, major step to seeing how the guy behaves, moves,” Depp explains. "Colleen has always been incredible with that kind of thing. She thinks like the character, and finds his outer skin.”

Together with Depp, she began to formulate the Hatter's look. "We started playing around with who the Hatter was,” Atwood notes. "Every time Johnny and I hooked up, he took it to another place. We kept pushing it. We talked about him having all the tools of his trade apparent, so they aren't just on a shelf but part of his costume. So he's got his thimbles and his pincushion ring. All these things help make the Hatter otherworldly and magical, but still real, in a sense.”

One of Depp's early ideas for the Hatter was that his clothes would change color depending on the character's mood. "When I mentioned the idea of mood clothing, she went crazy for it,” he recalls. "She started immediately building all t

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