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Dressing The Cast
Facing challenges every bit as demanding as those confronting production designer Max was another of Scott's frequent collaborators, Academy Award®-winning costume designer Janty Yates. "There's a shorthand between Ridley and I now that is great,” she says, "and with every film I do with him I learn more about his genius, his vision and his creativity.”

Yates' work underscores Scott's authentic take on the Robin Hood story, turning the conventional, rather lyrical image of the icon on its head, and instead emphasizing the hero as a man at war. Crowe is seen at first as a bowman in Richard's army, wearing leather trousers and a lamellar breastplate adorning his chest. This piece is understood to be a family heirloom, which bears the symbols of the Forest Charter.

"When he takes the guise of Loxley,” explains Yates, "he's resplendent in Loxley's chain mail, crest, tabard and cloak. When he gets to Nottingham, we actually had a free reign because he could have raided Loxley's cupboards and he could have put on anything. But Russell wears blue very well, and we've got a great, skirted tunic that he wears in grey and blue suede. We thought that in those days people didn't really change their clothes very much, so that became his civilian wear for most of the time.”

The costumes proved to be both functional, as well as authentic, as Mark Strong recalls: "Every detail has been meticulously observed, and the authenticity helps. The chain mail actually protected you, should somebody accidentally get one of the moves wrong and clout you with a sword. The weight of it ensured you understood quite how strong the men were, and so helped you carry yourself as a knight would have at the time.”

From the long scarves and flowing outfits created for Lady Marion by Yates, Blanchett was quite impressed with her designer. "It's the second time I've had the pleasure of working with Janty. Her detail and restraint are exquisite. She is simultaneously able to be faithful to an era whilst making you feel you are seeing the clothes and silhouettes for the first time.”

The astounding attention to detail in the costumes is equally as important as the set dressing, and its importance should not be underestimated. Remarks Yates: "The painterly textured quality Ridley demands gives the film an added dimension, and the costumes contribute greatly to creating that texture.”

The designer began the process of designing Robin Hood's costumes in Italy, where she bought "a million miles of fabric”—from leathers to linens and silk. She says: "Ridley has always loved silks that can actually bounce the light, or that reflect the light. We use those enormously in our costumes, more for the royals, obviously. But he also is passionate about the earthiness of linens and likes Matka silk, which is the very rough, gnarly silk that looks like it's been handwoven in the Afghan hills. He loves texture— anything that looks as if it is 100 years old and gives atmosphere. The one juxtaposes the other, which is perfect for this film because we do have that great separation between the peasantry and the royals.”

Returning with Scott to the same period as an earlier collaborative effort between the two, Yates explains: "This is the same time frame as Kingdom of Heaven, more or less, but we only did military costumes for that film, with the exception of a few royals. Here, we have a greater range of characters to cover, and we have worked more with the shapes from that period.”

Simple t-shaped garments, while true to the period, are not hugely flattering on screen, relates Yates. "We have cheated there quite a bit. While we have kept everything as close as possible to the period, we have tried to accentuate the shape of each actor, as well as the character that they're portraying. They


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