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THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU

Wardrobe of the Film
To complement the carefully selected architecture within the world of The Adjustment Bureau, Nolfi knew that the agents' wardrobe should also visually set them apart from humans…without drawing too much attention to their presence. The director decided to express this mystical notion with the most unassuming of apparel: timeless suits and hats. In theory, agents of The Adjustment Bureau dress in clothing similar to the outfits worn by the humans that they shadow. Because David Norris is a wellheeled politician, the agents in his life mirror his more formal attire.

"The idea was to have great-looking suits and hats, but not to have them indicate any one specific time period,” says Hackett. "It could be '40s, it could be '30s and it could be today. There's something retro but also modern about them. It's evocative and adds to their otherworldly element without having them be exaggerated angels or demons with nonanthropo - morphic bodies.”

The powers of The Adjustment Bureau are a clever function that Nolfi instilled into his visual symbols: the ability of agents to travel through the fabric of the city under the radar and to adjust humans. "In order to use their higher powers, agents have to have a hat on,” Nolfi says. "Inside all the hats there is a power ranking; the higher-up executives have hats that allow them to use more power to influence humans.

"It also fits nicely with the architectural palette of the movie because there's this morphed combination of early 1900s New York architecture,” Nolfi adds. "In that period in men's dress, all men wore hats.”

To bring the director's vision of crisp, timeless suits and stylish, yet unassuming hats to life, costume designer Kasia Walicka Maimone was tapped to cull the looks from a much more dapper time. As Walicka Maimone remembers, few words were spoken between her and Nolfi when they first met, as they simply browsed and selected images from her inspiration boards, coming together on a vision for the costumes.

"I had plenty of photographs, so we could both find our visual language just by responding to those images. That's how we started building the vocabulary for the film,” she explains. "George was interested in portraying reality as it is—close to reality. All the characters were not completely real, but they had to be rooted in reality.”

For a timeless look that could be pulled off in the modern day, they began looking at 20th-century styles. "We looked at a lot of references from period clothing, beginning at about 1910, when men's contemporary clothing language was invented. All the suits are trim in fit, and we created this quiet palette of grays and dark greens, with streamlined silhouettes. We felt that for The Adjustment Bureau, all the guys needed to have that function of being able to blend in among the street crowd.”

For the suits to conform with the hats' nod to a higher power, Nolfi and Walicka Maimone considered what touches they could add. "We kept thinking, ‘What is the color that calls for all the powers that The Bureau is supposed to represent?' Intuitively, I thought it needed to be green, and that green needs to trickle down all through The Adjustment Bureau. It needed to stay within that quiet palette.”

However, the look of the agents also has an ominous and militaristic feel. Just as when one visits the inside of The Bureau, there is a clear, regimented order to how they operate. "The leading vocabulary for us was that The Adjustment Bureau has a military elegance: it's a streamlined, clean-lined; everything is pressed and strict,” Walicka Maimone explains. "As George referred many times, there is an underlying military-like structure in The Adjustment Bureau, and the ranks are clear.”

The costume team spent weeks researching uniforms of military forces from throughout history to find subtle inspiration for the agents' outfits, as well as for the more intimidating Intervention Team of The Bureau. "We knew that we were not going to be in the world of suits with the Intervention Team, because it would take us out of the vocabulary of the film of what needed to feel immediate and instantaneously threatening,” Walicka Maimone elaborates.

To customize each agent's suit, she used material details such as scarves and handkerchiefs. The team also took care to distress each individual agent's hat to give the appearance of a well-worn fedora that has withstood the test of time. The designer reflects: "There is the humanity factor that comes into each of the characters. So each character has slightly different versions of the outfit.” For the characters of David and Elise, Walicka Maimone developed wardrobes inspired by their professions.

In her mind, American poli ti - cians have their own uniform: "It was a clear vocabulary that we created for the world of David and the politicians around him: a dark navy suit with a solid tie, a con ser - va tive and classic suit. Navy blues, blues and khakis—that became the world of David.” Elise, however, comes from the opposite end of movement and expression. "She needed to have this dramatic contrast to the word of the politicians, of their super-structured uniform look,” the designer explains. To accentuate Elise's fun and free attitude, Walicka Maimone relied on vintage dresses with modern touches and added additional expression through color.

To create Elise's costumes for her dance pieces, Walicka Maimone worked directly with the Cedar Lake company. The opportunity was exciting for the designer, who views Cedar Lake as "rebels of the ballet world,” with an urban, street sensibility to their style. "That process was fun because we knew that we wanted to acknowledge the vocabulary of that con - temporary dance company,” says Walicka Maimone. "We collaborated with Swan and with George to create this flow, but at the same time, hard-edge, modern, sculptural look for the company.”

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