SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN
Capes and Battle Gear
Snow White and the Huntsman
Sanders and his producers carefully handpicked
an outstanding team of creative department heads,
all selected for their level of expert craftsmanship.
An Academy AwardÂ® winner for Alice in Wonderland,
Chicago and Memoirs of a Geisha, visionary costume
designer Colleen Atwood was given the challenge of
presenting the characters to modern audiences through
astonishingly intricate and
carefully assembled designs.
The designer was a longtime
collaborator of Sanders'
on his advertisement
the director: "Colleen Atwood
is far more experienced than
any of us put together, and I've
worked with her for a number
of years on commercials. It was
amazing when she said she's
do it, because the wardrobe is
so important to this film. If it
isn't fantastical enough-but
also realistic enough-then
it doesn't help the characters get into their world, and
that would be a real downfall. Her wardrobes blend
seamlessly into this world, and they speak volumes
about the world and the characters."
Symbolism was crucial to Sanders' telling of this
story, and Atwood translated his vision gorgeously. For
example, Magnus' coat of arms is emblematic of his
reign as a good and benevolent ruler during a time in
which the kingdom prospered. It was fruitful and alive,
and the crest symbolizes peace. The apple on it is an
iconic part of the Brothers Grimm's Snow White story,
and the apple tree is an integral part of the film that is
Atwood starts every film with research via the usual
mediums, but she fancies museums in particular to
inspire her. Based in London, the Wallace Collection,
home to one of Europe's finest collections of arms and
armor (besides the art, furniture and porcelain), was of
enormous help to her. Her travels also took her abroad to
Istanbul. She explains: "I spent a couple of days buying
fabrics and bits and pieces. It helped me to pull the look
of the movie together, and everything that I bought
there I used in a relevant way. I still needed hundreds
of units of manufactured materials, but it was such a
great marketplace for handmade materials. It was very
useful for inspiration, and a place to find materials like
beautiful woven wool dyed with natural fibers."
She was excited to work with Sanders on his featurefilm
debut, and she knew she could honor the audience's
shared memories of the lead character while still telling
her own version of the tale. "Snow White was one of the
first movies I saw when I was a child," recalls Atwood.
"There were certain things that were magical about the
Disney character, and I loved the way she was dressed,
but our character could hardly be dressed in red, blue
As Stewart's Snow White is a very physically
active character, Atwood designed a modern-looking
costume that is customized at various stages of the
story. "The outfit Snow White wears for a majority
of the movie is made from beautiful green suede that
perfectly complemented Kristen's eye color. The dress
has several layers including legging pants underneath to
allow the character to be active and not have us worry
about constantly readjusting costumes and stapling
skirts to boots," says Atwood. "The dress starts long,
but she eventually gets a makeover from the Huntsman
during their travels. Then we reveal a shorter version of
her dress with the leggings, which will hopefully appeal
to the girls today, but still stay viable within the realm
of the story."
Toward the end of her journey, Snow White goes to
battle to fight for her people's future. As her character
changes, so does her costume. To accommodate,
Atwood designed a suit of armor suitable for Stewart
to wear on horseback and in battle. "When Snow White
goes into battle, she doesn't have time to assemble the
proper armor," comments Atwood. "So we took different
elements of armor to compile an outfit made to look
like she was armored." She adds: "It's not supposed
to look like a slick, pulled-together suit. She can ride
and fight in it, but there are very subtle clues that tell
the audience that it has been thrown together in haste.
There are leg pieces missing and the whole costume is
For the award winner, Snow White's costumes
were enjoyable to create. She reflects: "I have a
daughter about Kristen's age, and I wanted to design
something that would connect with her age group. I
do a lot of period and fantasy work, but I love young
The Huntsman basically stays in one outfit for the
duration of the story, and all of his garments are made of
rough organic materials that a hunter of his station would
wear. For the character, Atwood drew her inspiration
from what would have been his natural surroundings:
the great outdoors. Referencing shapes and fabrics from
medieval times, Atwood's crew sewed together smaller
pieces of animal skins. "He has a lot of layers to his
clothing," she says. "Everything had to be useful to him.
For example, his big, heavy coat could also be used as a
blanket to sleep on."
The Huntsman couldn't live up to his name without
his signature use of weapons. He carries a double-axe rig
and a belt that holds his array of knives. Atwood needed
to design the axe rig on his back to enable him to grab
his weapons quickly. Her team eventually settled on a
rig that used magnets to secure the axes to the harness,
allowing Hemsworth to access them with ease and speed.
After a good deal of training with stunt coordinator BEN
COOKE, the actor was ready to go.
The most ornate wardrobe does, of course, belong
to Ravenna. While Magnus was a good king who ruled
over a prosperous land, his murderess does the opposite.
Naturally, that cruelty would be reflected in her heraldry.
Ravenna's crest symbolizes the dark hold over a land that
was once fruitful. The tree in her emblem is dead and
blackened and bears no fruit.
Atwood and her team had their skilled hands full.
"Designing for a character like Ravenna is the film
equivalent of couture costume," she reflects. "Making
costumes for someone who is six-feet tall is just awesome,
but you can't have a character like Ravenna without
having an actress like Charlize Theron
to work the costume. There's a lot of
costume, and it could be overwhelming
to some actresses."
Through Ravenna, Atwood tried to
personify evil in a different way: one
that also showed a bit of vulnerability.
Ravenna wears 12 major costumes
within the story, each one handmade and
requiring hundreds of hours of labor. To
prepare, Atwood discussed the character
with Theron at length. The designer
says: "She also wanted to have a bit of
fun with and not be too strapped in to the
clichĂ© of what the evil Queen was. We wanted her to be
a person too. She had royal duties and has some feelings
and background about where she came from, but as the
story progresses, so does her madness. Her world is
crumbling, and as her madness inhabits her, I started to
change the materials and the feeling of her clothes. In
the beginning, her costumes have a real shape to them,
but as we go on, they get more spectral and buglike.
my metamorphosis for her."
A consumer of young maidens' youth, Ravenna steals
her beauty from anything and everything around her.
Once that feast is over, her world begins to deteriorate.
"When the gold dress and cape transform, we see
the transition of Ravenna's beauty," shares Atwood.
"Ravenna takes her beauty, but Snow White's beauty is
internal and owned, so you see it grow throughout the
story. That's the allegorical contrast between
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