Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) in her wedding dress from "Hunger Games: Catching Fire" - Photo Credit: Murray Close/ Lionsgate


“Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

November 22, 2013

Costume Designer Trish Summerville knows that it’s an extra challenge to create costumes for a film based on a beloved book. The otherworldly wardrobe for “Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” the second installment of the wildly popular young-adult fiction trilogy, had Summerville blazing new trails to please even the most die-hard fans.

With hundreds of extras, a large cast and locations in Hawaii and Georgia, Summerville can’t count exactly how many costumes she built, borrowed or rented for “Catching Fire.” Yet the story of Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark is, in essence, a love story, which demands a wedding gown like no other.

Wearing the dress during an interview, Katniss begins to twirl and the white dress begins to catch fire, transforming into an enormous, winged, black gown.

Though many names and sources were suggested for the pivotal wedding dress, Summerville had a relative unknown in mind, Jakartan designer Tex Saverio, who has collaborated with Lady Gaga.

“He does couture pieces and extreme details and very ornate gowns,” she said. “I’ve followed him for a while, but couldn’t figure out where I’d use him.” After several conversations, the designers’ vision for the dress began to take shape.
“I had an illustrator working on the dress and sketching how we wanted the dress to look,” she said. “Then {Saverio} would sketch and Skype me his sketches. We wanted to be respectful of his ideas because it is a collaboration, but I also had to tell him how I had to have the dress perform.”

Saverio’s signature metal work shows up in the bodice, which is enclosed in a silvery, wing-like cage that extends well beyond the delicate shoulders of actress Jennifer Lawrence. Rows of ruffled laser-cut taffeta and organza create a feeling of feathers as they encircle the enormous skirt, while Swarovski crystals give the bodice dimension.

For a test fitting on Lawrence, Saverio and his business partner flew to the Atlanta set, equipped with extra materials for every element of the dress—from rhinestones to ruffles.

“The dress was so massive, we had to put it on a dress form and a riser and put it on top of a table to work from beneath it. There were so many layers,” Summerville said.

In the film, Katniss wears the dress on stage and as she begins to pivot in it, flames start to burn it away, revealing the black mocking jay gown. To create the bird-like feeling of that costume, Summerville incorporated multiple construction techniques, including a 12-gore skirt with six layers of various silks, each a different print or texture.

To create the custom feather print for the bodice, Summerville worked with an illustrator who arranged real feathers to cast the print, which was applied individually to cut pattern pieces. The back of the gown is printed to resemble a bird’s folded wings at rest.

Members from multiple departments provided input so that when the gown appears to burn, it looks convincing and astonishing from every angle.

The costumes have generated so much pre-release buzz, that Lionsgate approached the designer to create a capsule collection for online retailer Net-a-Porter. The result is the Capitol Collection, which features several looks inspired by the film, but, sadly, no wedding gowns.

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