wardrobe mis­tress

Cos­tume de­signer Colleen At­wood talks about her gritty busi­ness and reimag­in­ing Alice in Won­der­land.

ELLE (Canada) - - Radar -

Peo­ple think this is a very glam­orous job,” says Os­car-win­ning cos­tume de­signer Colleen At­wood over the phone. “But it’s quite a gritty job, re­ally. Some­times you have to scrape dirt off peo­ple’s shoes, or if you’re do­ing, say, a movie with 300 peo­ple in ar­mour, you’re out there mak­ing sure th­ese sweat­ing bod­ies have all their stuff on the right way.”

At­wood, whose work you’ll rec­og­nize from Chicago, Ed­ward Scis­sorhands and a laun­dry list of other vis­ually stun­ning block­busters, also hates mood boards. “They make me crazy,” she says. “Our job is not just look­ing at pic­tures and pretty fab­rics.”

At­wood, 67, is the de­sign ge­nius be­hind this spring’s Alice Through the Look­ing Glass, a re­turn to the Won­der­land she outfitted (and for which she won an Academy Award) for the Tim Bur­ton-di­rected block­buster back in 2010. “This is re­ally an­other Alice,” she says about the se­quel. “It’s her down the road—I mean, she wasn’t a sea cap­tain in the last one.” And since the film is set a few years for­ward into the 1860s, it meant that At­wood got to tackle the bus­tle pe­riod of fash­ion when dress­ing “Alice,” played again by Mia Wasikowska. “I re­ally like the dress she wears in the party scene. I de­signed the em­broi­dery and the ma­te­rial. It ended up be­ing one of those con­cepts that turns out bet­ter than you ex­pected.”

This time around, At­wood was also tasked with cre­at­ing a look for a new char­ac­ter, played by Sacha Baron Co­hen. “It was tricky be­cause he’s called ‘Time,’ but he isn’t a clock,” she ex­plains. “I had to make him feel like he had el­e­ments of ‘clock­ness’ to him but not have him look like a cuckoo clock or some­thing strange like that.” Baron Co­hen loved it, says At­wood. “When the pieces came to­gether, it made us laugh, and Sacha was like, ‘Wow! You took all the things I thought and put them to­gether to make sense.’”

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