Legendary costumer Colleen Atwood has dressed Hollywood’s A-listers for decades. A favorite of Tim Burton and Rob Marshall, the Oscar-winning designer is stepping out of the wardrobe trailer and onto HSN with a capsule collection inspired by her work in the upcoming film, “Snow White and Huntsman.” Glam got to chat with the costuming extraordinaire about the capsule collection, the intricacies of fitting for a fairytale, and the possibility of her own line.
Where did the Snow White and the Huntsman collection for HSN come from?
HSN was joining with Universal to [promote] the movie, and I had never really done anything like this. They approached me, and I was like “That could be fun, I’ve never done it.” And they were very supportive and helpful, and it’s been a great ride for me.
What aspects of the film did you incorporate into the collection?
Well, they’re kind of modern takes on medieval silhouettes. The little sparkly one is medieval, kind of middle-class, kind of peasant would wear, but with a big skirt. But I thought it would be fun sort of doing it as a little dress or as a little bathing suit cover-up idea. A lot of medieval things had lacing up the side of the sleeve, so that was the inspiration for the top. I just wanted to do one dress that could kind of work on any body and be kind of chic, and still simple and affordable. The buckle details are like medieval-y, like armor buckles. So I used elements of medieval things on contemporary sort of shapes. But a lot of medieval design is very modern, in a way. It was really simple.
Do you a favorite piece from your collection?
There’s a kind of blue smock-dress I like. It’s actually the first time I’ve seen it on a model because it happened so fast that I didn’t have a lot of time to like tweak it, which I’m used to. So it’s kind of like, “Oh, there it is!” So, I think different things will appeal to different people, hopefully, and people have fun with it…do their thing with it.
How was it working on a film of this scope?
It was busy working on the film! I manufactured over 2,000 costumes for the movie. It was a lot of work and a different variety of things, but it was a great experience.
What are some of the defining designs between the Evil Queen and Snow White?
Well, they’re two different people. Kristen’s a princess in captivity who’s sort of given the clothes of the people [as she] escapes, and her costume goes through a lot of transitions. It gets torn up and she goes into leggings, and it’s really an action-oriented costume, but still feminine and pretty. And Kristen’s evolution is a little bit different – she comes unwound in a different way, because she starts kind of, with the pure idea of being a queen and with a lighter feeling, but she’s destined to come apart. So as the story progresses, her clothes get darker and more, kind of, like sadder in a way until the end where she armors back up for a big battle scene at the end. So they had similar arcs, but in totally different kinds of economical levels.
Which of the costumes was the most complex to complete?
Well, there are different kinds of complexity. Like the armor in the film that we designed and made is very complex because you make it from a maquette to a full size sculpt to a mold, so it’s a different kind of manufacturing and you figure out how it works for action, and make it in 2 or 3 different materials, so it’s quite complicated. And helmets are very difficult to make. Of the different costumes in the movie, it’s just the manufacturing level of Charlize’s costume is the equivalent of a modern couture dress. They’re all hand-made by a room full of women that sew them very lovingly. And some of them, I need 3 or 4 of, so I do less handwork on, but a lot of them, it’s all handwork. So it’s quite rewarding because it’s great to see the craft. All the great people that still have that ability [are still] out there doing the work.
Do you think this capsule collection may be the next step towards having your own ready-to-wear line?
That’s kind of the idea. I’d love to have a ready-to-wear line and kind of do it seasonally or something. But we’ll just see what happens. It’s a different thing, so I don’t want to give up what I do to do that. I don’t want it to be an either/or, but it could be fun to do a spin-off line.
The Atwood by Colleen Atwood “Snow White and the Huntsman” Collection is available at HSN.com for $39.90-$149.90.