Into The Woods Interview: Costume Designer Colleen Atwood

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Colleen Atwood Into the Woods InterviewAs part of our #IntoTheWoodsEvent media trip to LA, we had the amazing pleasure to meet with some of the biggest names from the film for exclusive group interviews! Our final interview of the day was with costume designer and 3-time Oscar winner Colleen Atwood!

Colleen Atwood Into The Woods CostumesCredit: The Hollywood Reporter

In addition to the beautiful scenes, music, and great actors in Into The Woods, there are also fabulous costumes thanks to the work of costuming genius Colleen Atwood. Here’s hoping she can take home Oscar #4 for Into The Woods. What’s especially interesting about the costumes in Into The Woods is you have so much variety– some amazing simple peasant-type pieces, elegant princess dresses, and then witch costumes! Here’s a fun featurette with all about the costuming!

When asked about her favorite costume from the film, Colleen said that’s a little bit like asking about “your favorite child” and you can’t really pick. But, understandably, she did love Meryl’s costume “because of the textile art that was involved in it”. Meryl’s costume for the second-half of the movie really is just stunning. Here’s an original sketch of it: into-the-woods-Witch_OpenNeckR1016It was important that the look was blue too! Not only was it the “blue moon” in the storyline, but as Colleen explained, the blue was really necessary to avoid everything blending together.

When you’re doing a film with a lot of dark and you’re using black, it’s really easy for the black to just turn into a flat blob with the digital photography and the lighting. I put color behind it to make it not just a dead black thing and the blue kind of came forward. And it felt good with the night sky and sort of the elements of witchery that went with her”

Into The Woods Blue Witch CostumeLove it! Doesn’t it look just perfect on Meryl?! Colleen had lovely things to say about her (which is no surprise after meeting her).

The other costumes are amazing though too, even the more “simple” ones, like for the Baker and his wife. In fact, Colleen describes their costumes as a little more challenging just because they needed an almost iconic look.

Well in a movie like this where you not only have simple costumes but you really only have two costume changes at the most for most of the characters, some not even that, that, that you want to make a costume that’s an iconic costume that defines who the baker and his wife are right away.

Into the Woods Exclusive InterviewSo, she said she used “Victorian meets fairy tales of the twenties, sort of shapes and things” as inspiration for their costumes. Plus, given the fact that they had to work for them and do a lot of stuff in them, a lot of earth-like fabrics were used (mole skin, linens, etc).  James Corden & Emily Blunt Into the WoodsA joke was also made about how Emily Blunt’s costume (the Baker’s Wife) evolved the most from original concept throughout the film…because she was pregnant! 😉 So, that presented the challenge of constantly modifying the costume that she’s seen in throughout the film. Colleen said she used “tricks of the trade” like raising the button on the jacket and making the sides darker and darker to help hide it. Wicked Stepsisters Into the WoodsWe talked a bit how she had fun with the wicked stepsisters (and stepmother) costumes – going for a sort of farcical, eighteenth century feel. They were over-the-top in a completely appropriate inappropriate way! And Cinderella’s costumes were just perfect (and different than you might expect). Into The Woods CinderellaShe explained that in the early Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Cinderella’s shoes are gold, not glass. So, that’s where that aspect comes from. Then, I LOVED the way that Colleen describes the look & fabric she wanted for Cinderella’s dress! “I wanted it to be when it went through the forest kind of like a butterfly wing, like when you see a butterfly in the light and it goes in the dark and you don’t see it. ” Johnny Depp in Into the WoodsI truly can’t imagine designing all of these different costumes – the artistry, the creativity, the vision. The costumes are SUCH an integral part to any movie! And, Colleen is just clearly brilliant at this. So, as a mom who likes to make costumes for my kids, I HAD to know if she made costumes for her own kids! So, that’s the question I asked! It should come as no surprise that Halloween is her favorite holiday and she loves seeing what costumes people make for their kids. She said in the early Halloween days, she did make costumes (one was a cute pumpkin costume that her daughter HATED, ha! :)). But after a while, she said her daughter “was a was total victim of the store bought costume, so it was kind of embarrassing really”. So funny – we all erupted into laughter! That was NOT the answer I was expecting and I love it. So moms….don’t feel bad if you go the store bought route! 😉

If you haven’t seen Into The Woods yet, make a date to go this weekend!! Here’s hoping it gets some Academy Award nomations…fingers crossed for Colleen! For more, be sure to read our Into the Woods Movie Review and check out our interviews with Meryl Streep, Tracey Ullman, and Christine Baransk; Emily Blunt & James Corden; and Rob Marshall & Anna Kendrick…and  follow the film’s social channels:

Like INTO THE WOODS on Facebook

Follow INTO THE WOODS on Twitter: @IntoTheWoods

Follow INTO THE WOODS on Tumblr:

Dis­clo­sure: Dis­ney provided me with an all expenses paid trip to the Hol­ly­wood pre­miere for the purposes of this coverage. As always,  all opin­ions, expe­ri­ences, and love of Dis­ney are entirely my own!

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I’m Sara, a mom to three adorable boys living in the Arizona desert. As a former teacher, I love sharing my passions with others. So, have a look around for creative inspiration about cooking, creating, celebrating, traveling with kids, and more everyday mom endeavors!


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