Okay, I have a passion for fashion, and I’m not even sorry.
So now that’s out of the way, I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss two of the biggest style headlines (well, in my opinion, at least) that will surely have fellow fashionistas like myself to be excited in the upcoming fall season.
First off, the most anticipated follow-up to “The Hunger Games” has provided a sartorial teaser for fans of the blockbuster film franchise. As a dedicated cinephile, costume design is one of the crucial aspects that I always look forward to for any movie that requires a particular aesthetic, and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” is no exception.
Having seen the first film, I practically swooned on how the filmmakers envisioned the post-apocalyptic world of Panem, particularly with the eccentrically-dressed citizens of the Capitol. For the second outing of Katniss Everdeen and company, the marketing and PR team of the film is taking a page out of the fashion season book by giving fans a preview of what to expect for the “Catching Fire” screen adaptation that will be released during the autumn months (November 2013, to be precise).
Presented as a series of “painted” studio portraits of several key characters in the Hunger Games universe, the collection is indeed quite fashion-forward and very indicative of a fall aesthetic appropriate within the setting of the Capitol and the neighboring Districts of Panem. The character portraits were slowly trickled out over the course of several days, and I have to say that individually and as a whole, the Hunger Games Capitol Couture collection is absolutely compelling.
Masterminded by the film’s chief costume designer, Trish Summerville, the eleven characters are styled beautifully in garments that suit their personalities and the themes that underscore the world of the Capitol. The eleven featured ensembles have strong (and in some cases, clear) influences to the designs of Prada, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Calvin Klein, Gareth Pugh, Comme Des Garçons, Maison Martin Margiela, and of course, Alexander McQueen.
The high-fashion labels I have mentioned have a certain visual look to their designs—avant-garde, transgressive, unconventional, finely detailed—that would not be out of place in a fictional universe like Panem. I certainly commend Trish Summerville for taking such a fashion risk and having it paid off nicely for a unique marketing campaign, and this makes me even more excited about having to see “Catching Fire” once it hits my local movie theater so I can see if she has dressed the film in a similar manner as the Capitol Couture portraits.
Check out the full Hunger Games Capitol Couture collection below with my brief commentary on each character’s look, and see which ones you like best.
The first portrait to be released features the eccentric Capitol tribute escort, Effie Trinket, wearing a look straight out of the Autumn/Winter 2012 collection of Alexander McQueen. Even without sporting those sleek mirrored visors seen on the runway show, Effie looks absolutely stunning in this hot pink explosion of ruffles with matching heelless shoes, and this is easily my favorite out of the entire collection.
The flamboyant talk show host of the Capitol—Caesar Flickerman—is every inch the fashion plate ready for his camera close-up in a sleek black suit. The gold accents in the boots and shawl collar of his jacket are just divine and could either be Gucci, Tom Ford, or Versace in terms of design. The look clashes gorgeously with his light lavender hair styled in a high pompadour front with a ponytailed back.
District 12’s former Hunger Games champion—Haymitch Abernathy—is still his scruffy and devil-may-care self with his long blond surfer hair. But the alcohol-swilling mentor to Katniss and Peeta gets a style upgrade for his portrait sitting clad in sleek trousers, simple shoes, and offset with a striking ombré suit jacket. Not gonna lie—I definitely want that jacket because it is seriously totes amaze!
In the world of the Capitol, Cinna is something of a fashion rebel. Where the citizens go full-on over-the-top with color and proportions in their garments, Cinna goes against the grain (perhaps the Capitol’s version of a hipster?) by simply dressing in black. His portrait is no exception, with his black leather rockstar ensemble that references the experimental work of Gareth Pugh and Maison Martin Margiela.
A former victor hailing from District 3, the tech-savvy Beetee is looking absolutely fresh and fly with a post-apocalyptic take on nerd chic for his Capitol Couture portrait. The matching shades of emerald seen on his waistcoat, shirt, and skintight trousers are quite fetching on his compact frame. The white rose and his glasses lends a certain quirkiness to his otherwise serious portrait posture.
Katniss meets her ferocious match and unlikely ally for “Catching Fire” in the form of Johanna Mason, a former Hunger Games victor from District 7. Clad in a warm beige evening gown of shredded silk chiffon and organza, Johanna sits with a fierce and controlled poise evident in her facial expression and ramrod-straight posture that brings out the tough severity of the dress despite its froufrou design.
Arguably the centerpiece of the Capitol Couture collection, District 12’s steadfast heroine Katniss Everdeen is ravishing and resplendent in a McQueen-esque creation by Indonesian fashion designer, Tex Saveiro. Revealed by Trish Summerville to be the wedding dress of Katniss in the Hunger Games universe, the gown is equal parts symbolic and fitting of her status as a catalyst for a Panem rebellion.
If Katniss is sporting her wedding dress in her Capitol Couture portrait, then it stands to follow that her fellow Hunger Games victor and romantic interest, Peeta Mellark, is also dressed for the occasion. With a clean and tailored look, Peeta’s all-white ensemble calls to mind the linear simplicity and minimalism of Calvin Klein with just a hint of Lanvin for the unexpected touch of eccentricity shown on his jacket lapels.
Bringing the industrial rusticity of District 12 and giving it a sartorial touch for a Capitol Couture portrait is Gale Hawthorne. With a fuss-free approach to his sitting, Gale sports a casual sportswear ensemble of a button-down shirt with rolled-up sleeves, and paired with tailored pants and lace-up shoes. Calling to mind the looks of Ralph Lauren or Burberry Prorsum, Gale scores major style points for this one.
Heavily influenced by the seafaring industry of District 4, previous Hunger Games victor Finnick Odair channels a dashing and swashbuckling post-apocalyptic pirate for his Capitol Couture portrait sitting. Echoing the multicultural aesthetics of Jean-Paul Gaultier with some Dolce & Gabbana thrown in for good measure, Finnick will certainly have no problem winning over the style mavens of the Capitol.
Closing out the portrait series of the Capitol Couture fall collection is none other than the Capitol’s imposing authority figure—President Coriolanus Snow. With a severity to his look that is reminiscent of Prada and Comme Des Garçons, President Snow instantly commands attention to his portrait with a regal bearing and dictatorial aura that matches well with his exquisitely tailored coat and trousers.
And here’s a special bonus! A publicity image released prior to the Capitol Couture portrait series shows Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark promoting the couple’s requisite Victory Tour around the Districts of Panem. In a fashion advertising context, this could easily stand as an ad for Calvin Klein, Jil Sander, Balenciaga, Lanvin, Prada, or even Lacoste due to its clinical and minimalist approach. Kudos once again to the marketing team and costume supervisor Trish Summerville for executing a stylish marketing campaign for “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” movie.
Meanwhile, the other fashion story I’d like to share concerns the stunning collection that was the highlight for A/W 2013 Paris Fashion Week.
With the birth of her twins preventing her from showing the customary showstopping runway show that fashion insiders and fanatics have come to expect every Paris Fashion Week, Sarah Burton instead opted for the less-is-more approach; proving that even motherhood cannot stop her unbridled show of creativity at Alexander McQueen.
The exclusive and intimate presentation held at the lavish Opera Comique was the perfect backdrop to debut the stunning ten-piece Autumn/Winter 2013 collection for the house of McQueen. Expanding the religious themes that Sarah Burton displayed earlier on her Pre-Fall line, the collection explodes with a high-fashion take on ecclesiastical garb commonly seen on cardinals and nuns.
Indeed, religion—and a provocative manner of interpreting it—has always been a favorite thematic subject that Burton’s mentor explored in past collections. Where the McQueen woman was a literal Queen Bee last season, she now evokes a famous historical queen for Fall 2013. Sarah Burton has once again proven that she could do no wrong as she called to mind Elizabethan-era aesthetics fused with apostolic wear to bring forth a compelling sartorial spectacle that is at once timely (due to the Vatican’s search for a new Pope) and faithful to the core DNA of Alexander McQueen.
With slight overtones of Chanel due to the duotone color scheme of black and white, each of the ten looks that were paraded for the presentation came in distinct pairs with specific themes relating to each pairing shown in order—communion, nuns, cardinals, popes, and angels. Outside of the stunning dresses and gowns, the accessories were no less than theatrical as the ensembles were heavily infused with diamonds, crystals, and pearls—from the finger-glove knuckle dusters to the fishnet tights and chunky high-heeled boots. And continuing a visual tradition of encasing the models’ faces with astonishing headgear (the futuristic mirrored visors for Fall 2012 and the beekeeper hats of Spring 2013), Burton fashioned a Fabergé Egg-like cage mask encrusted with the aforementioned precious stones that channeled an elegant S&M element to the otherwise Virgin Queen approach to the collection’s styling.
Burton and her detail-obsessed team worked on every look with an haute couture level of dedication that it is ridiculously hard to believe anything they make every season is being tagged as “prêt-à-porter“. McQueen himself would surely look down on his successor from up above and demand the seraphims blast out the “Hallelujah Chorus” on full volume for a job well done. To this magnificent fall collection, I say, long live McQueen!
On a parting note, I am officially obsessing over those insane cage masks! I can definitely see Nippon Vogue editor-at-large and flamboyant fashion maniac, Anna Dello Russo, pulling off that amazing accessory. Scroll through the ten looks featured below and see which pairing you like best! To read more related fashion reviews on Alexander McQueen A/W 2013-2014, click here for Style.com‘s opinion or here for Vogue Magazine‘s verdict on the matter.