Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Post #67: Fashion on Film - Harry Potter (Part 2)

            While Alfonso Cuarón probably changed the style and fashion of the Harry Potter world for good with Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire did reinstate some of the magical flare in the clothing at Hogwarts. With a new director (Mike Newell), it seemed as if a refresh button of sorts had been hit. 
            As can be seen in the movie poster (below), the advertising still contained Muggle clothing, but careful attention was paid to the garb worn by the characters participating in the Tri-Wizard tournament. Just look at the lacing on Harry's cloak. 

            When Muggle clothing did take center-stage in the film, it made its mark in scenes where it was more believable that the characters would be in casual garb. For instance, in the picture below (showing Ron, Harry, and Hermione in their common room), the dynamic trio is in their pajamas. Ron's robe is even eclectic enough to be seen as more wizard-like than "normal."

            In itself, the fourth book lent itself to more elaborate costumes just because of its content. Not only do you have the normal Hogwarts day-to-day schedule, but you have the introduction of two new wizard schools (Beauxbatons and Durmstrang both hail from different parts of the world, allowing for a more varied approach to clothing) and the Yule Ball. 
            Regarding what Hogwarts students wear to class, not much has changed since Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The striping on their ties is the same along with the more muted colors on their robes and a darker gray for their sweaters. I suppose one thing to note is the fact that you now see more of a mix; many students do not wear their robe over the sweater/skirt or sweater/pant combo. Also, the pleating on the girls' skirts has changed. They now have more of a flat-pannel front instead of all-around pleating (as seen in the second movie). 

            The Yule Ball brought each character's background into play, determining which dress robes appeared more wizard-like or fashionable. Ron Weasley, in his hand-me-down robes, looked every bit the crazy wizard with ruffles galore. Harry's robes have more of a mixed vibe. A lot of the elements that one might see in a tuxedo are apparent, yet they retain the same kind of front (however much more subdued) as Ron's robes. They still look like something out of a Harry Potter film over something out of a James Bond movie. Hermione's dress is elegant, but also looks like a credible senior prom dress at many U.S. high schools. Meanwhile, Viktor Krum's apparel screams Russian or Bulgarian, but definitely retains a wizard edge (through its fur trims and silhouette). 

            Finally, because its introduction of new people and new schools, the costume designer of Goblet of Fire got to bring more variation into what wizards might wear. This is particularly apparent in the uniforms of the Beauxbatons and Durmstrang students, as well as the style of the one and only Rita Skeeter. The hat details on both Fleur and Viktor's costumes add the perfect amount of specificity to their looks, while the structure and colors of Ms. Skeeter's suit/dress combos works its own kind of seductive and extravagant magic. You can tell by the variations in texture of her outfits that she not only cares a lot about her appearance, but spends a lot on it. 

Then there was Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

            The fifth movie did not change much in the way of costuming. In fact, some of the same costume ploys and differences were adopted yet again. This is evident in the introduction of new characters and new rules. Uniform-wise, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix brought in the option of the button-up sweater or the pull-over sweater. In many respects, it also kept the students more visibly in their uniforms. As can be seen through Dumbledore's Army meetings, the students were seen wearing their uniforms even during down-time. 

            This increase in uniform-wearing is partially the cause of Dolores Umbridge being made Headmistress in Dumbledore's absence. One of my favorite moments in the fifth movie shows up in the trailer for it. While the students still wear their uniforms in a "teenage" fashion à la Prisoner of Azkaban, Dolores Umbridge's focus on propriety straightens them up. 


            Speaking of new characters and new focus, the prevalence of Dolores Umbridge and Luna Lovegood in this film add new fashions (in the same way that Lupin and Rita Skeeter may have in previous films). Umbridge's affinity for fuzzy and pink and Luna's radish earrings add perfect pops of color in a darkly tinted film. 

            But have no fear, darkness isn't too far away as Death Eater's take over and Bellatrix Lestrange's laced, corseted, leathered self takes center stage at the end of the film. 

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