The Hunger Games trilogy may have begun as a tween/teen phenomenon but the next film instalment, Catching Fire, which opens this week, is pitching itself as an altogether more sophisticated creation – at least in fashion terms.
The film is packed with costumes from avant-garde designers such as Indonesian Tex Saverio (beloved of Lady Gaga), who created the white frothy wedding dress worn by lead character Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence). Josh Hutcherson’s character Peeta wears outfits by Korean designer Juun J and Rick Owens, while Alexander McQueen designs are seen on Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks), who wears several theatrical gowns, including a sculpted spring 2011 butterfly-bedecked dress and an autumn/winter 2012 frothy pink gown.
Ecommerce retailer Net-a-Porter has collaborated with Trish Summerville, the film’s costume designer, on a 19-piece collection inspired by Katniss. Including jewellery, leather goods, sports pieces and cocktail wear, the line is not a literal version of Hunger Games costumes but rather a range of wearable pieces for fans (priced between £60 and £800). It includes a deep emerald-green evening gown with ruched waist, a laser-cut patent leather mini-dress, and sleek contoured black sportswear pieces in high-tech fabrics. Holli Rogers, fashion director at Net-a-Porter, says: “The collection stands on its own two feet. It has been inspired by the film but the pieces are accessible and they work.”
Net-a-Porter is not alone in creating a product range that draws on The Hunger Games for inspiration. US cosmetics group CoverGirl has developed a range of make-up inspired by the films.
The makers of Catching Fire are hoping the film can imitate the fashion-linked success of this year’s The Great Gatsby, which had tie-ups with Tiffany and Brooks Brothers. Underpinning the film’s fashion focus has been Capitol Couture, an online fashion magazine set within the film’s fictional world of Panem. The site was launched for the first Hunger Games movie last year and blurs the lines between reality and fiction. It features articles by real fashion journalists, such as Monica Corcoran Harel, the magazine’s editor-in-chief and a contributor to Elle, Marie Claire and InStyle; Cameron Silver, founder of Decades, the Los Angeles vintage boutique; and Lynn Yaeger of Vogue. Real-world celebrities such as Dita Von Teese and Karl Lagerfeld are interviewed, and the work of designers such as Stella Jean and Maria Dora, who are profiled as Panem style icons, can be bought at real-world outlets such as Outnet and Farfetch.
“We wanted to take the clothing up a notch,” says Summerville, whose work on David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) won her a Costume Designers Guild award and who linked up with H&M on a collection of clothes to tie in with that film. “Panem’s citizens have an insatiable appetite for fashion and there are also 12 ‘districts’, so there are opportunities for lots of different styles. We were very lucky – designers either loaned us pieces or created pieces especially for us.”
Ed Burstell, managing director of London department store Liberty, is sceptical about how successful the Hunger Games tie-up will be. “I think Trish Summerville has done a terrific job at interpreting and adapting costumes for real life,” he says. “But I question whether anyone outside of the movie demographic will care about the association.”
However, Capitol Couture already has 30,000 followers on Instagram alone. Fans are invited to upload pictures of themselves dressed and made up as Panem citizens, and many have obliged.
Jeanine Recckio, founder of Mirror Mirror, a beauty trends forecasting company, says: “The following for Hunger Games is like a cult. It has had a big impact, from hair braids to the nail art, and sits with a general shift towards cyber and surreal fantasy beauty trends.”
Let the consumer games begin.