Designer of Capitol Couture collection hungry for high-fashion success

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 December, 2013, 12:50pm
UPDATED : Monday, 02 December, 2013, 12:50pm

Katniss Everdeen not only wields the bow and arrow of hope in Catching Fire, the second installment of The Hunger Games film franchise, she is also the muse of a new high-fashion line that carries the film's fictional world of the Capitol beyond the screen.

Catching Fire costume designer Trish Summerville's 16-piece collection was launched last week for luxury online retailer Net-A-Porter, aptly labelled Capitol Couture.

The collection of clothes and accessories are drawn from Summerville's designs for Katniss, the stoic heroine played by Oscar-winner Jennifer Lawrence. The designer also hopes Capitol Couture will attract high-fashion clientele to the series of young adult films.

"For a Net-A-Porter client that is interested in our line, it piques their interest if they don't know the film, they'll go then see the film," the designer says.

Catching Fire, out in cinemas last week, sees Katniss become a symbol of revolution against the oppressive Capitol government ruling the fictional world of Panem, and has already stormed the box office with more than US$307 million worldwide.

Hollywood films have often partnered with big brands to promote new releases. Catching Fire distributor Lions Gate Entertainment spent roughly US$55 million on marketing for the film, including deals with Subway fast-food restaurants and Procter & Gamble's CoverGirl cosmetics.

But films such as Hunger Games that are aimed at a teen and young adult audience are not the likeliest showcases for high fashion, which generally draws an older female clientele with the extra income to spend.

Summerville hopes her collection, priced between US$75 for T-shirts to US$995 for a laser-cut patent leather dress inspired by Katniss' chariot outfit, will accommodate all budgets.

"It was important for me to have things that the fans could relate to and also that appealed to the Net-A-Porter clientele," Summerville says.

"This isn't particularly for the Catching Fire fan base, it's just a venture we went out upon to try and exhibit some of the fashion in the film," she adds.

High fashion and film have enjoyed a long relationship, taken to a new level in the 1990s by HBO television series Sex and the City, which showcased latest collections by designers on the characters. Patricia Field, the stylist of the show and its subsequent films, also designed a Sex and the City inspired collection for British retailer Marks & Spencer.

Earlier this year, Baz Luhrmann's big screen adaptation of The Great Gatsby" saw its leading actress, Carey Mulligan, channelling Daisy Buchanan in striking Prada designs created for the film by costume designer Catherine Martin, who drew straight from the Prada archives.

Summerville, who also created actress Rooney Mara's edgy transformation in 2011's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, says she turned to Hunger Games fan sites when designing the aesthetic of the second film, and found high-fashion looks suggested for both Katniss and Effie Trinket, the film's outrageously dressed Capitol spokeswoman.

Lions Gate also created a Capitol Couture website, an online magazine set in the fictional world of Panem, that showcased the styles explored in the film, from the Districts to the Capitol.

Elizabeth Banks, who plays Effie, says her character's high-fashion looks represented a bigger picture of the film's theme of revolution. "We don't wear the clothes because they're cool-looking, we wear the clothes because they represent the excess and the power of the Capitol. It's always meant to be a juxtaposition of what's going on in the districts," Banks says.

One look that Summerville says sheis proud of curating for Effie was a fitted dress adorned with hundreds of feathers painted to look like Monarch butterflies, taken straight from the Alexander McQueen spring-summer runway. Banks wore the dress with high heels and a butterfly hair piece.

"Everything is uncomfortable, everything is constricted, and that's also a strong reminder of the society they live in. Their only freedoms come in the form of personal adornment, they don't have true freedom yet," Banks says. Reuters


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