"The right costume determines the character, helps the actor feel who he is, and serves the story."
Colleen Atwood on why the right costume is essential for a character.
Rabid Nick: Ms. Atwood, thank you so much for your time today. How do you prepare for a transition from a production like Nine to Alice in Wonderland, with their wildly unique styles?
Colleen Atwood: The transition is fast, you exit one world and enter another, examining new worlds, you quickly move on.
You have worked on a variety of Tim Burton films. What is so attractive about them?
The collaborative process with Tim is a rare gift in the world of film.
For these Tim Burton films, but also for movies like Public Enemies, you designed a lot of costumes for Johnny Depp. Does the process get easier if you know an actor?
The level of trust is an important part of collaboration, so I would say that makes it more relaxed, but it also makes it more of a challenge since you always want change it up and come up with new ideas.
Where did you find the inspiration for the red and white world of Alice in Wonderland?
The Red Queen and White Queen were named in the script, so for the Red Kingdom it was the playing card motif and for the White Kingdom the inspiration was more Nordic meets Louis 14
[image-2]How do you prepare to find the clothes for a movie? Where do you get the inspiration?
Inspiration comes from everywhere: books, art, people on the street. It is an interior process for me.
When do you know when a character is finished?
Which character's costumes did you find the most challenging to design, and which came most easily?
In Alice, the technical side of Alice's shrinking and growing were very challenging. Stayne was originally not a real costume, but we couldn't quite get it right, so we ended up actually making it in order for it to work.
When it came to costuming in Alice, how much inspiration did you draw from the original book?
I gave a sort of nod to the young Alice, then departure...oh and the hat
How many dresses did you make for Alice and what have inspired you to create them?
Alice had around 8 looks, and multiples of most of them, so there were around 20 hand-made costumes. The script and idea of Alice as an exploring spirit really inspired me.
Apart from the use of color, is there anything different about making costumes for greenscreen scenes?
The greenscreen doesn't really dictate the costume.
Colleen, as we close out this virtual roundtable, do you have any final thoughts on Alice in Wonderland?
Alice in Wonderland was a dream project. The collaboration between Tim and Johnny, along with the amazing cast, made bringing such a historic piece to the world of 3D animation, one of my favorite projects for life.