(Courtesy of Disney)Oz the Great and Powerful
hits theaters today, and to celebrate, we caught up with costume designer Gary Jones to get the inside scoop on dressing the film's trio of witches (Michelle Williams
(Glinda), Rachel Weisz
(Evanora), and Mila Kunis
(Theodora)), designing over 1,700 (!) costumes for Oz's cast of characters, and outfitting CGI animations — a first for the Hollywood veteran. Evanora, Theodora, and Glinda have such distinct styles. How did you come with the fashion concepts for the three witches?
Basically you have your good and your evil. You see that with the black and the white. You have three different personalities. One is much more of the earth, that would be Mila. So she has a lot of organic feel to her. It's real leather, it's ashes, there are some talons involved. There are real references like that for her.
Evanora was pretty much architectural in that her frame and her silhouette were echoed in the throne room. Her beading patterns were echoed in all of the things that were in that room. There's a feeling about her, and about that room, of old Hollywood, of the 30's and 40's in Hollywood.
I got to do really incredible white iridescent woman who travels in a bubble, then a wonderful lady from a Fragonard painting with a red velvet hat, and also a fabulous, sexy, extraordinary gown. Did you look at the 1939 movie at all when you designed the costumes?
No. Really? In the first scene, Michelle Williams wears this gingham dress like Dorothy's.
Yes, in the diallogue, James asks if it's gingham. That is a really extrememly sensuous piece of crepe as opposed to the perky cotton gingham. It was one of those things where we took the idea and expanded on it and made it different in some way. Did you take the actresses' personal styles into account when you were designing for them?
Not really. I'm aware of them as red carpet people, but no. It's always about the fit. Once we had the actress — which, we didn't know any of them when we started working on the drawings and the costumes — then in the fitting room, you change the proportions a little bit. Did you get a lot of feedback from them in the fitting room?
Oh, sure. What I'm happiest about is I feel that, when I saw the movie, all three of them and James look as though it's natural that they have those clothes on. There's no awkwardness about them, they use them beautifully. They look like they've had them on all their lives, and that really is wonderful to me. You don't want it to look stiff and unyielding. It helps us, as an audience, identify with them. How many outfits did you design in total?
It was approximately 1700 to 1750. Wow! What was the biggest challenge in designing all of those costumes?
The biggest challenge was learning, after our camera test, things which had to be implemented very quickly. We wound up having a lot to do in a very short period of time. We changed some colors, we changed the volume of things because of flying. What kind of costumes fly well?
China silk and silk chiffon work beautifully, and they have worked beautifully for years. Did you design for any of the animated characters?
I did the China doll, and I did Finley the flying monkey. The China doll, we made several versions of her, and several versions of the costume. Then, in order to accomodate a marionette, and all of the other things, we made some more takes of it. That was thrilling.
Finley evolved so many different ways. We did want a friendly monkey, and not a winged evil monkey. We toyed with the idea of all kinds of costumes, but the bellhop outfit just suited the action and the character to have that. Well he does spend the movie carrying a bag, so it works!