One of my favourite movies of all time, The Wizard of Oz is a film that I think is imprinted upon everyone’s childhood psyche. Many of its iconic moments have to do with dress or costume; think of Glinda’s arrival in a sparkling crown, the Wicked Witch of the East’s striped stockings, Dorothy’s pigtails and gingham frock, those envy-inducing ruby red slippers. It has inspired the likes of photographer Annie Lebovitz and a plethora of designers including Gareth Pugh, L.A.M.B. and Jimmy Choo. The Wizard of Oz prequel ‘Oz the Great and Powerful‘ is released in Australia today. Starring style icons Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz in a return to author L. Frank Baum’s epic fantasy world; I was curious, will we see another ruby slipper moment?
James Franco and Mila Kunis in a movie still from Oz the Great and Powerful
Oz’s head costume designer the Academy Award nominated Gary Jones is hedging his bets, “we’ll just have to wait at see to final film!” I was lucky to recently chat with Gary on the phone from his home in Pennsylvania before even he had seen the finished cut. In terms of designing the costumes (1500+ of them) Gary explains it was a slightly “unusual” process working alongside the production director and artist/illustrator Michael Kutsche to develop the witches looks in particular. “(Director) Sam Raimi wanted a cohesive look so all three of us were on board.”
“I did not look back at the film. But really set out to create a world that seems familiar but is mostly new and fresh”. Gary did however read some of the many books in the Oz series. “(The movie) is something that’s always in the back of your mind but it might not be exactly as you remember it…and we’re introducing characters that have never been seen before”.
Though Gary revels in the “possibilities of fantasy worlds” when working on a film like Oz the Great and Powerful, the costumes in the new film are driven by their wearers. Theodora played (by Mila Kunis) “starts out as a woodland character. She is of the earth…a bit Victorian and a bit sportier if you will.” For Evanora (Rachel Weiss) “her look is architectural. We looked back to the golden age of Hollywood for her feeling. It’s glamorous.” Michelle Williams’ Glinda is “the only one we’ve known before. We went for purity in colour. She’s an ‘air person’; all soap bubbles and sparkle. But she’s also a strong character not just a pretty face.” As for the titular character the soon-to-be-man-behind-the-curtain Oz; “He only wears one suit!”
Perhaps we’ll be sporting Thedora’s equestrian style or a little of Glinda’s sparkle this winter. More likely though we’ll be wearing emerald green as Pantone declared it their colour of the year, no doubt due in part to the resurgence of the Wizard. “I’m glad and excited that happened” says Gary, “it pays to keep an eye on fashion. Even in Oz.”
So which witch suits your style? Let me know your thoughts on their looks, the costumes or the movie below to WIN a double pass to see the movie.
I’ve decided to have a little fun and curate a selection of fashion pieces by Melbourne labels that will add a touch of the Oz realm to your everyday wardrobe below.
1. You don’t have to be very wicked to wear striped stockings – by Tightology
2. Dorothy’s ruby red slippers have grown up and have a masculine edge – by Habbot
3. You’ll have no problem gaining entry to see the Wizard wearing these – by Anna Davern from Alice Euphemia
4. Did you know in the book Dorothy’s shoes were originally silver? Film-makers altered the colour to take advantage of new Technicolour technology – by Tony Bianco
5. Glinda would totally travel by floating around this necklace if she could – by Beuy
6. Tinman eat your heart out. It always existed don’t you know – by Cylk
7. Just the thing to protect you from the elements, and the odd flying monkey, when following the yellow brick road – by Wet & Wendy
8. Now this is what I call (emerald) city dressing – by Brown Sugar
9. Never fear, you’d be happy to have this shirt fall on you – by Apom