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Into the Woods

One of the most recent popular films to hit theaters is Into the Woods, which came out late last month to fairly positive reviews. The magical ambiance surrounding this compilation of re-told fairy tales is thanks in large part to Colleen Atwood, the movie’s costume designer.  Atwood has worked on over 60 films in her career, two of which have won her academy awards for best costume design.  In Into the Woods, she chose a distinctly understated style for the ornaments that go along with the costumes, especially jewels on wrists and collarbones. Certainly, a couple of the characters do wear necklaces — notably, the vine-like gold piece seen on Cinderella as she flees the prince, and the inconspicuous chain that ends in three tiny turquoise stones worn by the baker’s wife.  But other than these, Atwood went with mostly bare necks.

Instead, her jewelry accessory of choice was earrings — and the occasional tiara.  Cinderella’s stepsister Lucinda, for example, wears elongated ebony teardrop earrings, and her stepmother wears a similar pair with two stones on both ears, each of which dangles from its own thin gold chain. Cinderella also gets her fair share of tiaras, the most elegant of which is the white-silver crown on her wedding day.  In contrast to her previous vine-like necklace, the tiara possesses a distinctly floral quality (with a less-than-elegant twig or two entwined for the authentic “natural” feel).  Atwood masterfully manipulates her costumes to enhance the film’s mystical “woodsy” tone.  It is impossible to deny: Atwood definitely grasps the nuances of the dreamlike world in which these fairy tales live, and is an expert at infusing that sensation into every piece of clothing, down to the tiniest gem.

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