Why Fashion Fans Will Love Maleficent

We go behind the scenes of Disney’s Maleficent—in theaters tomorrow—with costume designer Rob Goodwin to discover a couture-inspired fashion story.

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    PHOTO: Disney

    When you have an iconic actress (Angelina Jolie) playing an iconic storybook character (Maleficent, of Sleeping Beauty fame), you need a wow-worthy costume to match. We’d say Disney nailed it. And there’s so much for the fashion aficionado to love, too! From the intricately detailed collars to the hauntingly beautiful jewelry, Maleficent’s modern look is a brilliant marriage of fantasy and couture. Costume designer Rob Goodwin walks us through the process of bringing the character to life.

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    PHOTO: Disney

    Rob Goodwin was one of three specialists brought in to work on the Maleficent costume. “We were there to really give it a harder edge, sort of couture look,” Goodwin says. “We wanted to steer away from some of the clichés that you can sometimes get in fantasy films, and make her attractive, yet scary and relevant.”

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    PHOTO: Disney

    “We’re seeing more of the fashion techniques in these costumes. I don’t want to detract from the traditional costume makers, because I know their skills are incredible, but you are getting a lot more fashion people bringing in their techniques.”

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    PHOTO: Disney

    Justin Smith, a milliner working in London, designed Maleficent’s signature horns. “It’s great that she has the horns, but that can also be a plus and a minus, because you don’t want it to look too camp; you want it to look elegant and savage,” Goodwin says. “I saw that as my job, to try and introduce that sort of edge to it.” 

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    PHOTO: Disney

    Wrapping the horns in different, natural materials was important to remind people that Maleficent wasn’t human. “We wanted to make something elegant. We used a lot of exotic skins,” Goodwin says. “I know Smith used some stingray, snake, and python skins, which gave the headpiece a luxury couture feel.”

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    PHOTO: Disney

    For the costume designers, it was important to mimic the iconic images of Maleficent with her high, Gothic collars. “They really accentuate her anatomy,” Goodwin says. “We tried to exaggerate certain parts of her bone structure and anatomy to again make her look super human or other-than human.”

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    PHOTO: Disney

    “They brought Manuel Albarran over from Spain, who is excellent at making armor and body pieces. He made a spine that then formed into a collar, which felt almost lizard-like.”

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    PHOTO: Disney

    “With the construction, we wanted to make things look as if they really evolved and could have been things she found in the forest, like teeth, fangs, bones, and beads.”

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    PHOTO: Disney

    “People who love fashion will always love the color black, and you’re going to see the transformation of Angelina, who is quite floaty and forest-like, into a elegant couture character. We really accessorized her.”

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    PHOTO: Disney

    Skins and bones played a big role in the jewelry construction, too. “They had to be elegant, but deadly,” Goodwin says. “Everything was almost felt like a weapon or talon.”

EXPLORE: Fashion News, Angelina Jolie, Fashion News, Maleficent, Costumes, Costume Design, 2014
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