Capitol Couture: The Fashion of ‘Catching Fire’

Jansen Trahan

From the moment it was announced that the first book in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy was to be made into a film, diehard fans were crossing their fingers on one hand and brandishing a pitchfork in the other. Don’t Twilight this, Gary Ross. This story is too important to us. Luckily, the Seabiscuit director delivered in full, giving a faithful, gritty, emotional account of Katniss Everdeen (embodied heart and soul by Jennifer Lawrence) and her struggle for survival in a televised teenage death match. However, Ross arguably played it a little safe (though better safe than sorry in this case), falling just short of the futuristic fantasy of the world of Panem as described in the series. This lapse appeared most notably in the costumes for the film, designed by Judianna Makovsky (responsible for films like X-Men: The Last Stand and Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone). The simple, tattered frocks and button-downs of the poor residents of Katniss Everdeen’s home district were well-executed, as were the windbreakers, cargo pants, and boots worn by the Tributes competing in the Games themselves. What Makovsky failed to capture was the whimsical fashion of the Capitol, home to Panem’s most frivolous residents. Rather than pushing fashion into the future (in the way Ridley Scott’s Bladerunner did in the ’80s), Makovsky outfitted Capitol residents in gaudy versions of modern trends (like leggings and peplum), and the result was flat and uninspiring.

Capitol residents from The Hunger Games

As of this week, it’s obvious that the sequel will change things for the better.

Catching Fire, directed by Francis Lawrence (I Am Legend), is the second film in the series. It’s slated for release in November 2013, but this week the world got an early glimpse into the Capitol, and boy does it look fierce. Capitol Couture, a fashion blog of sorts created by the marketing team behind The Hunger Games, released a series of “Capitol Portraits” over the course of the past week. Each portrait depicts a different character who, as fans of the series know, will play a pivotal role in the upcoming film, and Catching Fire‘s fashion upgrade is immediately apparent. The film’s costume designer, Trish Summerville (who worked on David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), pulled from real-world fashion houses to push the envelope for Catching Fire. In the first character portrait released, actress Elizabeth Banks (as Effie Trinket), wears a dress from Alexander McQueen’s AW12 ready-to-wear collection, a look created by Sarah Burton (the genius behind Kate Middleton’s iconic wedding gown).

Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket

In another portrait, Josh Hutcherson (who plays Peeta Mellark in the film) looks dapper in a crisp ivory suit by Korean designer Juunj and futuristic boots by Rick Owens.

Josh Hutcherson as Peeta Mellark

The most anticipated portrait was undoubtedly heroine Katniss Everdeen’s, and it certainly is a look to behold. An ethereal Jennifer Lawrence stuns in a white wedding gown by designer Tex Saverio of Jakarta. The gown features Swarovski crystals and a hand-crafted metal bodice, the flamelike shape of which is fitting for the “girl on fire,” the nickname given to Katniss Everdeen in the first installment of the series.

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen

With just over eight months until the release of the most anticipated movie of the year, the marketing team behind The Hunger Games franchise is Capitolizing on a unique opportunity: making Catching Fire a fashion forward film. And from the looks of these Capitol Portraits, the odds are ever in our favor.

Jansen Trahan

See more looks from the Capitol at

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