The Maleficent costume is an amazing entity on its own. With the help of my amazing team, I was able to create a costume that had its own life. I always loved the silhouette of her hat and the shape of her wings so I wanted to keep that but make it look otherworldly. The silhouette is very strong and very graphic.
The panniers that we put underneath her dress are very wide at the bottom. She looks like a skyscraper when she’s standing there. She’s actually bigger than she is tall, which makes her quite intimidating.
We did a lot of research into birds and insects and different things that have a natural armor or exoskeleton. We tried to incorporate that into the corset. It feels like it’s growing out of her body, like it’s part of her wings.
The horns are very iconic in terms of who she is as a character. They are very beautiful because they curve back but they also feel quite malevolent and sharp as well because there is an edge to them as well as a curve to them.
It’s such an extraordinary design for a villain, especially for a woman villain because you don’t tend to see women villains dressed
The original Sleeping Beauty story was based on a fairy tale written by Charles Perrault, a French author in the 14th century. I love his version of the story as it is so sinister and dark. This inspires me to incorporate that theme into my design.
However, because the movie is to be made in the 21st century, I have to modernize some of the costumes for audience to relate better. The original story was set in the 14th century, which is a long time ago. So some of the details will be changed and new ideas will be explored in order to create a more contemporary look.
In this blog, I am going to share with you some details about how I incorporate elements from the original story into my design.
I want to make sure that Maleficent’s costume fits her personality well. She is evil, but she has a strong personality as well; this is why she can take over the entire kingdom and rule it.
I love the way that the Maleficent costume changes as Maleficent’s character arc progresses throughout the film. In the beginning, we see her in a very naive, youthful state and she even has a lovely dress with a floral motif. As she becomes angry and dark, her costume begins to reflect those emotions and she is often seen in clothing of dark tones and sharp angles. But yet, she still retains a good deal of femininity in her costumes (even when she is at her most powerful) because her basic nature is still feminine inside – which makes it all the more interesting.
I thought that this would be a great opportunity to ask Anna how she came up with the Maleficent designs. Enjoy!
In the movie Maleficent, the costume designer had to come up with a design for the characters. The main characters had to be made as realistic and believable as possible.
The one major difference in Maleficent’s costume from the animated version is her horns.
“We added a ridge to the top of her head. I wanted them to be more menacing, and more dragon-like so we made them more geometrical and ridged.”
Cox was also very careful in his decisions about Maleficent’s famous colour scheme.
“The thing about colour is that every colour has a different temperature, you can either move towards cool colours or warm colours, and Maleficent is really about warms so she’s got a lot of golds, rubies, and reds in her,” he said.
“If you look at Sleeping Beauty, she’s all cool blues and purples, so I thought that was an important thing to do with the film.”
I wanted to create a character that would really stand out, and be memorable. I wanted to create a character that was glamorous yet evil. I wanted to create a character that was sinister and sensual at the same time. So I decided to go with a very dark palette, which is black and purple, interspersed with some gold elements.
The silhouette of the dress is based on the silhouette of a bird of prey. It’s cut very low in the front but high in the back, just like wings. The collar is shaped like wings as well. The whole dress has layers and layers of black tulle underneath it. And on top of those layers, it’s embroidered with gold embroidery that was inspired by a design that I found in an old book on Celtic art from Russia from around the ninth century AD.
The gloves are made out of leather with some gold embroidery. On top of them there are fingerless leather gloves; these are decorated with Swarovski crystals. The corset is made out of leather covered in gold embroidery as well, and then interspersed with Swarovski crystals.
In the story, Maleficent’s wings are stolen from her. She is left in a state of despair and loneliness. It’s in this state that she meets Aurora and begins to love her as her own child. The wings are the symbol of that journey and they’re also the symbol of her power.
The idea of a flying cape was born out of wanting to have a winged character that could move around the set in a practical way, but also make an amazing entrance down the aisle at the christening.
Maleficent’s most iconic look is her horned headdress and high collar cape. We wanted to keep those elements, but make them more intricate, more beautiful and maybe even more dangerous looking. I loved Laurie Metcalf’s idea that the collar could be like armor plating when she needed it to be.
I combined those costumes with a crown that we developed into a kind of headdress/hat combo by adding spikes, then added sculpted ears (taken from Angelina Jolie’s ears) and horns which we designed to look like antlers with sharp points on them so they could serve as weapons as well.