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Production Blog #11 -- Costuming a Futuristic World

Last week's production blog post gave us some insight into costuming Ender's Game, a process headed up by costume designer Christine Bieselin Clark. We even find out a bit about flash suits! Take a look:


You think your job is tough?  Try having to dress an entire imaginary, future-world. 

That responsibility fell to Christine Bieselin-Clark, our wonderful costume designer.  She was tasked with making the future look — and even feel — real and tangible.

With science fiction, there's a danger in creating a look that seems so foreign it becomes alienating.  For ENDER'S GAME, we wanted to make a future that looked both functional and logical. We wanted it to be a future where you can picture yourself in their shoes.

But of course, it is the future.  For the uniforms, all synthetic materials were used, meaning no loud silk florals.
So, what are we looking at here in this photo?

On the left-hand side, we see what appears to be a selection of pattern pieces hanging on the upper body of a mannequin. The visible ones are all clearly marked "Petra" so these are patterns for one or more of Hailee Steinfeld's costumes. It's possible "undersuit" is written on the top pattern piece but it's very hard to tell for sure.

Can you guys make anything else out? If so, send an email our way!

Edit: My knowledgeable friend Aidan who studied apparel design at RISD had the following to add:
The curved pattern underneath the one that says "top" looks like a sleeve or a collar. The rest of them look like they must be making a pretty slick jacket. And the machines in the back are Juki sewing machines - I can tell because of the sewing lamps. That hook that's holding all the patterns together is called a "pattern hook." All patterns have a hole punched in them and they usually are hooked together by what they're making, i.e. that is all probably Petra's jacket, and maybe the other one hooked to it is for the matching pants or whatever they're making. They usually hang them up together on closet rods and then you can shift through them like clothing so if you need a specific pattern it's all laid out and labelled, so you're not hunting around. They'll have slopers somewhere too, which are the basic clothes that all other patterns/clothes are based off of, but I don't see those in the photos.
Bolts of fabric in various shades of silver/grey/blue fill the right-hand side of the photo and, while this doesn't seem particularly interesting at first glance, it's possible a color theme is beginning to appear:



Not a loud, silk floral in sight.

If we take a look at the images we've been shown so far, we can surmise that Clark has used a rather metallic color palette for costuming the soldiers of the International Fleet, if not the Battle School students themselves. These colors are cold, serious, and a far cry from the lush greens and blues normally associated with Earth.

It's easy to see these shades working well in a military environment, a place where there is no family, no personal possessions, and very little warmth to be found.

May seem a bit depressing, but Battle School was never a very happy place.

The production blog post continues:
And for the flash suits… well, we actually had to create them out of thin air.

Christine built the flash suits from virtually non-existent fabrics designed by our incredible production team.  The idea was to take cues from “extreme sports” to inspire our design, using real world practicality as opposed to the heightened reality of superhero spandex and a cape.

And the best part?  They look pretty darn cool.

And then there's having to make a uniform for Nonso Anozie, who plays Sergeant Dap.

Normally, a bolt comes with nine yards of material, and can make 2-3 suits.  Or, in Nonso's case, one suit became a living example of the expression “the whole nine yards”.

But hey, it's the future… so maybe we've switched to metric.
Glad to hear there's no spandex, though it could have been amusing to see Ender in a cape.

So, flash suits! A lot of extreme sports seem to have a jumpsuit theme going. What would we think about the suits looking something like this?



Using entirely different colors, something like this could work, right? What other "extreme sports" do you think Clark was possibly inspired by? Head over to our forum and discuss!

Nonso Anozie: The Whole Nine Yards -- Coming to a theater near you in November 2013.

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Don't forget: the official production blog is updated every week by Roberto Orci and the team behind Ender's Game, so follow them on Tumblr so you don't miss out!

Ender News is also on Tumblr - it's a great place to stay up-to-date with not only the latest in movie news, but also fan art, Ender's Game book reviews, and what the cast is up to on Twitter.

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