Yesterday we took a look at Johnny Depp's Zoot suit-inspired Wolf costume for Into the Woods; today I wanted to take a deeper look at Colleen Atwood's designs for Meryl Streep's Witch. Like you might have been, I've been curious about her transformation. How'd they take her from the hag to the gorgeous look she wears above. I don't know about you but I'm thinking Meryl Streep is giving the term 'blue-haired ladies' a whole new meaning!
"My one true thing that tied [all of the costumes] together is that it’s called 'Into the Woods,' and I wanted to interpret the feeling of wood and things that come from the woods. I used textures and created a lot of textiles within the film that had the idea of shadows in the woods or bark in the woods.
"[Streep's dress] before her transformation is leather cord that’s laid onto chiffon so it has a real bark texture... you're stitching a hard cord onto a sheer fabric. It's quite a process, but we got it down to a sort of manufacture." via FASHIONISTA
"There are so many witches that I kind of didn't. I thought, If I do that, I'm going to go crazy. Meryl wants it to work as a costume. Her priority is function and looking good. I'm on the movie the whole shoot, but I dress each person the first day to make sure a dress works. I'm there in the room when they get dressed. Meryl's blue dress has a presence, a life of its own. That was inspired, because I'd been experimenting before another job on tiny cords on a textile, but I had never used it. I went back to that, changed up the materials with my cutter, and we did sheets of it and wove it around and figured out how to build the dress from that."
"We chose the color purely from fabric samples. Colleen had done the dress, and had chosen her fabrics, and we all thought she should have blue hair. It's more fantasy and fairy tale.
"That hair is all dyed with fabric dye. I don’t use chemical hair colors. You put the color in boiling water and throw the hair in. Fabric dye is meant for wool and silk and cotton, and her hair is just another part of all that chain. All my wigs that I work with now — that I have done for the last 30 years — are all done with fabric dye.
"[The wig] was first set on rollers, then it was backcombed, then it was tonged on little tongs, then pulled and stretched, and you keep sort of putting product in — mostly hairspray on that one — and you keep playing with it and plying it until you get this awful mess. You start out with something that looks like it does when she’s beautiful, then mess it up.
"We had to make [Streep's younger and older looks] relate in some way. It was sort of the younger look first, then what would it look like 150 years down the road? So it’s a dreary, drab blue color. You see her as an old witch, but then when she turns young it’s fantastic. Meryl looks fantastic in that blue."Meryl does look fantastic in that blue. If that's what they're calling a 'blue-haired old lady' these days, I want to be one too!
And here, before her transformation, Streep sings the haunting Stay with Me —