Call it a scarf. Call it a vest. Call it a shawl. Call it a cowl. Or, heck, call it a cape. It won’t matter how you refer to Katniss’ (Jennifer Lawrence) knit accessory in Catching Fire, fans of The Hunger Games will totally get you and your obsession with it.
In an interview with On Screen Style, Los Angeles-based designer Maria Dora, who is responsible for making the hand-woven neck piece (or, as she likes to call it, “shield”), explains how her vision for the District 12 Victor made it to the big screen.
OSS: How did you get involved in Catching Fire?
MARIA DORA: I was actually introduced to [costume designer] Trish Summerville by Rodney Burns, the stylist to Lenny Kravitz [who plays Cinna]. The two of them are good friends, and Rodney has always been a champion of emerging designers. When Trish called me a few weeks later, I was ecstatic — I loved the books and admired her work even more, so saying yes was a no-brainer.
Do you remember the exact instructions or directions you were given for the design of the accessory?
When I came in for that first meeting, Trish already had a clear idea on how I fit in her vision for Katniss. She had a particular piece in mind, but she was concerned with functionality — we needed to make it appropriate for Katniss’ hunting habits. We also tested probably over a dozen materials, but we kept coming back to this rustic, nubby yarn.
Why does this vest work so well for the character Katniss?
Trish explained to me that the wardrobe would embody Katniss’ role as a Victor. There is money and status available to her, but she isn’t comfortable proclaiming her newfound Capitol association. Trish wanted something that spoke of that duality — as if her mother made the cape by hand, but with the best material she could buy. The piece straddles both worlds — it has an uncommon, asymmetric shape, but it is protective and comforting. While it is not as streamlined as her later outfits, I think that is the point. It’s a shield for Katniss, both figuratively and literally.
What type of material is it made out of? How would you describe the color?
The yarn is a wool blend, and the best way I can describe the color is as a grey oatmeal — it is a warm grey with flecks of brown and black.
How many hours/days did it take your team to construct the design the piece? What about the final product?
The cape is woven, unlike traditional knitting. Because of that, it took myself and an assistant over a week to build the body, and another week and a half to fine-tune it. We made two of them for the movie.
In your opinion, what is about your design that makes the piece work so well in a post-apocalyptic world?
For the piece that was the basis of Katniss’ version, I was inspired by an image I saw of some old fishermen, wrapped up in blankets after a storm. I have no idea what happened to that image, but it stuck with me — that mixture of survival and newfound safety intrigued me. I wanted to recreate that layered and protected look, but from a more defiant stance. Looking back, maybe that’s why Trish felt it was right for the world of The Hunger Games.
Will replicas of the CF design be available for sale to the public?
I’ll be honest — initially, I thought we could offer the design because only a handful of people would be interested, but we’ve gotten hundreds of inquiries in the last three weeks alone. We are a tiny company, but are definitely considering our options.
For more on Maria Dora, check out her blog and her Facebook page.
KATNISS’ COWL-NECK SWEATER VEST:
Designer Maria Dora doesn’t have plans to recreate the piece for the public, but after receiving “hundreds of inquiries” about it (yes, that was before the film even hit theaters!), she’s now consider her options. If you can’t wait that long, then you can check out the links below….*****
GET THE LOOK:1. Hooked Knits Katniss Cowl Shawl Wrap2. Dahlia In Bloom Katniss-Inspired Knitted Cloak
Check out more on Catching Fire fashion OSS by clicking right here!
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