From Sketch to Still, a Visual History of Alice in Wonderland’s Costumes

by Marnie Hanel 

In the opening of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, the heroine argues with her mother about—what else?—clothes. Scolded for not wearing a corset, Alice says, “Who’s to say what is proper? What if it was agreed that proper was wearing a codfish on your head? Would you wear it?… To me, a corset is like a codfish.”

Costume designer Colleen Atwood, who’s won two Oscars (Chicago, Memoirs of a Geisha) and received her ninth Oscar nomination for Alice, says this line “set up Alice’s character as slightly more modern, more of a human being.” Her costumes follow suit.  Alice begins the film in 19th century blue party dress, which cleverly references the animated puff-sleeve creation she’s been stuck in since 1951. (“It’s an iconic thing, not a bad thing,” says Atwood.) But when Alice goes down the rabbit hole and lands in a transformative new world, her clothes do too.

  • Director Tim Burton envisions the Red Queen in 2008. Sketch by Tim Burton, courtesy Walt Disney Studios.

  • Costume designer Colleen Atwood plots the materials it takes to make the Red Queen. Sketch by Colleen Atwood, courtesy Walt Disney Studios.

  • Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen. Still courtesy Walt Disney Studios.

  • Director Tim Burton’s concept art for the Mad Hatter. Sketch by Tim Burton, courtesy Walt Disney Studios.

  • Colleen Atwood imagines a Mad Hatter with thimbles on every finger. Is this the opposite of Edward Scissorhands? Sketch by Colleen Atwood, courtesy Walt Disney Studios.

  • Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter. Still courtesy Walt Disney Studios.

  • Alice is soon Burtonized. Still courtesy Walt Disney Studios.

  • Read More>>

    Advertisements

    Comments are closed.

    %d bloggers like this: