Costume Designer Gary Jones Talks Oz The Great and Powerful

Oz the Great and Powerful

Watching Disney’s new film Oz The Great and Powerful, the viewer is transported into the Land of Oz, where a mysterious wizard, mischievous witches and all manner of wondrous creatures—played by Mila Kunis, James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz and Zach Braff—abound. The fantastical costumes created by Oscar-nominated costume designer Gary Jones are an integral part of bringing this magical world to life for the big screen. We recently chatted with the designer about the wizardry of creating looks for Oz The Great and Powerful, which comes out March 7, 2013. Check out what the man behind the costumes has to say about creating looks that are at once fantastical, yet grounded in the real world, and transforming some of our favorite fashionistas into the characters in the movie.

The Fashion Spot: How did you prepare for creating the costumes for Oz The Great and Powerful?

Gary Jones: Our preparation included paintings and artists from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, and photographs, magazines and newspapers. Michael Kutsche did the amazing costume drawings and we began fabricating and sampling and manufacturing. That process started approximately nine months before we started shooting.

Oz the Great and Powerful - Michelle Williams

tFS: The costumes in Oz The Great and Powerful play an important role in creating a magical world. How did you bring the Land of Oz to life?

GJ: Our director, Sam Rami, wanted the Land of Oz to be rooted in the real world.  So the costumes have been designed to help achieve that vision and have the fantastical elements of Oz.

tFS: How do the costumes in Oz The Great and Powerful communicate qualities about the film's characters?

GJ: The characters’ personalities are reflected in the shapes, colors and textures of the costumes.

tFS: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams (the stars of Oz The Great and Powerful) are some of the Fashion Spot's favorite fashionistas. What was it like creating costumes for such stylish stars?

GJ: As a costume designer, I am asked to design costumes for the characters. To have such accomplished, stylish and savvy actors is an incredible gift!

tFS: Besides the effect on the audience, what is the role of your costumes for the actors who wear them?

GJ: It is my hope to help discover the visual properties of the character and add that aspect to their performance.

Oz the Great and Powerful - Mila Kinus

tFS: How much rehearsing in costume did the actors do?

GJ: They probably didn’t rehearse in costume as much as you might think, or as they would like. That is primarily due to the time commitment involved with costume, hair, makeup and special effects makeup. Stunt work, choreography and special effects naturally require more rehearsal.

tFS: What was the most challenging look to create?

GJ: Every costume had its own challenges.  Some were intellectual, some technical, some aesthetic. If I have to choose, I would say Glinda and the Winkie Guards were the most challenging.

tFS: How do you approach creating fantastical costumes like the ones for this film versus creating something more realistic? 

GJ: The costume is informed by the script and the character, so you start the same way. So if the character lives in a fantasy world, there are just more colors in the crayon box.