The latest Harry Potter movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, was released last month. In order to celebrate this latest cinematic triumph, a Harry Potter costume design exhibition has been opened at the Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, California. Helen Beaumont comments.
The costumes used to bring Harry Potter characters off the page and onto the silver screen were simply amazing. During the original Harry Potter series, costume was used both to anchor us in reality and introduce us to the fantastical. Characters’ like Harry and Hermione nixed wizarding and normal clothing but those like Dumbledore, who epitomises wizardry, were given more outlandish looks.
The costume designers in Fantastic Beasts faced a different challenge. We do not know 1920s magical New York, as there was no book to serve as a reference, so how did they communicate the film’s key plot elements to viewers effectively? The films utilised period costumes, for example giving the New Salemers, a strict anti-magic group, puritanical clothing like bonnets shaded in sober greys and blacks.
The costume in Fantastic Beasts are increasingly turning the film into a big hit, like its Harry Potter predecessors. You can now see the incredible imagination that went into the creation of the costumes for these films at Warner Bros Studios’ From J .K. Rowling’s Wizarding World: The Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts Exhibit, a costume design display which opened to the public on 9th December.
The showcase is a Harry Potter fan’s dream. Transporting them to this magical world, it includes costumes worn by Harry Potter actors such as Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint. It also features pieces worn actors in Fantastic Beasts, including Eddie Redmayne and Colin Farrell. It is split into two parts, – one for the original Harry Potter flicks and one devoted to Fantastic Beasts.
In the exhibits Harry Potter section, guests can glimpse costumes worn by characters at Hogwarts back in the 2000s. A range of costumes worn by the series’ antagonist, Lord Voldemort, can be found here. This includes the oxford school shoes he wore when he was young and known as Tom Riddle, to the patent Latent shoes Lord Voldemort preferred while at the height of his powers. This section also feature’s Ron Weasley’s messy school uniform and many pieces worn by the Hogwarts staff.
Attendees can find 20 costume design styles from the talented Colleen Atwood in the Fantastic Beasts section. This latter part includes Redmayne’s characters’ now-famous blue coat and suede boots. The showcase also gives guests the chance to feast their eyes on a range of items worn by Fantastic Beasts’ two female leads, sisters Tina Goldstein and Queenie Goldstein, like their chic party dresses.
Commenting at the exhibition’s recent media preview, Bonnie Wright, who played Ginny Weasley in the original Harry Potter films, was quoted by Eastern Daily, a local news source, saying: “For anyone who’s coming to the exhibition, even though it’s beautiful when you see the movie, it does feel a little bit removed, but to be able to be in the company of these costumes is really exciting and there’s an intimacy to the experience. I think that’s what is exciting, to see those details”
It’s important to remember that next year marks 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first book in the series, was released. In order to honour this milestone, in 2017 the British Library will open a J.K. Rowling exhibition. Running from 18th October 2017 to 28th February 2018, the display will include the authors personal archives, as well as historical artefacts and historical documents, with one dating from the 13th Century, showing how a Phoenix is reborn.
About Helen Beaumont
Helen Beaumont’s career started at Camberwell College of Art, where she studied the History of Art and Design, specialising in costume during her final year. After completing study, Helen became a costume buyer for theatre and opera. She has since become a professional costume designer, with a keen interest in period clothing. Throughout her career, Helen has created authentic costumes for prestigious companies such as the Universal Studios, Disney, BBC, Tiger Aspect and the Young Vic Theatre.