The Host: Costuming the Worldly and the Otherworldly

I watched The Host recently (the film adaptation of the novel by Stephenie Meyer, of Twilight fame), and found the mix of costumes quite intriguing….

*Plot spoilers ahead, so stop here if you’ve neither read nor seen it!*

The main character (played by Saoirse Ronan) has three different “incarnations”, each of which is differently costumed: Melanie Stryder in the flashbacks, The Wanderer in the new alien-occupied society, and Wanda in the underground caves.

Her outfits as Melanie are rustic, country-ish, and very battered, reflecting her impoverished and on-the-run status. In a scene with Jared, she wears a sleeveless red plaid shirt and a faded, ultra-distressed green skirt:

Image

Image

Image

In another early scene with Jared, Mel wears what looks like some sort of sherpa-lined aviator jacket:

Image

And with her brother Jamie, she is shown in a crochet-style dress and brown work boots:

Image

Once the transformation to The Wanderer has taken place, however, the garments change completely. Everything is spotless and overtly “peaceful”, with pristine outlines, pastel shades, and smooth textures:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

(Talk about “goes with your eyes”!!)

One of her fellow Souls, called The Seeker (played by Diane Kruger), is even more immaculately attired:

Image

Interestingly, in contrast to the book – where the alien occupiers wear all black – the filmmakers decided to costume them entirely in white. This is further emphasized by their sleek, minimalist accessories and silver chrome vehicles:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

As for our heroine, a further transformation takes place when The Wanderer metamorphoses into Wanda after arriving at the underground caves:

Image

The colony of humans hiding there wear utilitarian survivalist clothing with a military edge, as well as ragged henleys and worn-out jackets…

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

…except when they go out on missions, when they put on pastels to blend in with the Souls:

Image

In keeping with the underground aesthetic, Wanda is now costumed in sandy tones that camouflage well with the landscape:

Image

Her unique inner purity, though, is signalled by lighter pieces: a thin off-white top, and a delicate green sweater that looks as though it’s made from strands of cobweb silk.

Image

Image

Image

Image

And finally (major spoiler here!), Wanda as herself emerges, clad in another goes-with-your-eyes garment:

Image

w:m

Image

Overall, despite its having been largely panned by the critics, I myself actually enjoyed the film! Perhaps it’s evidence of my lack of champagne taste. 😉

For those who are interested, here are two more articles on costume design in The Host:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/fash-track/stephenie-meyer-host-costume-431761

http://popstyle.ew.com/2013/03/29/the-host-costume-designer-on-dressing-stephenie-meyers-sci-fi-characters-for-the-big-screen/

~ costume designer: Erin Benach ~

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s