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:
In another early scene with Jared, Mel wears what looks like some sort of sherpa-lined aviator jacket:
And with her brother Jamie, she is shown in a crochet-style dress and brown work boots:
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:
(Talk about “goes with your eyes”!!)
One of her fellow Souls, called The Seeker (played by Diane Kruger), is even more immaculately attired:
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:
As for our heroine, a further transformation takes place when The Wanderer metamorphoses into Wanda after arriving at the underground caves:
The colony of humans hiding there wear utilitarian survivalist clothing with a military edge, as well as ragged henleys and worn-out jackets…
…except when they go out on missions, when they put on pastels to blend in with the Souls:
In keeping with the underground aesthetic, Wanda is now costumed in sandy tones that camouflage well with the landscape:
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.
And finally (major spoiler here!), Wanda as herself emerges, clad in another goes-with-your-eyes garment:
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:
~ costume designer: Erin Benach ~