Challenge: Emphasize Christine Collins’ character without sacrificing historical accuracy
Working on roughly 3,000 background costumes for “Changeling,” costume designer Deborah Hopper relied on historical photographs and a strong network of costume houses and vintage stores to provide her with suitable raiments.
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When it came to the main characters, she created exact replicas of late-1920s L.A.P.D. uniforms. But costuming Angelina Jolie’s incarnation of the historical Christine Collins required a bit of creative interpretation. “The real Christine Collins had broaches (with) big flowers on her coat all the time,” says Hopper, who created subtler jewelry and cloche hats to better suit the character onscreen. “We had to design a hat that would be period correct but not get in the way of the audience’s ability to see her face,” she explains.
Hopper also altered the color of Collins’ wardrobe to suit director Clint Eastwood’s style. “I’ve worked with Clint for more than 24 years, so I know his color palette,” she says. “We don’t use things in his movies that really stand out. To achieve that feminine, very maternal, strong working woman, I used soft peaches for the feminine side, and I used deeper greens and richer brown fabrics (to emphasize) her stronger side.”