The Harry Potter films might not be typical Christmas movies, but with all their magic and wonder they’re certainly a favourite for the festive season.
With the last film having been released in 2011, I think it’s safe to say most fans have made their way through the series more than a handful of times. But while you might know every spell, twist, and triumph like the back of your hand, the world of Harry Potter is so complex that there’s likely still a few details you’re yet to spot.
To learn more about the more intricate aspects of the films, UNILAD spoke to Laurent Guinci, founder and chief creative officer at Lolo Creative and the man who worked with many of the iconic costumes we see in Harry Potter, as well as in the Warner Bros. studio tour and recreations of the Wizarding World in theme parks across the globe.
Guinci began his work with the franchise on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; the third film in the series and the first to star Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore.
Laurent told UNILAD there was ‘an important shift in the mood of the films’ from the Prisoner of Azkaban, as the characters become teenagers and the storylines becoming increasingly more dark and intense.
Guinci discussed how the ‘very talented panel of costume designers’ represented the three main characters of Harry, Ron and Hermione through their costumes, noting some uses of colour you can keep an eye out for in the films.
When you design a character, you want to give them an identity – colours and shapes are defined according to their roles, but also hair and skin complexion. Harry suited the blues and the greys, with hints of burgundy as he’s a Gryffindor after all. Ron, being ginger, looks good in orange and red tones, as well as khakis.
For Hermione, her girlie side is reflected in the accents of pink, but more masculine shapes show attitude. She doesn’t wear many dresses throughout the film, hence the iconic big reveal when she comes to the Yule ball.
Guinci’s expertise stretched far beyond khakis and hoodies, however, and he revealed some of the more intricate and creative aspects of his role, for example coming up with costumes for He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named.
The designer spoke about Voldemort’s outfit choices in the later films, explaining he was seen in ‘layers of green silk’ which created ‘floating shapes and movement, while being powerful’. Guinci appreciated Voldemort’s green wardrobe ‘as opposed to the obvious black option’, and the colour also served to remind viewers of the villain’s link to his faithful snake, Nagini.
Though there are a wealth of characters and outfits seen throughout the Harry Potter films, Guinci did have some favourite costumes, and he’s revealed that he used his power as a designer to include some Easter Eggs in the movies.
Fellow costume designer Jany Temime was responsible for giving the Quidditch costumes a ‘sporty’ look with ‘those nylon burgundy and gold gowns’, but when Guinci began work on the films he wanted to ‘add a modern twist’.
When I worked on the Quidditch costume illustrations on HP3, David Beckham was number 7, so, looking at the new turn that the Quidditch outfit was taking, I added a “7” on the back, as per the football teams and David.
I am very pleased this made it to the film and stayed on the outfits.
Alongside the Quidditch costumes, another of Guinci’s favourite outfits is Snape’s ‘iconic’, ‘beautifully tailored’ suit.
The designer described the professor’s classic clothing as ‘strict, magical and powerful’, and drew attention to an easily-missed detail in the costume – the fact that the cloak has its tail cut into the shape of a snake’s tongue, in honour of his Slytherin house.
See a glimpse of the design below:
Guinci acknowledged that characters’ costumes are typically only seen ‘for a minute or so’ in the films, but fans can get a closer look during immersive experiences such as the studio tour or at theme parks.
There, fans see the costumes ‘at arm’s length’, meaning ‘the details are very important, front and back.’
The designer continued:
We, with the team, do introduce here and there some intriguing details. It could be a tiny skull button to embellish a wizard shirt, a subtle camouflage print featuring main elements from an IP (intellectual Property), or even a brand logo disguised in a self-pattern.
We also love Easter eggs – there have been instances where our whole teams’ initials have been hidden in clothing, and I’ll let you in on a little secret… my initials are included on one of Hagrid’s motorbike plate, in the ‘Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure’ ride at Universal Orlando.
Guinci is particularly proud of his contribution to the character of Dumbledore, who was given a ‘new’ design when Gambon joined the franchise. The creator helped design the wizard’s ‘silky, heavily embroidered, layered robes’ that revealed a ‘certain sensibility despite his position of power’, and the resulting look is another of Guinci’s favourites.
Guinci got into costume design after being inspired by Jean Paul Gaultier in the late 80s and 90s. He did some design work for Mourad Mazouz, founder of MOMO Restaurant, in the late 90s, began creating his own T-shirts, and eventually was noticed by Temime, who gave him his break into the film industry at the time.
The designer went on to found LOLO Creative and ‘expanded to encompass multiple disciplines in the costume and clothing world’, becoming a vendor for clients such as Universal with credits including The Hulk, Volcano Bay, Harry Potter and the upcoming Universal Park Beijing.
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