Capitol Fashion Comes to Life

Capitol Fashion Comes to Life

Photo Credit: Just Jared Inc.

And it thankfully doesn’t channel Tigris

Lauren Sarney, Senior Staff Writer 

As of November 17, 2023, The Hunger Games series has been reborn from the ashes. Its newest addition, the prequel that explains (but refuses to forgive) President Snow’s later actions, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, has generated significant buzz in the week that it has been out. The cast has hit the blood-red carpets and X (formerly Twitter) has weighed in.  

There was a parade of notable attire — Rachel Zegler, the film’s star, wore a gorgeous black gown that seeped into crimson at the tail for the Berlin premiere, representative of Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark’s opening ceremony costumes from the first novel. Sofia Sanchez, who plays a tribute, impressed in a summery yellow dress adorned with periwinkle butterflies at the same event. Even Tom Blyth’s now infamous suit sans jacket look for the L.A. carpet sparked debate. However, Hunter Schafer has undoubtedly taken the cake in terms of best looks overall.  

Schafer’s colourful dress of choice for the Berlin tour resembled crystallized slivers of acrylic paint. Her London premiere outfit saw her in tufts of melted metallic gold that somehow steered clear of resembling baking foil, and even her appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon was a hit. She dazzled in a two-piece floral moment that felt as classic as it did contemporary. As many X users noted, such striking looks were welcome but in great contrast with the movie, which from the trailer appears to be interesting but gray.  

In a recent Entertainment Weekly Magazine publication, writer Amy Wilkinson noted that director Francis Lawrence intended for the movie to be set in a period of gloom, similar to that of post-WWII Berlin. With that in mind, and without the fanfare-filled garb of the first movies in sequences set in the Capitol, the movie does look aesthetically dreary (though the plot, for its merit, is anything but).  

Even still, there remain some standout pieces from the film. Most notably might be Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth)’s red suit: scarlet in colour, with a buttoned, blue-tinted white shirt underneath, the real sell of this outfit is the equally red skirt overtop the pants. Effortless and chic, as well as smart: red has been a staple colour across all films, meant to symbolize rebellion and inner strife (both of which Snow struggles with in the film, caught between wanting to continue his family’s legacy whilst trying to protect his budding love).  

There are also a few great looks from Lucy Gray Baird (Rachel Zegler). However, the fashion from the film pales in overall comparison to that of the original movies — recall the tributes’ entrance costumes in the first film, Katniss’ all-black attire and iconic side braid, all of Effie Trinkets’ bajillion fabulous fits — which leaves audiences left to pilfer through promotional content.  

X, unsurprisingly, jumped at the chance to pull these outfits apart — the Tom Blyth situation cannot be mentioned enough, poor guy — but against the backdrop of the movie’s message it feels almost hypocritical. Katniss always found the pomp of the Capitol to be irrelevant, so is it antithetical to the point of the films that we care this much about such extraneous details? Or do we owe it to ourselves to revel in the levity that comes with fun fashion? At the end of the day, no matter what your feelings are on these outfits, tyranny, or mockingjays, one thing is made apparent from The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes: don’t trust men with ultra-blond hair. (Although perhaps this should have been established already from the Harry Potter series. Ah, well.)