Think Progress has an article about the challenges of costume design for Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
What would you wear to the end of the world? What about the start of a brave new one?
If you’re prepping your end-of-days attire, the best person to consult would be Ane Crabtree, the costume designer for the highly anticipated Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. The novel, first published in 1985, is now one of several dystopian classics to climb the bestseller charts in the wake of the 2016 election; the Hulu series premieres on April 16.
For the uninitiated, The Handmaid’s Tale imagines an America ruled by a puritanical patriarchy — the Constitution was suspended and ultimately discarded amid mass disease, infertility, and panic — in which women, all prisoners in their own way, are divided by caste. Handmaids are, in theory, the most valuable resource left: They’re the only women who can still bear children. After a violent initiation-slash-brainwashing period, each is assigned to Commanders with infertile wives, forced to conceive and bear children they must immediately give away, or be killed.
Atwood has said one of her rules in writing the novel was to “not put any events into the book that had not already happened in what James Joyce called the ‘nightmare’ of history, nor any technology not already available. No imaginary gizmos, no imaginary laws, no imaginary atrocities.” The story continues to captivate because of how possible it all feels, how prescient and close.
Crabtree had the formidable task of outfitting the world of the novel, known as Gilead, one that readers had already imagined and that plenty of viewers have already seen in some format or another; The Handmaid’s Tale has been adapted many times over since its publication over 30 years ago on film, in theater, even as a ballet, and that doesn’t even include the movie each reader imagines as she experiences book for herself.
She spoke with ThinkProgress by phone about designing for the series, the thinking behind each uniform, and why she thinks men who attempt to control women will be “foiled at every turn.”
Very interesting article! I was going to include more photos, but as my horribleshittygodsdamnfuckingverizon pos is barely connecting today, you’ll have to click over for more!