Making clothes fashioned from animal skin is nothing new. But making clothes out of insect skin (the technical term would be exoskeletons)? That’s not as common. So we were intrigued to learn that this couture turquoise chiffon gown created for Charlize Theron‘s evil Queen Ravena in Snow White and the Huntsman features ornate dung beetle detailing. You read that right: Dung beetles.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, costume designer Colleen Atwood was just trolling around Thailand searching for inspiration and “unique materials” when she came across mounds of the discarded iridescent shells at a flea market. Atwood, who won her last Oscar for her Alice in Wonderland costumes, told the Washington Post that it took 50 workers to sew literally thousands of beetle wings to the gown, which, in the end, only gets a few seconds of dimly-lit screen time.
Thankfully, no poop-eating insects were actually harmed in the name of fashion alone. Dung beetles are farmed and eaten for their protein in Thailand (chill, PETA). But not everyone went unscathed. Dung beetle shells are actually razor-sharp and sewers were forced to wear protective gloves when dealing with the bugs, which Atwood described as “treacherous.” Even so, we still hope they washed their hands with some really, really strong soap afterwards.