In what comes as a surprise to no one, "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" vanquished the competition at the box office over its opening weekend with a $145 million haul. While yes, the second installment of the Chris Pratt-led superhero misfits franchise returned with more fight scenes and plenty of snarky humor — this time, Dave Bautista's socially awkward Drax gets to show his comic chops with some kickass one-liners — "GoTG2" switched things with a Marvel movie more about feelings. There's even a new character, Mantis (Pom Klementieff), whose superpower is literally empathy (she's an Empath) and the ridiculously adorable Baby Groot (voiced again by national treasure Vin Diesel) will seriously give you all the feels, as well as more villains, like the pure-gold embodiment of perfection, Ayesha (an excellent Elizabeth Debicki). A mind-boggling amount of Easter eggs and superstar cameos abound — plus, fresh new costumes by Judianna Makovsky.
The three-time Oscar nominee, who also designed both "Captain America" installments, plus the two upcoming "Avengers" movies, took a break from the Marvel set to chat with Fashionista about Peter Quill (Pratt)'s blue graphic shirt that launched a million Reddit threads, her grittier take on the Guardians supersuits, originally designed by Alexandra Byrne (even saucy raccoon Rocket, voiced by Bradley Cooper, gets a new look), and — OMG — Baby Groot's mini-Ravager outfit. Awww....
First, we need to know, what's the real story behind Peter Quill's blue long sleeve graphic shirt that's causing so much speculation? What's the meaning behind it?
I think people are reading a lot more into it [laughs]. When I first started the film, [director] James Gunn said he wanted to give everybody more of a cool rock star feeling and I said, "Well, usually that means a graphic T-shirt." He went, "Perfect, I want a graphic T-shirt." So we did a lot of graphics that would advertise either products or candy and we actually used alphabet [from the "Klyn" language] from his first film. It's very simple; it says "Gear Shift" on it. [Note: Redditors were correct!]
You mentioned James Gunn wanted everyone to look "a bit more rock 'n' roll." How did you incorporate that to the updates in Star-Lord's jackets?
The costumes in the first movie were absolutely brilliant, but I think James wanted to go from there and make them a little bit more real, and like I said, have a bit more of a rock star feel to it. So they were a little more slim-fit and just a little bit more reality-based, rather than superhero-based. In keeping with the same techniques that the clothes were made in the first film, we just went from there and did new versions that were a little more slim, a little less crazy.
We meet new characters in this movie, namely high priestess Ayesha and her super-advanced galactic race, the Sovereign. Ayesha looks a bit different in the comics. From where did you pull inspiration for her look, especially the spectacular gown she wears initially?
We wanted to do a riff on the set, after working with the production designer [Scott Chambliss]. I wanted it to have a very metallic and intricate feel. One of the things that James Gunn said is that 'everything in the world is gold.' But we didn't want it to look like Las Vegas. So it wasn't going to be sequin-sparkly, anything like that. But also, we wanted something that was quite sexy as well as being armor. We were also paying a bit of homage to Flash Gordon. Everybody seems to love Flash Gordon, so I wanted to keep it in that world.
It was very interesting to try and keep that world from going Vegas. After a while, we decided we couldn't do all the clothes in gold because it would look like a show. So we decided to throw in navy blue and brown to pull it down to be more real, and for the Handmaidens not to use anything sparkly or shiny. Their dresses are actually gold leather.
What textures and techniques went into Ayesha's gown?
It has a base that has a metallic beading on it, but not like a regular bead, and over it is a lot of leather work. There's some metal in there and a lot of molding. But mostly it's a lot of leatherwork. We tried more metal in the beginning and it was too heavy. [Debicki] could barely stand up when she had to sit and stand up. She's also wearing five-inch platform shoes and she's already six-foot-three. So we had to take the weight of the dress into consideration when we made it. People had to help her to the set because, to have that skirt fan out like a tulip, people had to walk behind her to carry it for her. We had two versions of skirt: one for sitting and one for standing. One that would fully tulip all the way around and one that was flatter in the back. So it was pretty either way.
What was the inspiration behind Mantis's costume?
She's a new character, and James has a very definite opinion and a style that he likes that's usually very simple and graphic. I got to go in a different direction on Ayesha, but [Mantis] is pretty much taken from the comics. It was just a matter of finding a technique with the leather to make it more interesting than just a flat leather panel of skirt. Woven leather in there was fun to do. There's an open-work, woven, double face leather; it's black and green and twists and petals up the arm.
Did you have to make a real costume for Baby Groot, even though he's mostly CGI?
Oh yes, we made the costumes. We sketched it out in our shop and then we made it the same way we made the regular Ravager costumes. We had printed fabric made to scale, just like we do the big ones, and we had to find zippers and things, all to scale. A woman in our shop, Dorothy Bulac, made it. Like you're making doll clothes, we had a little maquette, which is a little tiny doll version, and it's the same thing we do for Rocket. They used them on the set for the actors to relate to, so that's why we made full costumes for them. I have to say, to dress Baby Groot was everybody's favorite thing.