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Did You Ever Notice... Frodo's Return to the Shire Costume?

Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Mar 29 2009, 4:23am

Post #1 of 14 (4836 views)
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Did You Ever Notice... Frodo's Return to the Shire Costume? Can't Post


This is one of those costumes that we don't have a lot of information for, sadly. But the ROTK EE galleries give us a lot of pictures to play with.

From Ngila Dickson, via The Art of ROTK:

"Frodo's costume for this scene represented clothing gifted to the Hobbits from the Elves, to honor their heroism and send them home in grand manner. Much experimentation went into these fabrics. These pieces were filmed very early in film one, and we had been working in quite complex over dye techniques, looking for lush color with an antique quality. We carried this idea even further by using a bleach paste to create the design in the velvet. It is a very difficult medium, with many attempts needed to get close to an even result. However, in this case, its very unevenness worked for us, helping to create the sense of jewel-like coloring and faded grandness. The beautiful green and purple colors used in these costumes were perfect for Frodo, with those exceptional eyes."

The first layer of this costume is a pair of grey velvet pants (which wouldn't be my first choice for riding) and a cheap black shirt with some unusual sleeves attached. Because the shirt would never be seen, they used a cheap black cotton instead of a better (and more expensive) fabric.





What I first took to be some sort of metallic knit fabric I now believe is very, very fine chainmail. Unless, of course, it's a metallic fabric that's meant to mimic chainmail. Wink If better pictures exist to confirm what these sleeves are, I'd love to find them one day.



And then we get this fabulous tunic. It's a silk velvet fabric that's been printed with a bleach paste, which strips the color out of the fabric wherever it's used.



The buttons are a swirl of gold wire. I'm fairly sure that these are only decorative as you can see hooks and eyes above and below them that would actually be holding the shirt closed.



Note the Elvish shape of the sleeve.



And then we get this fantastic velvet cape.



It's built very differently than the Fellowship cloaks. Those were made with a semi-circle of fabric. This has a large gore in the back, a triangular piece of fabric that adds bulk to the cloak but allows you to use less fabric. This cloak also comes over the shoulder and would close all the way down in front, unlike the Fellowship cloaks.



It's not a hood in the back, but a cowl, a sort of gathered collar.



I don't think the decoration on this cape is the same as the tunic. Rather than a bleach paste, I think this is devore, a technique that uses chemicals to strip the fuzzy part (the nap) from the velvet. Again, I'd love to find better pictures to prove it (or the actual garment, itself Cool). And how could they not use the Lorien clasp?



The outfit is topped off with Sting.



Sadly, I have no where to send you guys for more pictures or details.

So, any thoughts?



Did You Ever Notice? is a series taking a look at the detail in LOTR one costume at a time. It follows no particular schedule and no particular order. You can always find previous discussions over at my Costume Discussion Archive.



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Ataahua
Superuser / Moderator


Mar 29 2009, 4:52am

Post #2 of 14 (3668 views)
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I'm always surprised [In reply to] Can't Post

by how much detail there are these costumes than what we can readily pick up on screen. I couldn't have told you if there was a pattern to Frodo's green tunic - or even if it *was* green, given the bare seconds we saw it in the movie. Yet the costumers worked how long on getting this right?

Talk about your attention to detail.

By the way, why wouldn't velvet be your first choice of riding pants? Is it because of lack of comfort, or the material not being particularly hard-wearing, or something else?

Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauronís master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded b*****d with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.


Ataahua's stories


debo
Rohan

Mar 29 2009, 5:41am

Post #3 of 14 (3787 views)
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Beautiful!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Actually I love all the Return to the Shire costumes- they are so sumptuous.

Thanks for researching this! I love these clothing threads, it reminds me how much work went in to this movie which we love.

SmileSmile

Frodo; "What I chiefly need now is courage . . ."


Elizabeth
Half-elven


Mar 29 2009, 8:25am

Post #4 of 14 (3709 views)
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Far more detail than necessary. [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
by how much detail there are these costumes than what we can readily pick up on screen. I couldn't have told you if there was a pattern to Frodo's green tunic - or even if it *was* green, given the bare seconds we saw it in the movie. Yet the costumers worked how long on getting this right?

Talk about your attention to detail.

I saw several exhibitions of genuine movie costumes at the The Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in LA (they have an exhibition every spring of costumes that are or might be nominated for Oscars, and I saw both the TTT costumes and RotK costumes). It was absolutely extraordinary how much more detail is apparent in Ngila's costumes than is customary. Most costumes do not hold up well in bright light or close scrutiny. Hers look better the closer you examine them!

This is a good example.





The Rohirrim, by Peter Xavier Price

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'


Elven
Valinor


Mar 29 2009, 1:05pm

Post #5 of 14 (3589 views)
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The Deluxe Outfit! .... [In reply to] Can't Post

It looks truely royal - I love this outfit.
Where these the outfits we see the Hobbit wearing when they are all together having a publicity photo done early on when the first film came out? I need to find the pic. I think they're on a grassy slope in Hobbiton with a cart behind them, or maybe its Bage End ... hmmm ...

The sketch looks like Merry. I wonder if the costume was changed to be Frodos. The sketch also has a hood on the cape, where as the Frodo's cape does not in the final version he wares. I wonder why.

I love the bleach paste effect. Clever Ngila and her team. What a job it must have been getting that even with the velvet fibres all moving.

Im not sure about the V in the back of the cape - I actually like the other cuts - like Arwens powder blue cape - and the roundness and the fullness of the other cloaks. Unfortunately it looks like material had to be added instead of it being part of the design. Maybe its the photo too.

The material for the sleeves I think is like a lycra. I had a top like in 1998 Blush - and it was disc gold (gag). Very comfortable to wear though. It wasn't a heavy material, it seems to be made/creased like this - when I washed it it just bounced back into shape and looked 2 sizes too small, but stretched out when on and sat neatly.
Dont know for sure if its the exact thing but looks similar. At the base of the sleeve in the photo you can see where it has been cut off and there's no hem - but I pretty sure its material and not maille.

I love the idea of the gold wire buttons too! They work really well with the colours of the pants shirt and cloak - better than silver.

I would love to see this costume for real.

I did see the LOTR world exhibition and some of the costumes - but I dont think this one went on tour Frown

Thankyou Arwen's Daughter! Heart
Wonderful Choice!

Cheers
Elven x


Swishtail.

Tolkien was a Capricorn!!
Russell Crowe for Beorn!!

Avatar: Liberace - The other Lord of the Rings.

Quote of The Week: The thing is I always write in the morning, and I know that if I go to the Net I wonít write ... you can start in the most scholarly website and end up at Paris Hilton dot com .. GdT


grammaboodawg
Immortal


Mar 29 2009, 1:10pm

Post #6 of 14 (3642 views)
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I've got a couple of pics [In reply to] Can't Post

of the 4 Hobbits in their Elven clothes.



shot: Hobbits on the Hill





And another variation of them is when they're sitting in front of a door. If you look closely at Frodo's hand. In the first shot, he's relaxed, but notice the second shot. Elijah's having a bit of fun messing with Dom who obviously is having trouble keeping a straight face.





You can really see Merry and Pippin's gloves here, but not much of Frodo's outfit.

I wish so much they could have left this part of the story in the films. To watch the Hobbits as they come to that hill and look down onto Hobbiton and the Hill would have been such an emotional moment after all they'd been through.

Thank you so much for these. I never realized how exquisite Frodo's Elven outfit is... but I have to say I was tearing looking so closely at it. It reminds me a lot of Legolas' patterns and material as well as the elven-leaf-motif of the sleeves (like Legolas' boots); which is very fitting (pardon the pun).

Thank you so much for this. I really do cherish your in-depth focus and appreciation for these costumes... now so much a part of each character's identities, imho.



sample

"Barney Snow was here." ~Hug like a hobbit!~ "In my heaven..."

I really need these new films to take me back to, and not re-introduce me to, that magical world.



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squire
Half-elven


Mar 29 2009, 1:58pm

Post #7 of 14 (3628 views)
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Nice! but... [In reply to] Can't Post

As beautifully executed as the costume is, I question the choice of Elvish style. I would have thought that Frodo's clothes for his return journey had come from Gondor. When did the hobbits pass through an Elvish land for costuming? Or why assume that the Elves coming to the wedding would think to bring fitted clothes for the hobbits? One can say they did, of course, but why go that route? In the book Frodo and Sam are clothed by the servants of King Elessar, in Ithilien, after their rescue, and the film could well have stuck with that.

People have commented on the detail as being excessive; Dickson is simply being professional. Unlike stage costume, which can never be seen up close by an audience, a film costume is potentially available for close-ups, sometimes extreme close-ups, which cannot be predicted just by reading the script. The director can change the shots at any time. Similarly with the idea of removing layers; you just can never know. Look at Gandalf during the Palantir scene; did the costume designer know that Gandalf would have to remove his outer robes for that scene? Maybe yes, maybe no, but when the design process was taking place it only made sense to be prepared for anything.

Finally, and this is not to do with the costumes, Dickson's sketches follow the incomplete handling of the problem of the hobbits' hairy feet, by the character designer (specifically hair and make-up). The hair on the prosthetics only occupies the tops of the arches of the feet. The rest of the feet are naked. As weird as it seems, I believe Tolkien meant it when he said that hobbits don't wear shoes because their feet are covered with warm wooly hair just like on their heads. The feet should look like hairy shoes, only with toes peeping out in front.



squire online:
RR Discussions: The Valaquenta, A Shortcut to Mushrooms, and Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
Lights! Action! Discuss on the Movie board!: 'A Journey in the Dark'. and 'Designing The Two Towers'.
Footeramas: The 3rd TORn Reading Room LotR Discussion; and "Tolkien would have LOVED it!"
squiretalk introduces the J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: A Reader's Diary


batik
Tol Eressea


Mar 29 2009, 4:22pm

Post #8 of 14 (3591 views)
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great find!... [In reply to] Can't Post

at least for me. Never even noticed that awesome tunic ( and seeing garmets like that makes me wish I could sew!)
I do connect the black and grey of the shirt and pants with Gondor--but the shirt is pretty 'blah'. That white/silver undershirt reminds me of the 'body armor' lots of football players wear these days Wink except the material is smooth, not ribbed.
Tunic and cloak--fantastic! Could the idea here have been that these garmets were added as the travelers passed through Rivendell on their return to the Shire?


Jazmine
Tol Eressea


Mar 29 2009, 4:23pm

Post #9 of 14 (3589 views)
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I do love the Hobbits outfits when they return home [In reply to] Can't Post

They all look rather dishy and dapper. And they look grown up, which was perhaps the point!


*Jazminatar the Brown*


Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Mar 29 2009, 4:51pm

Post #10 of 14 (3581 views)
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Well... [In reply to] Can't Post

Silk velvet is a very delicate fabric. If you apply enough pressure to it, the pile of the fabric, the fuzzy part, crushes. And on silk velvet that means it leaves behind a large, flat, shiny patch that's fairly noticable and cannot be removed. It's a gorgeous fabric, but it's not for the active.



My LiveJournal
My Costuming Site
TORn's Costume Discussions Archive
The Screencap of the Day Schedule for April


Arwen's daughter
Half-elven


Mar 29 2009, 5:10pm

Post #11 of 14 (3594 views)
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Some thoughts [In reply to] Can't Post

    

In Reply To
As beautifully executed as the costume is, I question the choice of Elvish style. I would have thought that Frodo's clothes for his return journey had come from Gondor. When did the hobbits pass through an Elvish land for costuming? Or why assume that the Elves coming to the wedding would think to bring fitted clothes for the hobbits? One can say they did, of course, but why go that route? In the book Frodo and Sam are clothed by the servants of King Elessar, in Ithilien, after their rescue, and the film could well have stuck with that.



Personally, I don't think the designers thought this one through. I also would have preferred to see them in Gondorian clothing, but the filmmakers, I suspect, wanted the richest clothing they could put on the Hobbits. And in the universe they created, that means Elves.


In Reply To
People have commented on the detail as being excessive; Dickson is simply being professional. Unlike stage costume, which can never be seen up close by an audience, a film costume is potentially available for close-ups, sometimes extreme close-ups, which cannot be predicted just by reading the script. The director can change the shots at any time. Similarly with the idea of removing layers; you just can never know. Look at Gandalf during the Palantir scene; did the costume designer know that Gandalf would have to remove his outer robes for that scene? Maybe yes, maybe no, but when the design process was taking place it only made sense to be prepared for anything.



You're right, of course. And Ngila mentions several times how unpredictable PJ was as a director. With things always changing and being rewritten, her team had to make sure they were prepared for anything. Some directors have every scene planned out to the point that the costumers only have to build half a costume. Others will build only half a costume and tell the director they have to shoot around it. Ngila did what she had to in order to give PJ freedom in his shots.


In Reply To
Finally, and this is not to do with the costumes, Dickson's sketches follow the incomplete handling of the problem of the hobbits' hairy feet, by the character designer (specifically hair and make-up). The hair on the prosthetics only occupies the tops of the arches of the feet. The rest of the feet are naked. As weird as it seems, I believe Tolkien meant it when he said that hobbits don't wear shoes because their feet are covered with warm wooly hair just like on their heads. The feet should look like hairy shoes, only with toes peeping out in front.



The filmmakers had to decide between accuracy and aesthetics on many occasions. Whether or not they chose correctly, I don't know. But I think that much more hair on their feet would have been more comic than the filmmakers wanted. Honestly, considered the problems they had with the feet, I'm surpised they went as far as they did.



My LiveJournal
My Costuming Site
TORn's Costume Discussions Archive
The Screencap of the Day Schedule for April


weaver
Half-elven

Mar 30 2009, 3:02am

Post #12 of 14 (3582 views)
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Kind of like a prom dress... [In reply to] Can't Post

The kind of thing you only wear once!

I love the look of the hobbits in these dress-up clothes; and the little bit of them we see is enough to show how different they are than the rest of the Shirefolk.

I've never seen any of the details on these outfits before, so thanks. I like the Elven look for "Elf-friend" Frodo, that seems fitting.

Weaver



weaver
Half-elven

Mar 30 2009, 3:10am

Post #13 of 14 (3585 views)
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if you check out the photos gramma posted in this thread... [In reply to] Can't Post

...from what I can tell, Merry's outfit looks Rohanish and Pippin's wearing his Gondorian outfit, under the velvet cloaks.

Sam and Frodo are the most Elvish-attired, which I can live with. To explain it, I guess I'll just use some Phillipa Boyens-logic, and say that a side trip to the Elves for a new wardrobe falls in the same category as visiting with Tom Bombadil -- "just because we didn't show it doesn't mean it didn't happen"...

Weaver



OhioHobbit
Gondor

Mar 31 2009, 11:33pm

Post #14 of 14 (3614 views)
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I think Frodo looks really sharp. [In reply to] Can't Post

I particularly like the front view of the cape. The Elven brooch and the design down each edge look wonderfully elegant. I think that capes should come back in style. I have heard Ngila Dickson talk about over dye techniques lots of times, but I think that this is the first time I have come across printing with a bleach paste. Bleach paste? That sounds interesting.

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