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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Movie Discussion: The Lord of the Rings:
Did You Ever Notice... Arwen's Coronation Gown?

Arwen's daughter

Feb 10 2008, 9:15pm

Post #1 of 24 (8860 views)
Did You Ever Notice... Arwen's Coronation Gown? Can't Post

From the Art of ROTK: "Fran and Peter had asked that the coronation gown be green, to represent new beginnings. So for the dye house it was the beginning of a long search for the perfect green--it had to suit Liv, while not being too bright or too dark. The fabric is silk velvet, the signature fabric for Arwen. The neckline and sleeve decoration is heavily beaded silk, overdyed, and then overbeaded again, to give richer design detail--all in silver. The undersleeve is silk mousseline, dyed a soft lemon. Somehow the lemon added an ethereal quality to the arms and hands that a more matched shade couldn't achieve. It speaks to the organic nature of costume making - keeping an open mind and constantly experimenting until all parts come together."

This part is similar in structure to two other gowns Liv wears in ROTK. There is a sea foam green velvet sleeveless jumper and an underdress with embroidery on the neckline and upper part of the sleeves. The lower half of the sleeves are a half circle of velvet with a second layer of yellow silk. I can't explain the two layers better than this site which has made a study of this dress. I've worn a costume with sleeves like these, and I can asuure you that they are not easy to work with!

We talked some about color with Eowyn's coronation gown. This is a very unusual choice of color for a coronation gown. Ngila once said that she was horriied that they would have to work with green because it's not a color that suits Liv well. They had to try out dozens of greens to find the right color. They needed something with enough blue to look good on Liv, but enough yellow that it was still green. In a couple of these images it looks lime green, but it's much more of a sea foam color. The first image is Ngila's concept art of this dress and the crown.

And let's not forget about that crown! From Art of ROTK: "The crown's design began with a drawing of mine that followed the theme of a butterfly's wing. I had a strong vision for this crown: it needed to have the veinlike quality, with the sense of a stained glass window to the color, and the beading was to drape in three layers around her Elven ears -- to emphasize these delicate Elven features. Jasmine Watson, the jewelry designer, and I worked closely for three weeks on this crown. My original desing winged out, but we found that the crown had a more interesting quality when it sat closer to the head. Jasmine's work on this crown took it to an extraordinary level, allowing a dream to be realized, that an Elven queen's crown would be like no other."

As always, I refer you to AlleyCatScratch and the Costumer's Guide for more pictures and information.

So, what do you think of this dress?

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Feb 11 2008, 12:40am

Post #2 of 24 (6849 views)
I saw it in an exhibition [In reply to] Can't Post

...of movie costumes in Los Angeles in the spring of 2004. There were costumes from about 15 2003 movies at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, including all the nominees for the costume Oscar plus others. As I recall there were 10-12 RotK costumes included, including (in addition to this one) Galadriel's gown, Aragorn's coronation armor, the King of the Dead, and some others.

What was most impressive about the exhibition was the level of detail in Ngila's work (she was also represented by the Last Samurai that year) compared with all other costumers. Nobody gave her the message that "these are just costumes". They are so richly detailed, even in ways that couldn't possibly show on the screen. In contrast, other costumes use vinyl instead of leather, plastic, cheap fabrics and shoddy construction.

This was an incredibly beautiful gown.

Whew, that was fun.

Elizabeth is the TORnsib formerly known as 'erather'

Ainu Laire
Tol Eressea

Feb 11 2008, 1:57am

Post #3 of 24 (6827 views)
This was on display at ComicCon 04 [In reply to] Can't Post

It, along with many other different costumes, were all there for fans to see. Even there you could see the incredible amount of detail put into the outfit.

I wonder where all of those costumes are now? They should be put up on display permanently.

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Feb 11 2008, 3:36am

Post #4 of 24 (6815 views)
Gorgeous [In reply to] Can't Post

The amount of time and effort that has gone into this gown and crown is incredible. To think every other costume in LOTR had so much time taken over them when it is maybe only on for a second or two in the movie. I guess is wasn't just the clothes it was all the props. This is what sets LOTR apart from other movies, in my opinion. Smile


Feb 11 2008, 4:04am

Post #5 of 24 (6895 views)
I loved this gown the most [In reply to] Can't Post

of any costume in the movies. I love that color green and I think Ngila is a genius for finding it.


Feb 11 2008, 6:25am

Post #6 of 24 (6818 views)
Oh, so beautiful [In reply to] Can't Post

The detailing on the sleeve is just superb. I think Liv Tyler looks incredibly beautiful in this green - it obviously took a lot of thought to get exactly the right tone to suit her and I think it was successful.
Thank you for this. Smile


Feb 11 2008, 10:14am

Post #7 of 24 (6833 views)
No, of course not. That's what you're here for [In reply to] Can't Post

I never notice such things.
But I did pay you homage on main, in the Conspiracy Theories of last week.

"lesser men with spades might have served you better" - Boromir

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Tol Eressea

Feb 11 2008, 11:31am

Post #8 of 24 (6814 views)
Beautiful . . . [In reply to] Can't Post

This gown really worked for Liv, and the story. Throughout the films Arwen has been depressed, and to see her in this gown really brought out beauty and happiness.

This costume was really ment to be worn by Liv. I personally can't imagine anyone else wearing it, because it just doesn't seem to fit. That's what I like about this gown, it only works for one, and that is Liv. Smile

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-Gandalf from "The Return of the King"


Feb 11 2008, 7:26pm

Post #9 of 24 (6820 views)
My favorite Arwen attire, also... [In reply to] Can't Post

The color is perfect on her, and the headpiece beautifully matches the dress. They outdid themselves on this one.

Thanks so much for posting these -- as always!


Arwen's daughter

Feb 11 2008, 7:30pm

Post #10 of 24 (6781 views)
A permanent display would be fantastic! [In reply to] Can't Post

With plenty of room to walk around, and cameras and sketchbooks allowed. And a big, detailed, glossy catalog for us all to take home. Or even a LOTR costume book! After all, they did make one for the Star Wars prequel costumes.

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Feb 11 2008, 11:14pm

Post #11 of 24 (6817 views)
You mean there's a color she *can't* wear? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't believe it, she could wear a potato sack and look just as beautiful!

Thank you for these photos - I never got the full effect of the crown in this scene. It's just gorgeous, it's so intricate and I think the back is even more beautiful than the front. I wonder, did it just sit on her head or did they need to pin (or paste?) it in place? I imagine she wore a wig, or at least hair extensions of some kind?

And the gown... I get speechless at some of these costumes, the colors and the fabrics and the ornamentation, such a 'feast for the eyes'. I am left only wondering, how they feel to the touch. Sumptuous, I'm sure! I too would love to go to an exhibit of these costumes. It's very strange with all the knowledge of the films to be found here, that no one seems to know where a lot of these items are. I hope wherever they are they are packed for storage! Maybe they'll turn up someday at a museum exhibit.

I love the beautiful photos in these posts ... and the details you provide on what the artists put of themselves into making these costumes reminds me of the Elves, and how they "put the thought of all that [they] love into all that [they] make. "

Thanks Heart!

Arwen's daughter

Feb 12 2008, 1:30am

Post #12 of 24 (6783 views)
That green is beautiful [In reply to] Can't Post

When I'm working with dyes I keep a notebook with the dye recipe and a bit of the fabric attached. I have to wonder if any of the costumers ever kept swatches of the other greens they tested in a notebook or file somewhere. I'd love to see what other beautiful colors they may have passed up. But I'm sure I'm just dreaming... Smile

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Arwen's daughter

Feb 12 2008, 1:32am

Post #13 of 24 (6783 views)
Aw, thanks [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm just glad that others around here enjoy looking at these costumes as much as I do Blush

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Arwen's daughter

Feb 12 2008, 1:43am

Post #14 of 24 (6822 views)
Some more details on the crown [In reply to] Can't Post

Notes from the jeweler via the AlleyCatScratch page: Arwen's coronation crown is indeed in two pieces. The back piece is only connected to the front piece by the strings of hanging beads. The back is attached to the wig via little loops of elastic. She had to make it in two pieces because of time constraints - Liv arrived only 2 days before shooting and they couldn't afford the time to change the crown if it didn't fit (Liv apparently has a very oval head, and that plus the wig made her head shape unusual. Jasmine wanted a very specific placement of the crown along her hairline).

Arwen's coronation outfit is green to represent spring after a long winter. Jasmine tied this spring green color into the crown. The dangling beads had green in them, and there was green on the actual silver butterfly parts of the crown that looked like some kind of enamel. What this really was, however, was nail polish!! It was "expensive Dior polish", but still nail polish, whatever the price!

So it was attached to the wig. And they used nail polish to color it! I love learning details like this.

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The Shire

Feb 12 2008, 1:16pm

Post #15 of 24 (6785 views)
Wow [In reply to] Can't Post

I'm not much into jewellery normally, but I love that story for some reason. I also love that Arwen has a butterfly crown. I seem to remember Elrond wearing a butterfly in his hair in the FOTR.

This dress isn't my favourite of all her dresses, but it's really fabulous. They went through all the trouble and it really shows even if you don't have time to catch all the details when watching the film.


Feb 12 2008, 7:47pm

Post #16 of 24 (6793 views)
I love the nail polish story too [In reply to] Can't Post

And surprising, that they could use nail polish on those pieces and it didn't damage them.

I went back and looked at that photo and the back has a sort of iridescent light green color - I wonder how many layers of "Dior" it took Sly!


Feb 13 2008, 12:06pm

Post #17 of 24 (6738 views)
Green!! [In reply to] Can't Post

Not everyone can wear green - I know I cant - it makes me look seasick! ... but Liv's gown is beautiful!! an I remember when she first appeared from behind that banner - she was radiant!! and I have never seen nor described anyone wearing green velevet as that!! Her peach clear skin tones and dark hair, and sparkling eyes ... she di look as if she was wearing the first rain of Spring!

The crown is a lovely and just perfect for the coronation. I used to think that it was just slightly a bit too intricate, but Liv wears it beautifully. There are two butterflies on the crown - a full one at the back, and a wing on either side which sits above the width of the ear ... its body centre is the drop on her forehead ... and the tassle beading is designed to accentuate her ears - her Elvishness ...

I think the tassles are silver seed beads ... and possibly the other stones are dyed quartz chips, but its hard to tell ...

I love the crown piece - its so well designed!! So Elvish!!

Thankyou Arwen's Daughter for yet another wonderful thread on the costuming!

Elven x

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Feb 13 2008, 5:59pm

Post #18 of 24 (6754 views)
I love the colour [In reply to] Can't Post

It's so subtle and enchanting to me. But the headpiece is extraordinary! How perfect!

I so appreciate seeing this up close. Thank you for the work you put into pulling all of this information together. I love your costuming posts :D

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The Shire

Feb 13 2008, 6:43pm

Post #19 of 24 (6755 views)
How could you not notice it??? [In reply to] Can't Post

It is such a beautiful gown and so wonderful in the scene. I think it was quite brave of them to choose green, as the obvious colour choice would be white, but the green is so perfect because it is a very elven colour - back to nature and etc, as is the butterfly headpiece.

Lily Fairbairn

Feb 14 2008, 3:58pm

Post #20 of 24 (6730 views)
I wonder... [In reply to] Can't Post

If Tolkien implied green was the elven color because traditionally green is the color of fairies. Or of Faerie, not quite the same thing.

* * * * * * *
Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in the daylight?

A man may do both. For not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time. The green earth, say you? That is a mighty matter of legend, though you tread it under the light of day!"

mae govannen
Tol Eressea

Feb 16 2008, 12:11pm

Post #21 of 24 (6718 views)
Green as Spring...! That's just what I was thinking [In reply to] Can't Post

while looking at those beautiful pictures and the feeling they gave me!... And now I read in your post that indeed this green was meant to give precisely that 'Spring' feeling!!!
To me it is like the colour of a tender, velvety, happy bud just starting to grow after the hardships of a long Winter... Heart
It goes so well also with the feeling of renewal that comes from the White Tree blossoming again, and the Promise of new life that Arwens' vision of her future son Eldarion has meant for her...

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Feb 17 2008, 6:59am

Post #22 of 24 (6707 views)
My favorite as well [In reply to] Can't Post

Liv wears it so well, as she does anything, really. The crown is so beautiful, and it is a perfect match for Elessar's crown. They make a perfest couple, both the people and the costumes.

Thanks for putting together these posts, Arwen's daughter! I enjoy them, even if I don't comment.

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Feb 21 2008, 1:05pm

Post #23 of 24 (6694 views)
Wow, how many pictures you must have taken!! [In reply to] Can't Post

What a gorgeous, mouth-wateringly, eye-poppingly beautiful exhibition that must have been Shocked! I can only imagine what you must have seen, all the colors, all the fabrics .... wow. And there were 10-12 ROTK costumes - is that the largest collection there has been shown in one place? From the conversations in these costume discussions, it seems that there is no central location where these costumes are stored ... no permanent exhibitions...

That is interesting too that Ngila's work in the Last Samurai was so superior to all the others. I wonder if again it is that Hollywood vs non-Hollywood mentality (in New Zealand) that just creates and fosters such creativity. As you said very well - "nobody gave her the message that these were just costumes."

Did you get a book from the exhibit, anything like that?

Runk Snusgrop

Jul 5 2009, 9:18pm

Post #24 of 24 (6693 views)
Re: Did You Ever Notice... Arwen's Coronation Gown? [In reply to] Can't Post

I love those sleeves! So sexy... Blush


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