In Tarsem Singh's new Snow White adaptation, Mirror Mirror, Oscar-winning designer Eiko Ishioka (1992's Dracula) created costumes that elevate the Grimm brothers' fairy tale to a visually stunning cinematic experience. The sheer size of the clothing is staggering, with several handmade gowns for the Evil Queen (Julia Roberts) and Snow White (Lily Collins) measuring more than 6 feet in circumference and made from 25 to 35 yards of fabric with huge wire cages underneath. Ishioka, who died of pancreatic cancer Jan. 21 at age 73, collaborated on all of Singh's films, beginning with his dreamlike The Cell in 2000. "From the moment I worked with Eiko, there was no going back if you wanted something fantastic," says Singh. During production, the Japanese designer was undergoing chemotherapy. Even so, recalls the director: "She had only two speeds, full-throttle or stop. We never had to wait for costumes." For Mirror Mirror, due out March 30 from Relativity, Ishioka oversaw the creation of 400 original costumes and the rental and altering of 600 more. Aside from casual conversations with the director and producers, the costumes were solely Ishioka's concepts. For Snow White, the designer highlighted the character's connection to nature, including a ball gown with swan wings that suggests a wish to escape the cruel Queen. By contrast, all of Roberts' gowns feature sharp, strong shoulders, high necks and jagged sliced fabric to give a feeling of sharpness and danger. Although the designer never saw the final cut of the film, Collins recalls seeing an engrossed Ishioka watch the monitor during the grand ball scene, filled with extras in gigantic, surreal animal costumes. "She was seeing all of her incredible creations all together, and it must have been so amazing and thrilling," says Collins. "But she was always so humble. All she did was smile."
Oscar-winning costume designer Eiko Ishioka re-created a modern-day Snow White for Lily Collins and Julia Roberts -- but passed away before ever seeing the film.
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