Costume Design

'Divergent' Costume Designer Breaks Down the Factions' Looks

"Everything you see in the movie has been made, except some shoes -- and the underwear," says Carlo Poggioli.
FROM LEFT: Zoe Kravitz as Christina in her Candor uniform and Shailene Woodley as Tris in her Abnegation outfit before taking a leap to become Dauntless.
Summit Entertainment

With five factions in Divergent, costume designer Carlo Poggioli was tasked with creating thousands of costumes for the Summit film based on Veronica Roth's best-selling YA novel. To capture each group's virtue, Poggioli worked on designing nearly every outfit by incorporating certain costume features that reflected their traits.

"There are thousands of costumes and everything you see in the movie has been made, except some shoes that we had to buy -- and the underwear," Poggioli tells Pret-a-Reporter. "From the belts to bracelets, everything has been made for us." Poggioli had his costumes -- which required more than 50,000 yards of fabric -- made in workshops around the globe, including in Rome, Budapest, Bucharest, Chicago and Los Angeles.

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To understand each faction's signature look, Poggioli breaks down the details for us.

Abnegation (The Selfless)

"We know the Abnegation are modest, civil servants, so I went with a simple shape for them," says Poggioli with his hearty Italian accent. "But of course, we had to find something special in the fabric with different shades of gray. The cut is very simple, but features special stitching." Poggioli used materials like wool and linen to create the sack-like attires that are seen on Tris (played by Shailene Woodley) and her mom, Natalie (Ashley Judd).

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Dauntless (The Brave)

While Tris is covered up in Abnegation, she starts to expose more skin when she becomes Dauntless. Poggioli showed her transformation through tighter tops and pants. Since Dauntless members are required to be fighters, he also worked with a factory near Florence, Italy, to develop fabric that allowed for a lot of movement. "We used a special fabric with some elastic in it. We used a combination of the 3D fabric that we made," says Poggioli. "So all the pants that Tris wore, it was a fabric we made with special elastic." He also noted differences between the members by incorporating color accents: orange represented new arrivals like Tris, red was for the Dauntless-born and purple was for leaders like Four (Theo James) and Eric (Jai Courtney).

Erudite (The Intellectual)

"The fabrics are more technical than others," says Poggioli of Erudites' uniforms in various shades of blue. "The cut is very sharp and shaped, especially the outfit on the faction's leader, Jeanine [Kate Winslet]. The inspiration really came from Neil [Burger], who said, 'Let's imagine them wearing a kind of lab coat.' "

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Candor (The Honest)

"It was the most difficult one," Poggioli recalls with a laugh, explaining that Candor wasn't so easy to design since the book was vague about its clothing colors. Drawing from the faction's outlook between facts and lies, Poggioli chose to dress its members in black and white. Christina (Zoe Kravitz) donned the the opposing colors before switching from Candor to Dauntless.

Amity (The Peaceful)

"Since they produce food and work in the fields, their clothes are more practical," Poggioli said of Amity's earth-tone costumes (made of cotton). "It was a lot of work because we dyed all the fabric. They were all handmade. We dyed each one this color that you can't find in fabric shops." As the film's makeup artist Brad Wilder mentions to us, "somebody said they're the Topanga Canyon hippies of the '50s."

Divergent opens in theaters March 21.

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