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Creating the 'Dragon Tattoo' look

A style dream team designed the goth-punk costume and cosmetics for Rooney Mara's character.

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By Melissa Magsaysay
Los Angeles Times
  • Cheap-chic retailer H&M's new collection is drawn from "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."


    Cheap-chic retailer H&M's new collection is drawn from "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

  • Rooney Mara's goth-punk look for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" was orchestrated by designer Trish Summerville.

    Merrick Morton/Columbia Pictures

    Rooney Mara's goth-punk look for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" was orchestrated by designer Trish Summerville.

It couldn't be further from the conventional period drama with the nipped-waist bodices and ostentatious accessories, but "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," is likely to attract attention with its hard-hitting looks that reflect a darker side of contemporary street fashion.
The producers of the film based on the first book of Stieg Larsson's popular Millennium trilogy put together a style dream team to transform Rooney Mara into Lisbeth Salander, a waifish, goth-punk heroine.
Trish Summerville, the veteran stylist and costume designer (former clients include Christina Aguilera and Pink) created the costumes. Pat McGrath, recognized in fashion and cosmetic circles as one of today's most influential makeup artists, designed Salander's hollow-cheeked, kohl-eyed look. And Danilo (longtime hairstylist to Gwen Stefani) envisioned the blunt bowl cut that frames Mara's pale and delicate features.
Summerville worked to make Mara look as thin and asexual as possible, pairing pieces so the character's silhouette is tight at top and loose at the bottom. (Salander walks the streets in fitted leather biker jackets, drop-crotch cargo pants and plenty of piercings.)
"I wanted her to have this external shell like a protection around her," Summerville said. "Her look (as Salander) is very animalistic," Summerville says. "Her strength is unexpected."
Summerville tapped a couple of L.A.-based designers for the character's signature leather jackets. Cerre, a company that has just taken over the old Costume National space on Melrose Avenue as its new atelier, created one of the jackets as well as a leather backpack.
The other jacket was made by Agatha Blois, who has designed custom leather pieces for Aerosmith and Sheryl Crow. Summerville aged and distressed the jackets (and most of the Salander wardrobe) to give them a well-worn feel true to the punk-influenced character.
The jackets are accompanied by layers of thermal shirts and pants as well as fleece hoodies, which makes for a drapey, cloaked silhouette, adding to the character's mystery.
Other pieces worn by Salander, such as jeans, thermals and torn T-shirts, were pulled from mass-market brands including Sweden's H&M, Germany's Closed and the British label All Saints.
The chunky leather moto boots were made by Belstaff as well as Fiorentini and Baker. Summerville also dressed her unconventional heroine in custom-made sneakers to convey a sporty-streetwise sensibility.
The worn-in, rough-and-tumble pieces provided inspiration for Summerville's collection for H&M. The line contains several pieces that are replicas of (or inspired by) items featured in the movie, including a leather jacket and waffle thermals.
Other garments -- black skinny jeans and muted colored hoodies -- were designed to convey the brooding darkness of the Salander character.
The character, with her piercings, bleached eyebrows, bowl cut and military-meets-the mosh-pit sense of style, doesn't exactly shriek "fashion icon," but it's possible the edgy look will inspire a new generation of street style.
Story tags » MoviesFashion

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