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Anyone who has read The Hunger Games or seen the films will know what the term ‘Capitol Couture’ means. Fashion in the Capitol is somewhat ostentatious, taking on the eccentricities that come with excess wealth and limited life worries and responsibilities. The urge to ‘out do’ one another has led to fashion exploding into the realms of the bold, bright and seemingly ridiculous.

But on closer inspection, it can be said that Capitol Couture has its roots elsewhere in the real world. With its flamboyant shaping and brazen colors, the styles of clothing associated with the Capitol in the Hunger Games can be said to resemble many high fashion collections adorning the catwalk in the couture fashion world in reality.

With New York Fashion week upon us, it’s a great opportunity to have a quick glance at the crossover between Capitol Couture and catwalk couture and compare it to some of the other collections throughout the year. Although unintentionally, many high fashion designers use the key features classed as fashionable in The Hunger Games Capitol fashion, to create eccentric looks which are both dazzling and flamboyant: the two key looks Capitol residents aim for.
In terms of inspiration for outfit ideas, here is a great place to start.

Mara Hoffman – New York Fashion Week Sep 2012

The Mara Hoffman collection is made up of an array of bold block colors exhibiting the kind of grandiose showcased within the Capitol. A key piece to highlight from the collection which draws particular similarities to Capitol couture is the brightly colored sequin cropped bodice, with its overlapped striking colors, structured around the shape of the wearer’s body. This was coupled with a long fuchsia skirt, accentuating the colors highlighted in the smaller pieces.

Capitol couture draws highly on audacious colors. When mimicking this kind of style, it is key to understand the urge to stand out from the crowd and to use vivid block coloring to do this. As Mara Hoffman has done, using shades on the same palette creates a fun look which is vibrant without clashing. This is the very essence of Capitol Couture.

See by Chloe – New York Fashion Week Sep 2012

As previously stated, Capitol Couture hinges strongly on colors. One of the main features that can be seen inherently in the outfits is the use of one bold color on each character. Outfits are coordinated using an ‘over the top’ utilization of one color accessorized with complimentary adornments. This can clearly be seen in Chloe’s collection that takes a strong color such as tangerine orange or cherry red, and applying it to both top and bottom half, creating an ensemble which matches all over.

Capitol Couture uses the same idea. Effie Trinket can often be seen in matching attire of vibrant colors. Although patterns are often plain, using one striking color accentuates the eccentric design aspects of each outfit. This a technique often employed in Chloe collections for the catwalk.

Kenzo –  Paris Fashion Week 2012

Kenzo’s collection for the catwalk has a particularly ‘Effie Trinket’ air about it. The clothing designs use oversized statement puffed sleeves and shorts and tuck-waisted dresses. The range provides an array of styles with unusual aspects worked into each item, from wide sleeves on short jackets, to bold accentuated shoulders and high necked collars; all themes seen in Capitol Couture.

When using a couture eye to look at The Hunger Games Capitol fashion, it’s easy to see the parallels between Kenzo’s ranges and Effie Trinket’s personal style. By combining daringly emphasized shoulder detailing and nipped in waist bands, it gives the characters the impression of extreme tininess in frame, with an unconventional flare, dramatizing their will to impress and their excess wealth, leading to their flamboyance.

Jean Paul Gaultier – Spring 2012 Collection

Jean Paul Gaultier’s collection is probably one of the best examples of Capitol fashion crossovers on the catwalk. Firstly, all models sport oversized beehive hair dos, dyed extreme color such as tangerine, cotton candy and cornflower blue. This draws very close parallels to Effie Trinket’s most famous pink rinse perm style.

Secondly the clothing pays particular attention to small waist sizes and overly exaggerated rounded hips, by using large waist belts, wired hip frames and crossover-bust tops. Amalgamating these themes with vivid colors, Gaultier’s collection looks more like Capitol Couture than anything realistically sold on today’s market!

Additionally, the use of structured pieces such as squared shoulders and tight corsets directly correlates to Effie Trinket’s perfectly tailored ‘suit’ outfits, which show off her tiny figure.

Freelance writer Emily Jenkins says that her favorite thing about living in Bangkok is that the fashion reminds her of Capitol Couture in The Hunger Games. She jumped at the chance to write for Surrounded by bright colors, crazy contact lenses and frills and feathers, she says that sometimes she’s worried she’s fallen into the book with no way to escape!