Fashion Week

Clothes on film: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Published

As this week's issue is dedicated to film and fashion, we've explored the genre further and looked at how the iconic looks on screen were created. Here, Chris Laverty who writes the fashion and film blog, Clothes on Film looks at Lisbeth Salander's dark uniform.

"Many considered costume designer Trish Summerville had nowhere to go with her interpretation of hacker Lisbeth Salander after the Swedish version, played very capably by Noomi Rapace, and released just a couple of years prior. However Summerville’s Lisbeth is actually closer to that portrayed in original novels; less a pseudo-punk and more a vulnerable loner, cowering beneath impenetrable armour of studs and leather.

We first meet Lisbeth (Rooney Mara) in typical guise: black leather bi-swing jacket, grey layered t-shirts, grey hoody, black skin-tight jeans, black Belstaff biker boots, black tribal swirl earrings and jet black Mohawk. Evidently black colour is a theme, though to avoid the palette becoming flat, Summerville mixed in variations of grey combined with heaving distressing. Lisbeth does not want to stand out, she wants to hide. What might seem like anti-fashion is to Lisbeth perversely functional. Even her aged leather motorcycle jacket is designed to be used for its purpose; bi-swing (not a comment on Lisbeth’s sexuality) indicates two pleats behind the shoulders to allow for ease of movement, commonly found on genuine biker gear. Lisbeth is not punk, but a reaction to punk. “She’s different” her employer observes, “in every way”.

To create Lisbeth’s costume, Summerville scoured the youth culture of Sweden. She instilled a contemporary androgyny in Lisbeth, echoed by Rooney Mara’s slim frame which allowed for a crossover into high street fashion. Arguably the costume designer with her eye most strongly geared toward current trends, Summerville even created a capsule line for H&M comprised of Lisbeth inspired clothes, boots and accessories. Although this does seem contrary to the character’s desire for anonymity, H&M is probably where she bought most of her clothes anyway. Lisbeth does not try to be different, we just see her as such."

To see more, head to clothesonfilm.com

Read Chris' take on Jordan Baker's flapper outfit in this year's The Great Gatsby here.