Sometimes, it seems like Suzanne Collins wrote The Hunger Games as a gift to the high school teachers of the world. The Brave New World‘ and Farhenheit 451’s of the typical high school curriculum are still classics and still use dystopian settings to comment on modern society. However, Hunger Games happens to have done it more recently and inspired an insanely popular film franchise. So, the kids can read a really enjoyable book series, and then have their minds blown when they start connecting the dots after being asked to compare Hunger Games to reality TV, warfare, propaganda, celebrity culture and other parts of our modern world. One such question in Scholastic’s Teaching Discussion Guide is, “Why are the ‘tributes’ given stylists and dressed so elaborately for the opening ceremony? Does this ceremony remind you of events in our world, either past or present?” It’s like they’re all actors heading to an awards show in which all of the losers are executed.
As someone who’d never read any of the books, that was perhaps the most surprising element of the first Hunger Games movie to me. I had no idea how important fashion was going to be to the story. Moreover, I never would have expected to be so moved by Katniss’ stylists, devastated when The Capitol executed the quietly dignified Cinna (Lenny Kravitz) in Catching Fire and moved when Elizabeth Bank’s Effie turned out to some have actual emotional layers hidden beneath all that kabuki makeup. It’s been especially interesting to note all the similarities between the way the world of The Hunger Games reacts to Katniss’ fashion sense much in the same way the real world reacts to Jennifer Lawrence’s, lest we forget that most people first noticed her because of that red, hip-hugging Calvin Klein dress she wore to the Oscars for Winter’s Bone.
That being said, I am by no means a fashionista. I understand the symbolic significance of the various costumes Katniss sports throughout The Hunger Games films, and how often she is simply being used as the center of a propaganda campaign, either by the Capitol or District 13, before emerging as a forceful soldier. However, I couldn’t really describe any of those outfits to you in extreme detail.
The person who made the following HalloweenCostumes.com infographic obviously can, though. To celebrate the release of Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, they charted the fashion evolution of Katniss Everdeen, noting plenty of little things I missed, such as how Katniss is still subtly wearing her mockingjay pin on the new all-red suit in the new movie. My favorite part of this image might be the way Katniss’ facial expression never changes. She looks annoyed/sad in every single picture, and that seems about right. Much like Jennifer Lawrence in real life, she’d probably just rather wear something comfortable and do what she wants, but the world won’t let her.