Chatting With Costume Designer Colleen Atwood About Disney’s Into The Woods! #IntoTheWoodsEvent

Colleen Atwood 1

Hey All!

I recently had the amazing opportunity of interviewing Academy Award wining Costume Design Colleen Atwood about the costumes she created for Disney’s Into The Woods. Colleen is a spectacular artist and designer. She’s been around for decades and has made some of the most memorable costumes in film history. In case you didn’t know she created the Edward Scissor Hands costume along with countless other costumes you would easily recognize.

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She created spectacular costumes for this film and the Meryl Streep witch costume is probably my favorite.

Into the woods sketch

You can see some early drawings of the costumes above and below.


And the final costume with Meryl in it below. Spectacular I know.


When we chatted with her we of course wanted to know what her process is to create such amazing costumes. Here is what she had to say.


Every project starts with a story. So, um, I get the phone call and, um, the script and I read the script and think about what, you know, kind of have a little dream about what I- sometimes when you get a script you sort of see different things right away and sometimes, you know, it’s a different process. But I start thinking about it and then, um, the next step is usually meeting with a director and having a kind of a conversation about what he’s thinking it is, because ultimately that’s the person that I collaborate with the most on a film is the director.

So you’re there to kind of, kind of serve his vision of the, of the story. And then the next step is going off and doing research, design, costume textile development which I’m huge on because I love the craft. And people doing things with their hands is, is exciting and, and sort of inspiring for me. Um, and then I take those things once- once I put them together and- and present them to the director. And the- and then as actors are cast in the film and I have meetings with them, I usually show them.

Before I give them clothes at all, I usually try to meet with them and show them my ideas so if they have something they don’t like, they object to, I kind of figure it out there and- and sort of talk to them about it. And- and get to what, you know, what the heart of, of what their feeling is and then I start the actual making of the costumes and fittings and that process.



This film had so many amazing characters and costumes to go with the characters, we of course wanted to know which was her favorite to work on.


You know, it’s kind of like children, it’s a weird question to ask, because I never like just one. One day some of them are definitely not my favorites but I had a great time of course with Meryl’s costume because of the textile art that was involved in it. And it involved not just my ideas but the hands of a lot of really talented people, mainly women. Each one has a different beat, so it’s kind of fun to do. The thing that makes it great for me because I kind of bounce around ideas.

It’s great that you can go from Meryl’s costume and walk over to, to Billy’s costume, and walk over to the baker and his wife’s costume. You know, the vocabulary is so varied that, that when you walk around and go from one thing to the other, you’re thinking about each thing as you go, and you kind of as you hit one, you go oh, and you kind of go back to the other one. But it’s nice because they’re so varied and you can always take from one and sort of lend to another when it’s something isn’t working in that particular costume.


Which costume from the film evolved the most from her first thoughts to the finished product? Here’s the answer…


Well I’d say Emily’s because she was pregnant. It changed the most of any costume. It had a lot of panels and you know when I got her, she was just barely pregnant. All of a sudden she got into that like kind of fifth month kind of thing. And she came to work after a weekend and it was like she’d grown I swear.

She’d grown like two or three inches I’m like what happened over the weekend, the baby just kind of sprouted. And so I was continually kind of modifying her costume because her bust was bigger and her belly was bigger and- and even though she was incredibly small for how pregnant she was, I was continually like making the body and the apron bigger. Thank goodness she was in an apron from the start!

And the little jacket, I kept raising where it buttoned and kind of painting it in darker and darker on the side, so you kind of use a lot of tricks of the trade. But, but that costume I was continually changing and touching the whole time.


Colleen has such an incredible body of work! Edward Scissorhands is amazing and the costumes from it are like one of my favorites. We of course wanted to know what would be one of the costumes that she worked on that she just always will have such fond memories of?


Well I think you kind of said it. I mean, Edward was the first movie that I ever got to do. So I think that costume for me will always be kind of close to my heart. And more recently, in the ladies department, I love the red queen from the last Alice.

And the next one I just finished, she takes it to a whole other level. I think that that’s a fun costume and a fun kind of character to do.  That sticks with me. But I have other costumes that, you know, that I’ve gotten to do over the years that I really like, or other bodies of work. I really like the stuff I got to do on Lemony Snicket’s a long time ago, which wasn’t like a hugely famous movie.  I got to do really good work on it, and the Huntsman most recently, I had a blast with Charlize’s costumes.

Does she prefer making whimsical fantastical costumes or period piece costumes?


You know what, I like to mix it up, I think if I did just those, it would get sort of redundant. But the thing that’s beautiful about the job that I have is that A, I never know what’s going to be next and B, what kind of movie it will be. I’m only serving a script and a story, so I never know what’s around the corner. And I think it keeps me on a learning curve all the time, because it changes up. I think if you stay the same same same you miss out on a lot.


You would think being the spectacular costume designer that she is that her daughter would have had some spectacular costumes growing up. Not the case actually!


You’d think right! It’s so funny, in the early Halloween years, I did a lot of costumes. My favorite was when my daughter was like in sort of kindergarten. I made her a giant pumpkin, it was so cute with her little hands coming out and she hated it so much. But it was really cute. I love going to see what the kids have on for Halloween and what people do for their kids for Halloween is pretty amazing, like the kind of low tech and where they go with it is really crazy.

Halloween is my favorite holiday needless to say. But, when my daughter got to a certain age, she went through a huge like Darth Vader phase, and then she wanted to be Batman Girl and then she went like I think we had a ninja turtle phase. She became a total victim of the store bought costume, so it was kind of embarrassing really.


It was such a pleasure to chat with such a legendary woman. She will always continue to amaze me with her amazing costumes that help bring so many movies to life!

At the end she was kind enough to take a group shot with us. It was such a fun day!

Group Photo Colleen Atwood


Disney’s “Into The Woods” is in theaters now! Run out and see now!

For more info on this film visit:


I solely was invited to this media event by Disney. All opinions are my own.

Photos courtesy of Disney and and are Edited by