After fourteen years, our favorite superheroes are back and look better than ever. A lot can happen in fourteen years, including the rapid development of technology. With new technology, Pixar was able to bring more attention to detail to the Incredibles 2 costume design.
If you think designing fashion for superheroes is simple, think again. Every detail is well planned and executed. Sure, technology can make our lives easier and do a lot of things. However, it still takes the time and energy of talented people at Pixar to create the Incredibles 2 costume design.
Inside the Incredible 2 Costume Design Process
Costumes that support storytelling
According to Character artist Deanna Marsigliese costume design for animation is no different than live action.
“One would argue that it is more difficult.” said Marsigliese.
She adds, “We become the character when we design their costumes. The trick is not to think of the costume as a second element. They are one. The costume choices we make support the storytelling. If they are done well it [the costume] will tell you more about the character and their motivations in the story.”
Attention to detail
Incredibles 2 picks up straight where the first film left off. Pixar reused a lot of the same ideas they had from the first film but also choose to reinvent a few elements.
“Each piece is hand tailored. The attention to detail is crazy!” said Marsigliese. “We make notes, we overdraw, and work very closely to make sure they are beautiful and appealing. We make considerations like zipper length, button sizes, pleats and darts. All of it is discussed.”
The look of Incredibles 2 is heavily inspired by mid-century ascetics. While the main characters have designs that are bold, dramatic and match their super powers, the background characters tell a different story.
“The goal is to find styles that are iconic and stylish but simple,” says Marsigliese. “Should proceed in the background. Complement the action but not distract from it.”
The attention to detail does not stop with clothing. There are accessories, jewelry, bags, shoes, hairstyles and more.
Tailors, shading start from scratch for every characters.
“You can’t take pants and shirts from the movie UP and put it in Incredibles,” said Tailoring Lead Fran Kalal. “It just wouldn’t work.”
The inspirations behind the look
The team at Pixar gathered reference from actors during that time period to create looks for the Incredibles family:
- Bob – Paul Newman (a Handsome and robust, family man)
- Helen – Mary Tyler Moore, Marilyn Monroe, and Audrey Hepburn (strong women that were career minded and fabulous)
- Violet – They wanted a rebellious look for Violet. Silhouettes didn’t feel right. Went with a more contemporary look including roll cuffed jeans and KEDS for shoes.
- Dash – Director Brad Bird specifically requested that Dash look all boy! He is always dressed in t-shirts and jeans.
- Jack-Jack – He is never dressed at home with Bob. He is always dressed only in diapers because Bob is too tired. You will notice when Helen is home she dresses Jack-Jack.
Improvements in Technology
“Technology has become more sophisticated now.” said Pixar Shading Art Director Bryn Imagire. “The original super suits included shading on the skin of the superheroes. You will notice when you go back it stretches a lot and the logo gets stretch. In Incredibles 2, it doesn’t stretch around. it’s an actual garment that is on top of the characters like a normal piece of clothing.”
There is new technology that helps dynamically stretch, shrink and move the fabric.
“A lot of time and effort went into redeveloping the superhero suits,” says Kalal. “It’s important that the logos held their shape even when our characters went through extreme deformations.”
The hair went through an upgrade from the first movie thanks to a newly developed new hair tool made specifically for Incredibles 2.
Kalal shared that there is an entire team that go into every shot to make sure that Helen’s hair does the right thing and looks beautiful.
Isn’t the Incredibles 2 costume design process fascinating? I am in awe of the patience, dedicated and level of detail it takes to produce such a film.
Now I won’t be able to stop watching Helen’s hair throughout the movie! Thanks, Pixar!
“Everything is designed with equal amounts of attention to detail,” adds Marsigliese. “And that’s how we roll at Pixar!”