Colleen Atwood is an Academy Award-winning American costume designer.

Born in 1948 in Yakima, Washington, USA, she studied painting at the Cornish College of Arts in Seattle, Washington in the early 1970s, and later worked in retail at various places, including the Yves St. Laurent boutique.


‘Snow White & the Huntsman’

Atwood began her career as a fashion adviser in Washington State in the early 1970s.

She then moved to New York in 1980, where she studied art at New York University.

Her movie career began with a chance encounter with someone whose mother was designing the sets for the film Ragtime, and she got the job of a production assistant in the film. She continued to work as an assistant to costume designers and eventually earned her first film credit for the movie A little Sex directed by Bruce Paltrow.


‘Alice in Wonderland’

Soon later she entered into the world of costume design for theater and film, and finding her fame through her work on Sting’s Bring on the Night world tour, which was also made into a documentary. An important turning point in her career came when, through the production designer who she had worked with in the movie Joe Versus the Volcano, she met the director Tim Burton. Atwood and Burton then worked together on seven films over the next two decades. These films included Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood, Big Fish, Planet of the Apes, Sweeney Todd and Alice in Wonderland.

Atwood has been involved in designing and producing costumes for up to 50 films to date. She has also been the lead costume designer for Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Colleen has been nominated for an Academy award for Best Costume Design ten times and won Academy Awards for the movies Chicago in 2002, Memoirs of a Geshia in 2006, and Alice in Wonderland in 2011. Atwood has collaborated several times with directors Tim Burton, Rob Marshall and Jonathan Demme.


‘Snow White & the Huntsman’

Some of her most well known quotes are:

‘Costumes are the first impression that you have of the character before they open their mouth-it really does establish who they are.’

‘As a designer, you have to solve a lot of problems. Even though people are wearing clothes that are supposed to look beautiful, they’ll have to do all kinds of things.’

‘Every costume had a feeling of not quite what it seems. In a way, these dresses were like torture devices for Ravenna. I love that because I feel like Ravenna was, in a way, more tortuous toward herself than to the people she was killing.’ (Snow White and the Huntsman.)




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