A fashion analysis of Coriolanus Snow in the latest addition to ‘The Hunger Games’

I have always loved the way fashion can reveal so much about someone’s character. The way a picture can speak a thousand words, I believe styling an outfit together can speak an infinite amount. Never has this sentiment been more revealing than in the styling of Coriolanus Snow – the main character of ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.’

The first outfit he appears in is a white shirt with a black waistcoat – as this is the first outfit the audience sees, it must immediately alert us to what kind of character Coriolanus is. The rigidity and tightness of the outfit immediately reflects a controlled order, presenting the tight regime of The Capital of which Coriolanus is a part. The contrast between the white and black in the outfit is symbolic of his dual-nature, as we continuously witness his grapple between good and evil. The good being his care for Lucy Gray and his desire for the rebels to be seen as humane by the public; the evil being the fact that he wants these things in order to gain benefits himself – notably money. The addition of the rose foreshadows his eventual romance with Lucy Gray – who also associates maternal love with roses – yet, it also demonstrates the fact that he is there to serve his family and alleviate their economic disparity. In doing so, we are reminded of the duality within his nature: despite The Capitals inhumaneness in creating The Hunger Games, Coriolanus is serving this evil regime because he loves his family and aims to help them. The fact that the black waist coat is layered on top of the white shirt is an effective use of proleptic irony, as it alerts the audience that his evil nature will eventually dominate over his goodness.

In the next outfit, we see him wearing a bright red jacket with matching trousers, layered with a pleated skirt on top, and a pale blue shirt buttoned-up completely. This is the outfit that gains the most screen-time, and is arguably the one most revealing about his character. Immediately, the completely buttoned-up shirt reveals control and order – much like his white shirt did in the first outfit – an effect that would not be achieved if any button was lose, as this would connote to relaxation. In addition, the fact that he wears his shirt in a constricting way whilst fighting occurs demonstrates that he is not expected to fight or be active in any way, his privilege oozes in his removal from the events within The Hunger Games through his perfectly ordered outfit.

But that’s not all. The dual-identity of black and white is exaggerated and heightened in the contrasting colours of blue and red. Whilst both of these colours typically connote good and evil, they reveal a deeper layer to his duality. Blue – especially pale blue – represents trust; whereas, red is symbolic of betrayal and power. We witness the character battling between these throughout the film, and one poignant scene is enacted between Coriolanus Snow and Lucy Gray when they are by the river and she discusses how important trust is to her – more important than anything else in this world. By her highlighting it so extensively, we see the characteristic to which she is appealing the most. However, much like with the black waistcoat overshadowing the white shirt, in this case his red jacket is dominating the blue; signifying from the start that the trust element will be dismantled in the face of power.

This brings us to the final outfit, the one that fully embraces his darker, powerful status. The final outfit follows a similar structure to his previous ones – completely ordered and rigid in their styling – but the previous bright red has been transformed into a deep maroon. By maintaining the red, the stylist has continued to exert the dominant nature; by making it a darker tone, it is clear that this dystopian will not become brighter any time soon.

Featured image: by De’Andre Bush via Unsplash.

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