I often choose a costume just because I like the way it looks; probably just as often as choosing to make costumes because I like the character. Sometimes a costume is just so interesting that I want to try my hand at recreating it. Such is the case for Alice's costume in "Alice: Through the Looking Glass". The first film, in my opinion, was a little disappointing. I have yet to see the sequel, but the plot sounds strange yet dull (not a good combination for an Alice-inspired story)
But Colleen Atwood came back to do the costumes, and I think they are gorgeous. My favourite is Alice's Mandarin inspired costume.
I have no ideal why I like it so much. I don't normally like these colours separately, and I never thought I would like them together, but it works so well. Colleen Atwood you genius!
In the film, Alice says her outfit is inspired by the Dowager Empress of China; makes sense, since in the last film we saw Alice setting off for China to expand her family company's trading routes. It features a purple blouse with a Mandarin collar, a decorative collar, wide-legged trousers reminiscent of hakama or hanbok, and boots.
Alice's blouse has lots of interesting details. It seems to have a Mandarin collar and slight puff sleeves: there's a seam on the sleeve, so I think there's a puff sleeve sewn to the lower sleeve,
According to Colleen Atwood, the costume department embroidered the purple silk themselves with a design including rabbits and little hats. A purple brocade would work very well, unless you have the time and skill to embroider (or print) metres of silk.
The blouse is covered with beautiful floral embroidery. There's also red piping along some of the seams, and red buttons on the upper sleeves.
The way the blouse closes reminds me of a Cheongsam, closing on one side along the collar bone. The blouse might tie shut with ribbons, because in the picture below you can see a red ribbon hanging down on Alice's blouse.
Alice seems to be wearing an orange shirt under the purple blouse: you can see it through the slits at the waist and sleeves of the purple blouse. In some shots the orange shirt seems to have pleated details on the sleeves and near the waist.
Initially Alice wears this beautiful ornate collar with this costume, though there are some scenes where she isn't wearing it.
Colleen Atwood made the collar from leather and fabric, with gold pieces that apparently came from inexpensive Indonesian wedding crowns.
You could probably make this collar from leather, vinyl, or craft foam (not many Indonesian wedding crowns in my part of the world, so I'll be using one or more of these materials)
According to Colleen Attwood, Alice only wears trousers in the film, though many are disguised as skirts. The trousers are supposed to be more practical. This pair remind me of Hakama.
The trousers seem to be made of emerald green material, probably silk, with golden yellow stripes. They are pleated, and decorated with a wide purple and red trim at the hem.
The pleats are a little more obvious in these exhibition pictures. They look like box pleats to me.
Alice wears some very comfortable looking boots. I think the colour scheme is a call back to her shoes in the first film:
I think the boots are inspired by traditional Chinese boots. They might be made of canvas, but I'm no expert of shoes.