Wednesday 20th Jan 2016
Colin Farrell’s not always a wizard. But when he is a wizard, he’s the best-dressed wizard in the wizarding world. Naturally.
You may have spotted Colin in the Fantastic Beasts trailer. Graves stands in a room exposed to the street as it seems an entire wall has mysteriously been blown away. We can’t blame you if you assume it’s the handiwork of a fantastic beast, but we couldn’t possibly say.
Graves is a formidable character; he’s the wizard tasked with tracking Newt Scamander and his creatures down. If you have an eye for wizarding fashion, you probably noticed Graves’s majestic monochrome coat, designed and created by Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood.
When Colleen first met the character, he was a collection of J.K. Rowling’s words in a script, waiting for an actor to inhabit him. That actor, as we know now, is Colin Farrell – which suits her just fine.
‘When I heard it was going to be Colin, I was excited because he looks good in everything,’ she tells me. We’re sitting in her office, just metres from where she would fit, measure and dress Colin as Graves throughout filming. My blood pressure is fine, thank you for asking.
‘Graves is the ultimate wizard so I wanted to take it to a level of 1920s elegance with a touch of glamour, of fantasy. So I took a coat and I made it a little bit longer, I exaggerated the shoulders and I shaped it a little bit more. Then I made it out of a spectacular piece of cashmere that just kind of moved and had a lot of light,’ she says.
‘It also has a little bit of Lurex* in it, so it catches the light at night and almost looks wet, which I really think makes it stand out from other things. That’s where I was going with his character. And then I kind of edged his things so they were very graphic black and white too, in a way that made him special.’
Colleen speaks about Graves in such a way, I quietly suspect he may be her favourite character. Which is more than fair. Frankly, I can’t decide which coat is more magnificent: Newt Scamander’s peacock-blue one or Percival Graves’s monochrome. Maybe Newt’s coat on weekdays, Graves’s when you’re in the mood for danger.
*Lurex is a fabric with glittering metallic thread weaved into it to give it a shimmering look. To me, it looks almost like the fur of a wet, majestic seal... But in a fancy, magical way. It’s iridescent and slick, which makes it perfect for Graves. I couldn’t, in all good conscience, be learning all these cool things like what Lurex is without sharing them with you. Now you know a fabric fact.