'Annie' Costume Designer Shares Her On-Set Style Secrets

See how dressing an all-star cast compares to designing for real life.

'Annie' Costume Designer Shares Her On-Set Style Secrets
Source: Neil Rasmus/BFAnyc.com

Bet your bottom dollar if we were still kids, we'd have Target's collection inspired by the film Annie on our Christmas wish lists. Renée Ehrlich Kalfus, the costume designer for the remake of the classic movie, also designed the children's line of apparel and accessories, which hit stores last month. Since we're a wee bit too large for her festive fashions, we caught up with her to see how creating on-screen garb for the all-star cast, including Cameron Diaz, Rose Byrne, Quvenzhané Wallis and Jamie Foxx, differs from dreaming up real-life threads for the retail chain. 

It was such a wonderful challenge to take an iconic story and make it current."

–Renée Ehrlich Kalfus

How does designing costumes on film differ from creating clothes for real life? "For a film, I approach each costume for a specific character, scene and story in mind. It’s like a puzzle: all of the costumes in a scene must fit together in terms of color, texture and context to help express what is happening in the story, whether it's an adult or a child."

Source: FameFlynet Pictures

What were some of the themes you tried to convey through the character’s wardrobe choices? "When designing costumes for the movie, I used the spunky, spirited personalities of the characters as my inspiration for creating fun, colorful combinations. Annie and the other foster girls have such strong, independent personalities that it was natural to use their costumes for inspiration for the Annie for Target collection. My hope is that young girls everywhere feel like they can create unique outfits that allow them to express themselves to the world."

Source: Annie for Target
Source: Annie for Target

No matter what your style is, it’s important to add your own personal touch."

–Renée Ehrlich Kalfus

What was the most challenging part about re-creating the wardrobes of the classic film? "It was such a wonderful challenge to take an iconic story and make it current. Through my designs, I wanted to create costumes that refer to the original story while making them contemporary and fresh. Each character in the movie has a unique personality that allowed me to design a variety of looks that reflect the world they live in today."

What is the most rewarding part of your job? "After helping the actors find their characters—and look and feel their best—it is most rewarding to see my work come to life and contribute to the story on the big screen. With the new collection, I really enjoyed partnering with Target on the details of each piece to ensure the items felt unique and special. Now that the collection is in stores, it’s been so gratifying to see pictures of girls everywhere mixing and matching the pieces to create outfits for everything from a day at the playground to a special holiday party."

Source: Annie for Target
Source: Annie for Target

What wardrobe tips can you share for our readers? "Don't be afraid to mix and match. Use the layering of the fall and winter seasons to enhance your look. Finally, no matter what your style is, it’s important to add your own personal touch, whether it’s a favorite pin, a bright accessory or a cool hat."

See Kalfus' handiwork on the big screen by seeing Annie, which hits theaters today, and stock up on holiday gifts for the kiddos in your life here.

Associate Editor at StyleBistro. California native, Brooklyn resident & country girl at heart. Follow me on Twitter: @katie_ddavidson Follow me: Google
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