You probably didn’t need an excuse to watch “Water for Elephants” again (you did watch it this weekend right?), but we’re going to go ahead and give you one anyway. You see, the movie is full of amazing outfits (Reese Witherspoon wears some of our favorites), but there’s so much more to each look than meets the eye. We spoke to costume designer Jacqueline West to get the scoop on the real meaning behind the styles. If you haven’t seen the film yet, proceed with caution as there are some SPOILERS ahead. If you have, go ahead and indulge in the descriptions below.
The White Dress: One of Reese’s softer looks in the film.
The Meaning: “The first time we see her she’s in a white dress. That’s when she’s still hopeful of becoming this famous, famous circus act and her marriage is still intact with August, even though he’s difficult in that scene…she’s still very hopeful.”
The Red Dress: A sultry but fitted gown that drapes Reese perfectly.
The Meaning: “The red dress I thought was a great symbol of her infatuation with Rob, the first time that they danced in the speakeasy and they kiss in the alley, and I thought that’s red for amore.”
The Black Dress: A long, elegant number that reveals her back. Jacqueline told us it had to be low in the front to display the necklace August eventually rips off.
The Meaning: “The black dress for when she jumps off the train with him and she gets in the fight and August rips her necklace off. That’s when things become darker and scary and she’s really, you know, thrown almost into Rob’s arms for survival and safety, aside from being in love with him.”
In essence, the colors Jacqueline chose for Reese told her character’s story without actually saying a word. Now, do you see what we mean about wanting to watch it again with all this in mind?