kara saun

When we first saw the Disney Channel Descendants the only thing we loved more than the music was the costumes! So Justine caught up with the movie’s costume designer, Kara Saun, to get the scoop on what it was like designing for some of Disney’s most iconic characters.

Justine: Where did you get your inspiration for the costumes?
Kara: Really diving into the research of the original iconic characters, that’s kind of where I started. There is a Disney vault that I went to. In the vault were original artwork, and sketches and stories. I think the inspiration for the Isle of the Lost characters, Mal, Evie, Carlos and Jay, it’s really about where they came from. The parents have no powers, it’s dark, it’s gritty, and it’s cold. And so my inspiration was that story of bad and good—everybody is kind of dark, edgy. After reading that they were stuck on the island, I was like, “What can I do with that?” So I kind of put a 70s twist on it.

J: Who is your favorite character?
K: It’s really hard! I think my favorite costumes to create had to be for Kristin Chenoweth as Maleficent, because I was like, “I am designing for Maleficent! Maleficent is coming to me to design her clothes!”

J: These characters go through quite the transformation, finding themselves and finding the good in themselves. Is that something that is also related in their fashion?
K: Yeah, it was really a big part. Throughout the whole movie, Mal is in purple, Evie is in royal blue, Carlos is in red, white and black, and Jay’s in burgundy and blues. But what you’ll see is that they go from this really gritty kind of punk rock look to like preppy punk. I really wanted the fashion story to be in line with the story of what they’re going through personally. They still keep that edge of “I’m from the Isle of the Lost,” but you can see that they’re definitely transforming throughout the story, as they come into their own and find their own identity.

J: How long did it take to create each costume?
K: There were a lot of hours that went into each costume! They went from the sewers to the painters to the studders—I had a huge, wonderful, talented team of craftspeople to construct the pieces. So it did take some time, especially because it’s just not one piece; we had to make a number of pieces for the movie.

Have you had a chance to see Kara’s beautiful costume creations on screen? If not, be sure to tune in to the Disney Channel this month to catch the Descendants!