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Robin Hood: Costume Photo Fest

Want another look at Janty Yates’ costume design work for Ridley Scott’s upcoming Robin Hood? Thought you might.

Most of the ensembles seem to be late Medieval inspired, though we must also factor in creative license and a diverse historical timeline behind the original folk story. This is the origin of outlaw Robin Hood without the singing and probably with a lot of pummeling. Difficult for Janty Yates, as the setting predetermines what we expect to see, yet we also want something new.

In other words, it has to look like traditional Robin Hood with a ‘modern’ twist – and that does not mean Reebok in the Hood Pumps and Spartacus wristwatches. Yates had a difficult task alright, marrying history with creativity.

Anyway, see what you think below:

Russell Crowe as Robin Longstride wearing a thick, brown leather hood. For those living in the elements, hide and lots of it would have been essential protection against inclement British weather.

Cate Blanchett plays Maid Marion, seen here riding alongside Robin. Her long skirt would likely have trailed in the mud when walking. This was for warmth rather than fashion, although this style did die out towards the end of the Middle Ages as women’s clothes gradually became more practical.

Never trust a man with curly hair. Oscar Isaac as King John of England in a heavy silk tunic with chunky gold jewellery. During this time luxury materials such as silks were used to distinguish between social classes, i.e. the lower classes could not afford to wear them.

William Hurt plays 1st Earl of Pembroke, William Marshal. A nice close-up of his leather armour. Note the rudimentary stitching around the neckline.

Mark Addy looks ideally attired as Friar Tuck. Simple, scruffy, and no dressing gown draw-cord. He is carrying what appears to be a leather pouch.

Despite a typical lack of hair, Mark Strong is not instantly recognisable for a change. Playing Sir Godfrey he wears a full suit of chainmail armour with blue cape. Click to enlarge then lean in close and you’ll see a horrific scar at the corner of his mouth.

Cate Blanchett would be striking if her face was covered in jam, but in this shot she looks especially radiant, even with pared down make-up and a mousy brown, unconditioned wig. This film is no Timotei advert that’s for sure.

Max von Sydow as Sir Walter Loxley. Again leather in abundance, which along with wool and fur was used most prominently for outerwear.

These are for riding, obviously, but long Medieval boots for men eventually ran to the thighs. Perhaps not a look that would transfer well today.

Matthew Macfadyen as the Sheriff of Nottingham. Functional, waterproof and lightweight; fur topped cloaks and mantles, even lined tunics and gloves were common. This was a period in history characterised by disease and toil. Fur was the biggest comfort most people had.

A superb shot of Robin’s tough battle armour. The leather ‘Vambrace’ like glove on his forearm is precursor to the archery shooting glove.

If you want to see the movie’s costumes up close, there is an exhibition running from now until October at the Sherwood Forest Visitors Centre in Nottingham. It displays the costumes and props in an authentic setting built by Robin’s Hood’s production designer Sonja Klaus. A bit of a journey if you’re in the U.S, but you could always combine it with a trip to the Grace Kelly exhibition at the V&A? Go on, it is even sunny here at the moment.

Robin Hood will open the Cannes Film Festival out of competition on 12th May with a worldwide release on 14th May.

© 2010 – 2014, Lord Christopher Laverty.


  • Lucilla

    I love the photos! Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett look brilliant. I can’t wait for this film to hit theaters. Russell Crowe looks so studly on his horse. I have to say this is the 2nd sexiest Russell Crowe I’ve seen since Gladiator. Cate Blanchett is at her prettiest I’ve seen in a while too. I love Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett!

  • Francisca Susi

    Lucilla, well said. I simply can’t wait for this movie. It’s gonna be so awesome. I’m excited to see all the action sequences and the chemistry between Crowe and Blanchett. C’mon May, come sooner. 😀

  • Elika

    I’ve always been a robin hood fan, but I’m not sure about this movie: I abhore the use of real fur and it’s driving me nuts that I can’t find out if this film is using real or fake fur. When I look at that picture of Matthew Macfadyen wearing what kind of looks like a fox pelt on his shoulder my stomach clenches with digust. If it’s not real, Ridley Scott is moving in the right direction because from his previous films, “American Gangster” and “Gladiator,” it seems he favors the real thing. If it is real, all I’m going to think about is how many animals had to die a horrible, painful, and merciless death just to become a prop for this movie. Please, can someone tell me what the furred costumes are? Real or Fake?

  • Mark

    Really enjoyed the film, costumes were fantastic. I’m a Long bow Archer and would love Mr Crows “Rig out”
    Great stuff, Thank you

    • Chris Laverty

      ‘Outfit’ just felt a bit a overused by that point! Hoping to interview Janty Yates about the costumes soon(ish) – keep an eye out. If a long bow archer liked the film that gives it a degree of credibility in my eyes.

  • Tori S

    This film is incredible. I am a theatre designer and this post on the costumes was very inspiring! Planning for a production of Robin Hood in the new year so have bookmarked your page here! Merci!

  • Kay

    Elika, you do comprehend that foxes are pests and are shot by thousands every year in pretty much any country that has them in order to prevent plagues and parasites spreading among a too crowded fox population? I know this, because I am a huntress myself and I don’t do it for the sick twisted thrill and in fact am quite impressed by how strict the rules are about those who are meant to do the killings. I had to undergo quite a bit of intellectual and marksmanship training in order to gain my licence. The kill is clean, sudden and painless. Unless of course you do it for sport, like English noblemen. But the same goes for every other wild animal and often for reasons far more humane than your ‘stomach turning’ can grasp. And yes. The pelz in the movie is genuine. Finally a director that doesn’t bow to trends such as ‘Killing animals is bad this decade’. Imagine for 20 seconds what would happen if nobody ever killed another animal again, (before you start such a thread on a costume site.) And no, not everyone would be a vegetarian, because game would multiply, without reserve, eat everything, poo on everything else and then die a very “Horrible, painful and merciless” death, as you put it, ill and poisonous. Spend a week in a forest some day. It may clarify certain hypocricies.

    • Sharon

      Kay, the question, then, is: Do the furs used for costuming in film come from the humane culling of overpopulated species – or, better yet, roadkill – or are they from reprehensible fur farms?

  • Jensilaedi

    I loved this article… wished I saw it when it came out, I would have seen the movie sooner!!
    Thanks for the confirmation on the authenticity of the costumes. I really appreciate this.

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