One of Summerville’s most daunting tasks was bringing the female lead, Lucy Gray Baird—a scrappy, street-smart performer—to life. The District 12 tribute, played by Rachel Zegler, is written with a hyper-specific costume. “It has to be this rainbow ruffle dress, which is repeated over and over in the book and in the script,” she says. The dress not only had to match this description, but also had to be functional for the movie’s many action sequences. “On a page, a rainbow ruffle dress with pockets sounds very whimsical, but for me, integrally, I have to design something that I am proud of,” she says. The dress, which went through many iterations before Summerville was content with the final product, was made of tulle, netting, and fabric with plenty of stretch, that enabled Zegler and her stunt doubles to move freely.
Lucy’s granny boots were also a key part of the look. “What can I put her in, that’s going to allow her to crawl through these tunnels and scurry up walls and, and get around?” she wondered. “I wanted to give her something that was really attractive, and had a little bit of sex appeal and glamour to it. She’s a bit of a cancan girl, but then also give her ankle support.”
Just as important to the structural integrity—if not more so—was creating a look that holds deep significance to the series’ dedicated fanbase. “I have a read in my head, but that’s a totally different read than what’s in your head,” she says. Summerville felt this pressure when she joined the original trilogy. “I dealt with the same thing on Catching Fire. There was already this world built before me, and that’s not how I saw my new world, but I have to recognize some of the things that the authors, the scriptwriter, and the director have [already established].”
When it came to Lucy’s rainbow dress, fans had some strong opinions, even going as far to reach out to Summerville well before the costume was revealed. “I do get a lot of direct messages and information from the fans,” she says. Summerville wanted to keep the dress true to Suzanne Collins’s book, while still creating an engaging recreation. She ultimately drew from Vaudeville, ending in a peasant top with a corset and a skirt with four layers of tulle. And, for eagle-eyed fans, Summerville also included an Easter egg on the corset: “We had a beautiful patina department that did hand-paint these corsets, and the flowers on the corset are inspirations from Katniss flowers and Primrose flowers.”