Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the greatest examples of world-building in cinema history. Many thought that J.R.R. Tolkien's high-fantasy novels couldn't be adapted to the screen, but Jackson felt that the quest of the brave Fellowship to destroy the One Ring deserved to be told in a way that has been entertaining generations since 2001. The magic and excitement of the films came to life through Jackson's fantastic team at Weta Workshop, where the costume department made the amazing garments worn by the inhabitants of Middle-Earth.
Some of the most beautiful and enchanting garments are worn by Galadriel, the Lady of Lorien, one of the oldest and wisest elves in Middle-Earth. In many ways viewers meet her first, as she is the narrator of the films, but her first appearance in Lothlorien is one of the films' highlights. The costume designs of Ngila Dickson truly transform actress Cate Blanchett into an ethereal elf maiden. Below are 10 hidden details about them you never noticed.
8 THE BEADING WAS ALL HAND-STITCHED GLASS
Ngila Dickson designed the Elven gowns to showcase some of her wardrobe department's beautiful embroidery work. Hours of labor went into the gowns that the Elven women wore, especially since lead characters like Arwen Evenstar had several costume changes.
Galadriel had fewer costume changes than Arwen, so each one needed to make a lasting impression. As an elegant ancient Noldo elf, her gowns were set apart with their delicate glass bead-work. All of the intricate flower, star, and petal shapes were hand-stitched.
7 HER GOWNS WERE MEANT TO REFLECT NATURE
Most of Galadriel's gowns were made of heavily embroidered white silk, occasionally made with varying shades of cream to differentiate textures. Often times they were made to reflect her natural environment and her affinity with the natural realm of Lothlorien, beginning with her very first dress we see in the prolog to The Fellowship of the Ring.
The eight point petal design is made from heavy white and silver thread, which is chain-stitched to create the shape of the expanding petals. The centers of the petals are then hand-beaded. The dress is then only fit at the sides so that the beaded design is preserved. Even the belt has pearls and "seed" beads to reflect the nature motif.
Galadriel never appears in The Hobbit novel by J.R.R. Tolkien, but as Peter Jackson is wont to do, he greatly augmented the parts for female characters in his trilogies. He decided to include her in a dramatic battle in Dol Guldur, where she expelled Sauron's evil back to Mordor.
She was given several costumes for her scenes, all specifically created for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, including some with dark colors normally not seen on her. One notable scene that never appeared in the film included her becoming a dark version of herself, similar to the transformation she underwent in The Fellowship of the Ring.
6 HER COSTUMES NEEDED TO "SPEAK" FOR HER
Galadriel, being one of the most powerful elves in Middle-Earth, was capable of a great many magical abilities. Not only did she wield Nenya, one of the three rings of Power given to her and two other Elf Lords, she also had the ability to communicate telepathically.
She has the ability to see into the hearts of others, and speak to them from an internal place when her lips never move. Due to this ability, her clothing needed to "speak" for her, using her body language. Her costumes communicated angelic beauty, allowing her to probe the thoughts of others without the need to overcome their defenses.
5 HER JEWELRY WAS MEANT TO RESEMBLE SILVER WOOD
Ngila Dickson wanted Galadriel's dresses to be the main focus of her costume, with their many glass-beads used as the only eye-catching embellishments. Where jewelry was needed however, it was used to make a statement, as with the brooch she wears when she welcomes the Fellowship to Lothlorien and shows Frodo Baggins the mirror.
The broach was created by the talented craftspeople in the Weta Workshop, and was designed from thin silver and mother of pearl to make it light. Cate Blanchett was only scheduled to film a few weeks, so it didn't need to stand up to any strain. The silver work was made to look like the gentle branches of the Lorien wood.
4 THE PHIAL OF GALADRIEL WAS PAINTED GLASS
Before the Fellowship left Lothlorien, Galadriel gave the nine members special gifts to help them on their journey. She gave Frodo Baggins a special gift; the Light of Earendil, contained within an ornate glass phial. It was to be "a light to use in dark places", and especially potent against Mordor's spreading evil.
The phial itself was made of glass, but rather than etched or carved, it was actually latex or 3D printed upon to give it its unique appearance. In certain scenes, we can see the intricate flourishes around the neck, which make the glass look as though it was placed into some sort of setting.
3 SHE IS ONE OF THE ONLY ELVES TO WEAR A CROWN
Many members of Elven royalty wear circlets to denote their status among the many Elven Houses. Sometimes these circlets are single pieces of metal, such as the one Lord Elrond wears at Rivendell, or sometimes they're in several delicate pieces that drape across their brow, like the one his daughter Arwen wears.
Galadriel is one of the only elves to wear a crown. It took members of the Weta workshop three weeks to design and create it, and it's made to from a combination of silver metal and brass. It's meant to look like the branches of trees with golden leaves intertwined, and is worn "pointed downward" or upside down.
2 THE RING TEMPTING OUTFIT WAS SPECIFICALLY CREATED FOR THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING
When Frodo Baggins, the Ring-Bearer, offers Galadriel the One Ring, she's tempted to take it. The thrall of the One Ring is powerful, even for someone as wise as Galadriel. When she is tempted, her outfit completely changes from a white gown to a series of tattered grey and green strips and a gold breast plate.
This sequence is somewhat different in J.R.R. Tolkien's novel of The Fellowship of the Ring, where it is implied that Galadriel grows taller and more terrible before Frodo's eyes, but her outfit is never described (Tolkien didn't describe the garments in detail for many of his characters). Therefore Peter Jackson had to imagine what she might have looked like in this scene.
1 SHE WAS ALMOST ALWAYS BAREFOOT
In The Lord of the Rings trilogy, we meet several different Elven communities, and all of them are distinguished by aesthetic differences that range from extreme to subtle. Lothlorien Elves share similarities with Mirkwood Elves (both being wood elves), but it's Galadriel we see walking barefoot, unlike say, Legolas Greenleaf.
She was meant to float through the wood, almost lighter than air, like a spirit. During The Fellowship of the Ring, we see her barefoot, but she wore gold heeled boots during filming to give her height. Actress Cate Blanchett is already 5'9", but being a very old and regal elf, the height from the boots aided in conveying her majesty.