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Colleen Atwood (born September 25, 1948)[1] is an American costume designer.

Colleen Atwood
Born (1948-09-25) September 25, 1948 (age 70)
Alma materCornish College of the Arts
OccupationCostume designer
Years active1981–present

Atwood has been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design twelve times, winning four times - for the films Chicago (2002), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Alice in Wonderland (2010), and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016); the latter is the first Wizarding World film to win an Academy Award. She has collaborated several times with directors Tim Burton, Rob Marshall and Jonathan Demme.[2]


Early life and educationEdit

Born in Yakima, Washington, she studied painting at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington in the early 1970s, and later worked in retail at various places, including the Yves St. Laurent boutique at Frederick & Nelson department store in the city.[3]


Atwood began her career as a fashion advisor in Washington in the early 1970. She moved to New York in 1980, where she studied art at New York University.[4] Her movie career started after a chance encounter with someone whose mother was designing the sets for the film Ragtime, and she got the job of a PA (production assistant) in the film.[3][5] She worked as an assistant to a costume designer and eventually earned her first film credit for A Little Sex, directed by Bruce Paltrow.[4]

Eventually Atwood ventured into the world of costume design for theater and film, initially coming to fame through her work on Sting's Bring on the Night World Tour, also made into a documentary by the same name.[6] An important turning point in her career came when, through production designer Bo Welch with whom she had worked in Joe Versus the Volcano, she met director Tim Burton. Atwood and Burton worked together on over seven films in the next two decades, starting with Edward Scissorhands and including Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood, Big Fish, Planet of the Apes, and Sweeney Todd.[3][5] She moved to Los Angeles in 1990.[4]

Atwood has been partially involved in developing or has been the lead designer for producing the costumes on over 50 films to date. She was the lead costume designer for all the new costumes created for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in 2005-2006. She also designed The Black Parade band uniforms for the band My Chemical Romance, as well as costumes for the following album, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. She also designs for television, including Arrow,[7] The Flash,[7] and the new Supergirl series.[7]

Atwood's favorite fashion designers include Azzedine Alaia,[4] Yohji Yamamoto[4] and Alexander McQueen.[4][8]


Year Title Director
1984 Firstborn Michael Apted
1985 Bring on the Night
1986 Manhunter Michael Mann
1987 Critical Condition Michael Apted
The Pick-up Artist James Toback
Someone to Watch Over Me Ridley Scott
1988 For Keeps John G. Avildsen
Married to the Mob Jonathan Demme
Fresh Horses David Anspaugh
Torch Song Trilogy Paul Bogart
1989 Hider in the House Matthew Patrick
1990 The Handmaid's Tale Volker Schlöndorff
Joe Versus the Volcano John Patrick Shanley
Edward Scissorhands Tim Burton
1991 The Silence of the Lambs Jonathan Demme
Rush Lili Fini Zanuck
1992 Lorenzo's Oil George Miller
1993 Born Yesterday Luis Mandoki
Philadelphia Jonathan Demme
1994 Cabin Boy Adam Resnick
Wyatt Earp Lawrence Kasdan
Ed Wood Tim Burton
Little Women Gillian Armstrong
1995 The Grotesque John-Paul Davidson
1996 The Juror Brian Gibson
That Thing You Do! Tom Hanks
Head Above Water Jim Wilson
Mars Attacks! Tim Burton
1997 Buddy Caroline Thompson
Gattaca Andrew Niccol
1998 Fallen Gregory Hoblit
Beloved Jonathan Demme
Mumford Lawrence Kasdan
1999 Sleepy Hollow Tim Burton
2001 Golden Dreams Agnieszka Holland
The Mexican Gore Verbinski
Planet of the Apes Tim Burton
2002 CinéMagique Jerry Rees
Chicago Rob Marshall
2003 Big Fish Tim Burton
2004 Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Brad Silberling
2005 Memoirs of a Geisha Rob Marshall
2006 Mission: Impossible III J. J. Abrams
2007 Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Tim Burton
2010 Alice in Wonderland
The Tourist Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
2011 The Rum Diary Bruce Robinson
In Time Andrew Niccol
2012 Dark Shadows Tim Burton
Snow White and the Huntsman Rupert Sanders
2014 Big Eyes Tim Burton
Into the Woods Rob Marshall
2016 The Huntsman: Winter's War Cedric Nicolas-Troyan
Alice Through the Looking Glass James Bobin
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Tim Burton
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them David Yates
2018 Tomb Raider Roar Uthaug
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald David Yates
2019 Dumbo Tim Burton
Lady and the Tramp Charlie Bean
Untitled Charles Randolph project Jay Roach
TBA The Little Mermaid Rob Marshall


Notable awards and nominationsEdit

Academy Awards

BAFTA Awards

Emmy Awards

  • Won: Outstanding Costumes for a Variety/Music Program or a Special, Tony Bennett: An American Classic (2006)


  1. ^ "Atwood, Colleen". Current Biography Yearbook 2010. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. 2010. pp. 19–22. ISBN 9780824211134.
  2. ^ "Oscars: Colleen Atwood wins for Alice in Wonderland costume design". LA Times. February 27, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Who dresses Johnny Depp? Costumer Colleen Atwood, a Northwest native". The Seattle Times. December 11, 2010. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Diamond, Jamie (February 24, 2005). "A Costume Drama in Modern Dress". New York Times.
  5. ^ a b "Behind the Scenes; A Dozen Bright Talents Who Are Helping To Shape the Season Ahead:COLLEEN ATWOOD: Clothes Conscientious". New York Times. September 9, 1990.
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet (November 8, 1985). "SCREEN: STING IN 'BRING ON THE NIGHT'". New York Times.
  7. ^ a b c "Costume Designer Colleen Atwood on Making the Heroes of 'Flash' & 'Arrow' Look Super". Variety. June 3, 2015.
  8. ^ Leung, Mariana (1 June 2012). "Exclusive Interview: Oscar-Winning Costume Designer Colleen Atwood". Ms Fabulous. Retrieved 8 June 2013.

External linksEdit