Of the five films in The Twilight Saga, the first entry in the series – Twilight, directed by Catherine Hardwicke – has always been my favorite. Part of that, I think, stems from the fact that Twilight is also my favorite of the books in the series; but I think a lot of it is also because the film was clearly made with a lot of love, and you can see Catherine Hardwicke’s quirky sensibilities reflected in every scene. While that isn’t a good thing to those who don’t like her brand of filmmaking, for me, Twilight established a tone that influenced the rest of the series, even if other things – like directorial style and the inclusion of the blue filter, for example – changed after the first film.
If you want to see an example of how closely Catherine Hardwicke touched every part of her film, look no further than its costuming. While Wendy Chuck was the wardrobe director for Twilight, Catherine herself played a key role in establishing the tone for each character and how they’d look and dress. In fact, according to the Twilight: Director’s Notebook – a visual filmmaking diary compiled by Catherine throughout production – Catherine personally reviewed the proposed wardrobe pieces for each character. If she liked a piece, it would be added to the wardrobe tests undergone by each actor, wherein they were photographed in different outfits to get a clear picture of how certain styles – including hair and makeup – might appear on screen. If she didn’t personally like a piece, it was never even presented to her actors as an option.
And that’s not all: Catherine even included pieces from her own wardrobe in Twilight, too. Most famously, Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan wore a pair of Catherine’s own shoes: the iconic (in Bella costuming circles, anyway!) Simple Retire slip-ons. As a result, Catherine’s essence can be felt in every facet of the movie – right down to the shoes on Bella’s feet.
After the first Twilight film was released in 2008, photos from character wardrobe tests became available on the Internet, and these photos were an interesting resource because in some cases, they gave us a better look at clothing that was actually worn on screen. In most cases, though, it gave us a glimpse into Catherine’s initial vision for each character.
Alice describes her precognition as a narrowing of choices: with every choice someone makes, their future sharpens from millions of possibilities into more and more refined paths. Through these wardrobe tests, Catherine did the same, choosing the pieces that would shape her vision of each character and discarding the ones that didn’t fit. It’s fascinating, though, to see these possibilities – those pieces that didn’t quite fit, but were, at one time, considered something plausible for Alice, or Bella, or Rosalie to wear.
Because most of these pieces weren’t featured on screen, many of them have never been identified. But over the years, I’ve long desired a resource – similar to the original Coolspotters.com – that could compile all of these wardrobe test shots in one place and be continually updated as brands are identified.
And, since such a place doesn’t currently exist, I’ve decided to do it myself.
Below, you’ll find all of the Alice Cullen test wardrobe photos I was able to find and compile, which were originally posted by the now-defunct website Ash-Greene.org. I’ve included the brands we already know in the image captions below, and you can click on the images themselves to get a better look at the details in each outfit. I’ve also assigned spotting credit where available.
I’m hoping this will be a living document that members of the costuming community can come together to help update, and that some day, we’ll know the identity of every piece. If you have a spot you’d like to contribute, or if there are images you feel are missing, please feel free to comment below or message me on Instagram at @mary.alice.brandon.
Together, we can take this to the finish line!