The film Alexander: The Ultimate Cut is the 2014 extended version of the 2004 film of the same title, following the life of Alexander the Great. Set in the 300’s B.C., the Classical Age of Greek costume, the film spans the conquests of the Macedonian ruler throughout Greece, Babylon, India, and various other locations. With this setting, time span, and with many characters, the costumes are numerous and diverse. The costume designer, Jenny Beavan, worked with art and textile historians to create the costumes for everything from servants to soldiers to kings.
Alexander is seen from age five until his death at 33. During his youngest years, Alexander wears short hair and a white, short, belted chiton clasped at both shoulders, typical of Greek children from 650 to 300 B. C.. When he is school age, Alexander’s hair is also short and he is wearing a slightly larger version of the short, belted chiton above a perizoma (used for athletic events), now with a short black cloak fastened over the right shoulder, as in typical boy outdoor wear of the period. At 19, Alexander is clean shaven and wearing a short, white doric chiton, fastened with one fibulae at both shoulders and with a belt. Around a similar time, at a feast, Alexander is in a black doric chiton with a white cloak or chlamys hanging over the left shoulder. At another event, Alexander is wearing another white doric chiton, this time with a gold border and a large fibulae securing the white chlamys on the left shoulder. In addition, he is wearing a gold band around his head and a necklace.
For armor, Alexander starts with a leather cuirass has two layers of flaps and folds into a pleated skirt under the belt, and it has a geometric yoke in the upper back. The border...
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...r fabric belt. His grandchildren wear minimal clothing in an almost sheer fabric, while a woman drapes and ties her gown similar to that of Ancient Egypt costume.
In essence, many of the main costumes for Alexander exhibit a historical accuracy combined with progressive storytelling for a multicultural, epic tale of Alexander the Great. However, the influence of today’s fashion and the pressure to make relatable, comprehensible costumes for a film audience hindered the accuracy. Olympias’s costumes held some precision, yet most of it was made for her characterization and storytelling. Likewise, the costumes for the various cultures were factual in some aspects, but much was sacrificed in order to make the film accessible to all audiences. Nevertheless, Jenny Beavan’s costumes succeeded in easily and beautifully telling Alexander’s story, if not completely accurate.
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