Girl on Fire and InStyle


I don’t know about you, but I love when a fashion website like InStyle asks designers to submit their own sketches for some sort of fashion moment, real or fictional. The designs for Princess Catherine’s wedding dress alone revealed a lot about the designers themselves: for instance, supposing to send a new princess down the aisle in something that looks like an Oscar outfit discarded by Bjork reveals that the designer cares more about pushing their faux-avant-garde agenda than creating something fitting to the occasion.

So now that a handful of designers have tried to make Katniss’s fire outfit from The Hunger Games I get to judge designers based on the books they haven’t read!

Not really. A lot of them understood the concept and created something beautiful. But a lot of them also revealed themselves to have responded to the words “fire” and “dress” only. And the thing of it is, it was such a golden opportunity: Cinna, the fashion designer of The Hunger Games books, [SPOILER] all but incites a rebellion with his boundary-pushing threads. He does it under the nose of a dictator. He does it for an event designed to display the power of that abused authority. As all the other Hunger Games tributes are typically dressed in shallow representations of their districts – cows for the livestock-bearing District 10, usually some sort of coalminer getup for Katniss’s home, District 12. Cinna’s more metaphorical and visionary path has power, which is so increasingly rarely applied to fashion. Even when he is gone as a character, his designs matter. He is hailed as an artistic genius.

In other words, this InStyle spread is a great way of telling which designers can seamlessly blend their own concepts, and which are so infuriatingly stuck in their own view that they bypass the opportunity to be compared to what may be a singular beast: an actual (if fictional) fashion hero.

Let’s judge!

As a reminder, here is what designers are referring to:

“I am dressed in what will either be the most sensational or the deadliest costume in the opening ceremonies. I’m in a simple black unitard that covers me from ankle to neck. Shiny leather boots lace up to my knees. But it’s the fluttering cape made of streams of orange, yellow, and red and the matching headpiece that define this costume. Cinna plans to light them on fire just before our chariot rolls into the streets.” — The Hunger Games, pp. 67

So, again: This is not her interview dress, it is not any other costume: this is meant to be what she wears in the chariot for the games’ opening ceremonies. Who’s got a bit of Cinna in them and who’s smushing their spring line in our faces?

Christian Siriano


This assigment is RIGHT up no-frill-left-behind Project Runway contestant Siriano’s ruffle factory. One for big, dramatic statements of the Cinna variety, this is the one I most expected to be left-field crazy. Yet it is one of the ones that is truest to the book, while conceptual enough to have this designer’s imprint. I want those boots. Cinna approves.

Tommy Hilfiger


Not only is Katniss sketched skinny enough to be a flagpole, she’s wearing a flag. Hilfiger even took the fire out of the fire colors by muting it down to blahness. Nothing… fierce about this look. But hey, if they decide to put her in a Hamptons beach house instead of the Hunger Games last minute, she’s all set.

Rachel Roy


BIG points for the Mockingjay pin on the boot. Nice interpretation of the cape into a dress – but it’s a bit frilly, no? While also looking austere. Meh.

Tadashi Shoji


“Look, I’ll go to the Hunger Games right after prom. My buddies and I rented a limo, and there’s an all night kegger. Then I’ll compete in the Miss Panem pageant and meet you at the Capitol.”

Charlotte Ronson


Hot all over: from the way the fire design fans out, to those amazing boots, to the working in of the arrows (even though hardcore fans know she’d never show her arrows at the opening ceremonies). As a conceptual idea of Katniss, this is the best one so far.

Nicole Miller


Underneath: slick/fussy/militaristic, none of which is Katniss at this point.

As for what’s above it, I wore something similar in my third grade Thanksgiving pageant. I was the turkey.

Christian Cota


I’m going to call this guy Cinna from now on. YOW! Girl on fire indeed! He is the only one to make the actual fire element part of the design: the shape and feel of fire is important to the effect of Katniss’s outfit in the book, and it is crucial to the design here. Love, love, the two-toned black fire detailing on the jumpsuit. Definite best, A+. Cota is a book nerd in a fashion designer’s body.



Katniss is sad. She is stick-shaped and wobbly at the edges with a paper white dress and a down-pointing arrow. And has somehow aged 60 years. Oh but she’s a fierce little septuagenarian – check out the teeny crepe cape of red and yellow. That’s how you know.

Erin Fetherston

Microsoft Word - blonds sketch.docx

Nothing says fierce, fire-swirling badass like a precious, pink fringed demi-cape, a crown of flowers, and a silhouette to which you’d like to feed a sandwich.

The Blonds

Microsoft Word - blonds sketch.docx

It’s like Bob Mackie, Alexander McQueen and Cher got together for The Hunger Games: The Drag Edition. Though, on second thought, if she wore this in the arena half her competitors would die of fright.



…whereas with this one she’d just die. Preppy Katniss is on her way to meet up with her tennis buddies, once she stops to extinguish herself. Seriously, though, this one is clearly just an attempt to show off a cute dress (which is, after all, not that cute) and impose some flames to make it fit the theme. Cinna would consider it criminally negligent to act as though fashion matters so little.

Tell us what you think in the comments!

  • Anonymous

    congrats! that was brilliant!!!:)

  • Ellehoward88

    It’s really a very good idea to put people’s thoughts about clothes design here. Not everyone is good at using a sewing machine. But it’s not difficult to draw your designed clothes.

  • Aggi

    Such a wonderful idea – I never knew that InStyle did this – it’s terribly creative. I particularly like the Rachel Roy interpretation, it really captures the idea behind the dress and has such detail to it.

  • Osh Gosh Ba Josh

    “Katniss is sad.” I may have peed a little.

  • Patricious

    great article.
    it’s all about the boots. the end.

  • Carbon658

    I actually quite like the Rachel Roy dress interpretation. Maybe it doesn’t quite fit the ceremonial mood, but it’s a very creative shape.

  • Arabbel

    Cota’s is definitely spot on. And the way he added the two-tone black flames also makes it his own, a slight unique twist. It’s just great.