BEAUTIFUL WITCH: The new Disney movie “Maleficent” is advertised with a series of striking posters that feature star Angelina Jolie as the titular villain with porcelain skin, architectural cheekbones and shimmering, greenish gold eyes. It’s an image that seems removed from a fashion editorial, which is no surprise given its creators: photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.

They shot the images at their studio in London, and noted that, together with Jolie, they “played” with the character, calling the actress “an incredible muse.” In contrast to a fashion shoot, where “you are also responsible for making the garments look great,” the photographers said shooting the posters allowed them to focus on translating Maleficent’s eerie, magnetic nature visually. They described the images for the movie as “quite romantic.”

This story first appeared in the May 30, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“We wanted to try something more bold and graphic, sort of unlike the usual movie posters,” the duo said. “It was important to us that [Jolie] didn’t come across as [an] ‘evil queen,’ and that she had a lot of emotion and depth to her character.” That chimes in with Jolie’s vision for the character, which the actress has said hopefully conveys “all the complexities women have.”

The photographers are not the only fashion names that have had a hand in creating Maleficent’s look — London-based milliner Justin Smith was part of the team that created the character’s curved horns, which are fashioned from resin and covered in materials including python skin, fine goat napa leather, stingray and lizard. Smith said that Jolie selected him to work on the costume to add an element to the design that was “a bit more fashion” and presented the character as “partly human, partly fairy, part creature.” “We wanted to respect the original Fifties [Maleficent] animation, but make [the character] edgy.” In the end, the concept was “a fusion of Angelina and Maleficent.”

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