As divisive as Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald may be, there seems to be one thing everyone’s agreed on since the very first trailer dropped: Young Dumbledore is super hot. Of course, that’s in large part because the 1927 version of Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore is played by heartthrob Jude Law — but young Dumbledore’s look was also carefully crafted. We chatted with Crimes of Grindelwald costume designer Colleen Atwood to find out just how much painstaking care and detail went into formulating the beloved character’s new look.
Dumbledore’s Casual Elegance
There’s no denying that Jude Law absolutely nailed the impalpable parts of Dumbledore’s personality: the casual not-creepy wink, the unbothered desk lean, the knowing smirk. But Law’s costuming also reflected Dumbledore’s signature coolness. Atwood recalled, “When I met with Jude about the character we talked about who Dumbledore was. We thought he was everyone’s favorite [teacher] at school — approachable, smart, he got what was going on in the room. He wasn’t intimidating in any way other than with his confidence.” Atwood infused his wardrobe with a “comfortably elegant” aesthetic.
All of Dumbledore’s costumes were handmade, and Atwood erred on the side of softer hues and materials. She used traditional English tweeds, but in softer and finer grade fabrics. In Paris, Atwood popped a hand-sewn, soft Italian trilby hat on his head, then swathed him in a gray corduroy coat — Law’s favorite piece of costuming. “A corduroy coat [looks] worn in and comfortable. But it looked elegant because, for one, it was on Jude Law, and it was just a coat like no one else had.”
Secret Messages in the Sweaters
Fans might note that young Dumbledore is a more conservative dresser than his older counterpart — no beard jewelry or silk robes. But there is an important and subtle nod to older Dumbledore in younger Dumbledore’s mostly gray jackets and cozy sweaters. “[The gray] was my nod toward the purple of later Dumbledore,” Atwood explained, “but I didn’t want to put my Dumbledore at this point in life in a purple outfit. If you put enough tint into gray, it can become off-purple quite easily, so it’s sort of a nod toward the purple without being obvious about it.”
Dumbledore also has subtle hints of red running through his wardrobe throughout the movie — his gray suit has a line of red throughout the tweed stitching, and he wears a muted red tie and bow tie in different scenes. The color was Atwood’s subtle tribute to the future headmaster’s Hogwarts House: Gryffindor. She said, “I didn’t want to put him in the obvious thing, but it’s a friendly little acknowledgment.”
Jude Law Walked in Looking Like Dumbledore
Of course, a huge part of Hot Dumbledore being so hot is the fact that he’s being played by Jude Law. When Law walked in for his first meeting with Atwood, he had just returned from holiday. “He’d been growing a beard, and he was super suntanned so it was even more jaw-dropping with those eyes,” Atwood laughed. His natural beard is the beard we see in the film — only slightly augmented for fullness. They didn’t need to tan him at all, even after the vacation tan faded — “He has a lot of natural color, he’s not super pasty genetically,” Atwood said — and Law’s natural hair color is extremely close to what we see on-screen.
According to Crimes of Grindelwald makeup artist and hair stylist Emmy Beech, they actually had to add gray to Law’s hair to age him up a bit. “We put a little bit of silver through his hair to try and bridge the gap between young Dumbledore and older Dumbledore,” Beech said. “It was his natural color, it was just a little bit [of gray] on the sides to get that salt and peppery look going through.”
So, with some very minor movie magic and slight visual tweaks, Jude Law completely transformed into Hot Dumbledore. If it sounds too magical to be true, don’t worry, Atwood agrees. “Sometimes people just walk in and they own a certain part of that character already — whether by accident or whether they’ve thought about it, you never know — but for some reason, sometimes the worlds just collide in a good way,” she said. “And I think with Jude and that look for Dumbledore, [they] did.”