'Once Upon a Time' keeps Snow White's fairy tale style 'iconic and romantic'

Eduardo Castro says a lot of his inspiration for the costumes on ABC's "Once Upon a Time" comes from his own vision of fairy tales growing up.

"There was talk in the beginning of going very modern and avant garde with the fairy tales," he tells Zap2it. "We have gone more classic but there are elements of Alexander McQueen we've tried to incorporate into the designs."

"Once Upon a Time" presents a unique opportunity to do fantasy plus modern, which Castro enjoys. The characters are very well defined, so the biggest challenge is having only two or three days to conceptualize a costume, sketch it and get it made.

"We don't take it literally, we take it as the characters are written," Castro says. "Snow White (played by Ginnifer Goodwin) obviously is very iconic and romantic. We try to keep her palette very soft and also kind of luxurious in a way because even for television we exaggerate the fact that this normal everyday person is wearing kind of expensive clothes."

It takes a lot of talent to dress the fairest of them all, and Castro shares the thinking behind a few of her looks:

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"This is Snow White's bandit look. All of a sudden the writers said she should be badass, she's going to be a bandit and fighting for her life in the forest. We were very, very fortunate.

"I'm going to tell you some secrets you wouldn't believe. Her pants are modern: They are Rag & Bone riding pants with laces in the sides. The blouse is Tory Burch, linen with ruffles. We patch-worked the tunic together with pieces of suede and leather and hand-stitched it very rough-hewn with big stitches. We all thought it would just be in one episode and in the end it's the costume she's worn for so long and we had to make six of them.

"We had a belt that we made and the gauntlet gloves. The boots are John Fluevog, who is Canadian and a wonderful bootmaker who has a very periodlike handle on things. He has those period kind of heels and he makes short boots we use on Rumpelstiltskin as well.

"She wore a heavy linen cape, dark green. And we added a fur collar to the tunic and to finish the look. Ginnifer loves wearing that and playing the character so she is not so nicey-nicey."

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"The next costume was the most difficult costume we made for the entire season. It has to fit two actresses and go under water. We built two or three before we got to this point.

"All the fabrics we had to test and throw in the shower to see how it worked. After the fifth try we found the elements that worked together. Interestingly enough it's a really cheap white stretch velvet fabric that's a little embossed but when it was wet it worked very magically.

"Instead of silk chiffon in the sleeves we had to use poly chiffon because the silk wouldn't float. What we spent a lot of time on was the embroidery on the top, which was a sari that we took apart.

"And then we found these beaded shawls that we just draped around her hips. And we made the headdress out of crystals and flowers.

"It certainly was challenging because it has to look spectacular when she came out of the water."

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"Her modern look is very sweet, romantic and nonthreatening. But at the same time, it's not a simple boring romanticism; it has a little bit of an edge to it.

"One of the key elements is Ginnifer has this wonderful short hair. One of the images that popped into my head was [actress] Jean Seberg from the '50s.

"This dress is 'Plenty' by Tracy Reese from Anthropologie. The hard thing about dealing with this character is making her appealing and sexy without overdoing it. Ginnifer related to it very much. We paired that with a high-waisted cardigan.

"The shoes she is wearing are Repetto flats. If she's not wearing those, she has the little heels."

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"Shooting in Vancouver meant it's going to get cold very fast. The white hat we found in Steveston, where we shoot [fairy tale town] Storybrooke and it's locally made.

"The coat is Nanette Lepore and it's an ivory coat that she wears quite well. It has a fresh look to it, and it's cut to the body. She has several Nanette Lepore coats and she also wore Miss Sixty and a private label by Holt Renfrew."

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"This blouse is Club Monaco, the skirt is H&M -- very simple little floral print, very romantic -- and the shoes are Chie Mihara.

"Ginnifer was always very pleased. It's very crucial for an actor that they feel comfortable in what they are wearing for their character."
Photo/Video credit: ABC
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