"Till the End of the Moon" can be said to be the most popular Xianxia drama in recent. And the topic of Xianxia styling in cdramas seems to have once again been pushed to the forefront. In more and more Xianxia dramas, the characters have different appearances and rich accessories, the styling of Xianxia dramas no longer seems to be identical.
Classic Xianxia Styling
At first, the styling photos of "Till the End of the Moon" were praised for creating a magnificent feeling for Xianxia dramas. However, after the broadcast, some audiences felt that the styling was not as stunning as it was advertised. But most netizens think that this is already an excellent enough styling for Xianxia dramas nowadays.
Because for many years, the styling designers of Xianxia drama seem to be obsessed with the light and simplicity. Being immaculate and elegant seems to have become the standard for immortals nowadays. In order to create an atmosphere of "not being affected by the mundane world", the styling of immortals is extremely simple. If you cover the actors' heads, it is probably difficult to tell the difference. Uniform cold-toned clothes, plus a bit of gauze texture, seem to be agreed upon.
The hairstyles are mainly center-parted with long crowns and loose hair, with few of the hanfu accessories commonly used by women in the past, such as hairpins and Buyao. Details on clothing, such as Dao crowns, Pi Bo, and jade pendants, are also few and far between.
Previously, "Ancient Love Poetry" received a lot of criticism from viewers because of a lack of understanding of the "Xian" elements in the costumes, and a failure to grasp the core characteristics. The production team simply understood the unattainable nature of the immortals as being simple and bland, even symbolizing it with white gauze, loose hair, and a blank expression. This rigid and perfunctory attitude is particularly evident in the costumes.
However, the interpretation of immortals in xianxia dramas is not just one style. Not only in the current "Till the End of the Moon," but also in many past dramas, we can see more rich and colorful costume designs.
For example, the "Chinese Paladin" series, the pioneer of Xianxia dramas, has unique and distinctive costumes for its main characters. The early costumes of Zhao Ling'er, played by Liu Yifei, were based on the clothing structures of the Warring States, Qin, and Han periods. The skirt was modified into an irregular shape, paired with a blue and white floral draped silk shoulder cape and a black flower headdress. The grayish-blue color of the outer robe not only resembles the traditional image of Nu Wa, but also appears agile and innocent.
Looking at the Nuwa tribe costume of Zi Xuan in "Chinese Paladin 3," is based on the Tang dynasty Shanqun style, with a natural drooping hem and an overall traditional T-shaped silhouette. The clothing is embroidered with abstract patterns from top to bottom, with a rolling edge pattern on the skirt and a set of continuous intertwined floral patterns, as well as a set of continuous circular patterns. Overall, it looks luxurious and elegant.
If we turn back the clock a bit more, the costume design for the immortals in "Journey to the West" was also more carefully crafted. Compared to the various plain colors used all over the body, the costumes in these dramas emphasize the combination of different colors. Even the brighter colors, under the skillful design of the costume designer, complement each other. These immortals have both a sense of etherealness and an elegant and charming side, which may be more appealing to people.
The Origin of the Identical Xianxia Styling Style
How did the homogenization of the costume and makeup of the Xianxia drama emerge? In fact, attentive viewers must be able to find, some popular Xianxia dramas that have a similar creative team.
For example, "The Journey of Flower" aired in 2015, "Eternal Love" aired in 2017, and "Love and Destiny" aired in 2019 were all directed by Lin Yufen. Therefore, the director often chooses their familiar teams during filming, which often leads to a feeling of familiar feeling in the art design and makeup.
In "The Journey of Flower," most of the main characters' costumes are light-colored, and the male lead's classic attire is a long sleeve robe, while the female lead wears a light outer shirt and a chest-high skirt. In "Eternal Love," the costumes for the 1400 sets worn by the 130 characters were all designed by the top-tier drama costume design master Zhang Shuping and his team, with the "Xian" element being the focus of the entire drama's shaping. Bai Qian's costumes tend to be modern and simple, using a lot of light and transparent chiffon fabrics, low-saturation complex colors, and mixed with many contemporary aesthetic tastes.
As these Xianxia dramas become popular, when market capital enters again, it often follows the trend to cater to everyone's aesthetic preferences. As more and more similar works appear, standardization becomes more and more obvious. Too many films and television dramas have become the safest choice to avoid more risks in business by using routines.
In addition, reusing costumes and makeup props to compress costs is another reason. In fact, this is not a new thing. For example, Tangren Media, which shot the "Chinese Paladin", would reuse its props and costumes from its own costume library until they became outdated.
If the production company wants to deduct production costs and save costs, it can also use these well-made clothes on various celebrities. Of course, the effect of shooting makes many dramas look very similar.
Very few production companies consider issues such as innovation and aesthetic iteration, which is also one of the important reasons for the routinization and assembly-line production of Xianxia drama costumes. The production side relies on the advantage of the complete industrial chain, imitates successful cases of viewing such as "The Journey of Flower" and "Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms", and even continues the costume style of popular dramas.
A New Source of Inspiration for Xianxia Styling
The inspiration for the Xianxia style comes from online novels, and the costume design of Xianxia dramas is particularly important for visual-oriented film and television dramas, costume design itself is a distinctive expression of the theme of the work.
As there is currently no systematic theory of dress that can meet the demands of the Xianxia drama market, the understanding of Xianxia drama costumes can be diverse. However, society is changing, and people's aesthetics are changing too. At first, you may feel that the immortals in Xianxia dramas wear simple and elegant, light and ethereal chiffon costumes, but uniformity can easily cause visual fatigue. Catering to some market aesthetics is no longer feasible, it is time for Xianxia dramas to make changes in costume design.
The rich history of Chinese art in religious and mythical costumes can be a new way to create Xianxia drama styles. For example, "Till the End of the Moon" was inspired by Dunhuang murals to design character styles. Many art creations related to immortals have been passed down in Chinese art history, which are traditional images of immortals.
The most famous mythical material in the history of Taoist art is the "Eighty-Seven Immortals Scroll", created by Wu Daozi in the Tang Dynasty, which takes Taoist stories as its theme and uses only lines to depict the grand scenes of the eighty-seven immortals.
It details the clothing of the heavenly palace. From this, we can see that there are many Taoist goddesses, and their costumes have the same basic shape, with large sleeves and long skirts, which is the most prominent style feature. They wear jade necklaces with fluttering ribbons on their chests, and have various hairstyles which were popular in the Sui and Tang dynasties.
Overall, Daoist immortals have high hair buns and wear Taoist crowns, and their costumes are mainly robes with large sleeves, and the material is soft and smooth with few patterns, mainly with rolled edge patterns.
As one of the most influential religions in ancient China, Buddhism has many classic costume images of bodhisattvas and Guanyin that are also worth referencing. A partial image of Guanyin was discovered in the Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang. Both with double hair buns, symmetrically combed with hairpins, wearing the same style of ddress as Tang Dynasty women, with huge sleeves, draped with chiffon Pi Bo around their elbows and shoulders, and very exquisite.
Of course, in recent years, "National Treasure" has been very worthwhile to learn from in terms of costume design. Although it is not set against the background of "Xianxia," the attention to makeup is enough to see its excellence, making the stage performance even more beautiful.
Do you think the costumes in "Till the End of the Moon" are outstanding? Which Xianxia drama costumes do you like the most?