Designing The Yule Ball: Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire

In 2005, Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire (Directed by Mike Newell) introduced audiences to the on-screen interpretation of The Yule Ball. The Yule Ball was always held during the midst of the famous Triwizard Tournament, a magical contest held between the three largest wizarding schools of Europe: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Durmstrang Institute, and Beauxbatons Academy of Magic. Each school selects one champion for the tournament, but as the story goes, an extra champion is selected by the Goblet of Fire – Harry Potter (played by Daniel Radcliffe).

From L to R: Predrag Bjelac as Igor Karkaroff , Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, Maggie Smith as Minerva McGonagall, Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbledore. Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

While The Goblet of Fire is a truly amazing tale, filled with dragons, romance, dark magic, and mermaids, the most magical moments of them all go back to The Yule Ball. As a true Harry Potter and costume design nerd, The Yule Ball is a conjunction of the best of two worlds, an intersection between the best of film, literature, and costume design.

Jany Temime is a French-Dutch costume designer known for her work on six of the eight films in the Harry Potter film series, including The Goblet of Fire, each of which garnered her Saturn Award nominations. She won the Costume Designers Guild Award in 2012 for the 2011 film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. I had the great honor of being able to get a few minutes with Jany to ask her about her experience working on the Harry Potter films and more specifically, The Yule Ball!

It was a pleasure to design the Harry Potter film costumes! We had so much fun and those 20 years have been the most exciting of my working life. I saw the little stars growing, and becoming wonderful people.

Jany Temime

The Yule Ball introduces us formally to the “dress robe”. Essentially it is a formal, exquisite version of the everyday robe worn by witches and wizards. At Hogwarts, students in their fourth year and above were expected to bring at least one set of dress robes. This brings us to our two lead characters, Harry Potter and Ron Weasley (played by Rupert Grint).

From L to R: Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter. Photos Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Ron comes from a rather poor family, so his robes were secondhand. Passed down by his… Great Aunt Tessie. Funny enough, these robes also smelled like Ron’s Great Aunt Tessie. Everyone knows this predicament when you have a relative who gives you something, perhaps a gift, and you find it to be dreadful but your mother wants you to wear it, regardless of your feelings! Ron’s dress robes are built of a rather heavy-looking textile that looks fit for curtains. The best part is, of course, the over-the-top use of ruffles! I find this costume quite amazing because it’s quite comedic but also informs us of what dress robes might have looked like in the past. Once we see everyone else at the ball, the audience quickly realizes how dated Ron’s dress robes are- which all leads back to the genius of costume designer, Jany Temime.

If Ron is wearing dress robes of the past, then Harry Potter and Cedric Diggory (played by Robert Pattinson) are wearing the modern versions of the classic dress robes. Both of these characters, who are also the two Hogwarts champions, are essentially wearing a dress robe version of the tuxedo. Harry and Cedric’s black dress robes are very sleek, and bring out the “champion” quality in each of these students. At this moment, Harry and Cedric at the top of the Hogwarts class, and they look the part.

From L to R: Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter, Robert Pattinson as Cedric Diggory, Katie Leung as Cho Chang. Photos Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

When people think about the Yule Ball, they always think about one costume, and one costume only. I am referring to the iconic pink dress that Hermoine Granger (played by Emma Watson) wears to The Yule Ball, famously shutting down all of her haters. Many of the students had such unfair and low expectations of Hermoine. Many thought she wouldn’t even come. Then the moment happens, Hermoine emerges at the top of the staircase. It is as though Hermoine lit up the entire room. It’s a real Cinderella moment, except she already has her Prince Charming on her arm, Viktor Krum (played by Stanislav Yanevski).

Hermoine wears a pink, flowy gown that just so effortlessly flows to the ground. The pink has an ombré color in the fabric, darkening as it merges into the hem. This is the moment, Hermoine has arrived. Most Harry Potter fans remember where they were at the exact moment they saw Hermoine descend down that grand staircase. I asked Jany Temime about her idea behind Hermoine’s dress.

I dressed up Hermione in pink because that is a sweet sixteen colour, and I wanted that dress to look like a girl’s dream. 

Jany Temime

From L to R: Stanislav Yanevski as Viktor Krum, Emma Watson as Hermoine Granger. Photos Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Finally, another exciting part about The Yule Ball is seeing all of the different schools coming together, the many cultures, and the dress robes they wore. Viktor Krum and the Durmstrang Institute had a more uniform look to the ball. Durmstrang shows a lot of Slavic inspiration. They sport a lot of furs and crimson colors. Very minimalist in silhouette, but dramatic in textiles and accessories such as their over-the-shoulder capes.

Fleur Delacour (played by Clémence Poésy) and Beauxbatons Academy of Magic students had a very french-couture, fashionable style and they certainly brought it to The Yule Ball. The Beauxbatons students are known for wearing very feminine, light uniforms- mostly in blues and pale colors. Fleur’s dress she brought for the Yule Ball was extraordinary. It was simple in silhouette, but you can tell that the fabric was so light and delicate. She looked like an angel.

From L to R: Henry Lloyd-Hughes as Roger Davies, Clémence Poésy as Fleur Delacour. Photo Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

We also had a few supporting characters who were chosen as dates by a few of our Triwizard Champions. Parvati and Padma Patil (played by Shefali Chowdhury and Afshan Azad) went with Harry and Ron as their dates. They honored their Indian heritage with sari-style dress robes to the Yule Ball. Cho Chang (played by Katie Leung) went with the other Hogwarts champion, Cedric Diggory, to The Yule Ball. Cho wore a beautiful, silver robe that shows fantastic Chinese influence. 

From L to R: Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, Afshan Azad as Padma Patil, Shefali Chowdhury as Parvati Patil, Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter. Photos Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

In conclusion, the costumes designed for The Yule Ball are some of the most stunning costumes seen on the big screen. Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire will always be one of my holiday favorites. I want to give a big thank you to the legendary costume designer, Jany Temime, for taking the time to speak with me. More so, I want to thank her for her work as a costume designer, one who brought to life so many of my favorite characters and stories that shaped the early parts of my life.  Now, would it be too much for someone to ask me to the ball?

Happy Holidays Everyone!

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