Like anyone thrust into the public eye of the Capitol, our tributes undergo a dramatic transformation. In the case of Katniss Everdeen or Johanna Mason, a starlet is polished, primped, poised—and then, reborn. But the most talented stylists know that fashion becomes art when it lends subtext and reflects a deeper meaning. Imagine our fierce Katniss Everdeen with pin-straight hair or edgy Johanna Mason in stiff pink taffeta instead of cork and shredded organza?
Our best Capitol prep teams eke out the essence of a tribute and enhance it to new heights. Sometimes, they misfire in their zeal to be recognized. There was the year that a District 4 tribute was dressed in a suit festooned with fishhooks and buoys—too literal. Or the clunky marble clutch a poor District 2 tribute was forced to carry for her publicity tour. It’s no wonder she was exhausted when it came time for the Games.
Behind the scenes, it’s the quiet, submissive Avox who adjusts the final nuances of every look, from pinning a hem an inch higher to sewing on a nebula of sequins. And unlike certain high profile stylists—except for subtle, humble Cinna—the Avox understands that his or her role will always be eclipsed by the tributes they assist. Edith Head, the famous costume designer of long ago pre-Panem days, once said: “I always wear beige, black or white. When I’m beside a star at a fitting, and she looks into the mirror, I don’t want to be competing in any way.”
The Avox can’t compete, of course. They are forever silenced by their acts of rebellion—as President Snow mandated that their tongues be cut as punishment. And it’s their role as trusted servants that makes these reformed hellions the confidantes of our Victors. An Avox can’t repeat secrets or traffic in gossip. He or she merely observes and nods when commanded. Their uniforms range from simple earth-toned minimalist ensembles to full body cat suits that allow them to blend into backgrounds like living wallpaper. And as many a tribute will attest, an Avox can be your best source of comfort and company on the night before the Games. A human presence with no expectations.