Does Shrek ever get out of that sack?

What style of dress looks best on a bright green

ogre-princess? What colors make an evil stepsister

look super-evil? Those are just some of the decisions

that Isis Mussenden faced when she signed on to be costume designer

for "Shrek 2," the fairy tale fable sequel that hits theaters tomorrow.

Yes, even animated characters need to be clothed. (Well, except Donkey!) Mussenden had worked on movies with live actors (and she's working now on a movie version of C.S. Lewis's "The Chronicles of Narnia") but the "Shrek" movies were the first time she had tried to clothe actors that didn't really

exist. She says in some ways it's easier to dress animated actors. For one thing, you don't have to find the right amount of the perfect fabric to make a dress

for an actress. "In animation . . . I can have any fabric I like because I design that too," she says. Though her actors are created in computers, Mussenden created their clothes the old-fashioned way, on paper.

She had patterns made from her drawings, and even picked

out cloth to make sure that the costumes had the color and

texture she had in mind. Then she gave this information

to the computer artists who, like extremely skilled

versions of you at your computer paint box, played

around punching in color and all the details of trim,

sheen and embroidery to make her sketches come to life.

Bridget Byrne talked with Mussenden about the fun

and challenges of dressing ogres,

princesses and cats.


How does a flowing skirt move on an ogre: "I did actually make a skirt for Fiona, so [the computer animators] could sort of see how it moved."

Tight sleeves vs. flowing sleeves: Fiona's sleeves are tight and that's because of the extra work the sleeves would create for the animators. "If the sleeve were flowing down like a medieval sleeve, [computer animators] would have to animate everything inside the sleeve every time it moved."

You don't have to put zippers in costumes for computer images: "You don't have any of those worries about . . . how someone will get into the garment."

On a princess and an ogre wearing the same (green) dress: "The dress has to work for both body types. Fiona ogre is so deliciously cute and I wanted to make sure she looked really cute, because Fiona princess will always look good. One thing I did was lower the waistline to get a more medieval style than in the first 'Shrek.' "

Fiona's new clothes: "We start her off in her lilac dress, a little organic and textured, because she's been living in the swamp. . . . Then there's a ball gown, which is inspired by a picture I found of a 1958 . . . dress with rhinestones."


Sacked out? Without giving too much of the story away, Shrek does get a clothing change in the new movie. "He's high style," Mussenden said.


A tip of his hat: "Puss-in-Boots is just the cutest. Very gallant with his boots and cape, and feather in his hat. You have the same problem with a hat as you do in live action. Does it cast a shadow over his face? We didn't want to lose sight of that cute little face, so the brim is curled back."

Isis Mussenden, top left, designed clothes for Shrek and Fiona to match their characters and the medieval period. Donkey's bare wardrobe is far easier.Prince Charming, top, and the Ugly Stepsister show off their duds.