This is a very calculated look. Nothing Cinna designs is arbitrary.

Like most of Katniss’s team, Cinna, her stylist, understands the importance of appearance. All of his designs seek to change the Capitol’s perception of Katniss. In this case, Katniss observes that Cinna has designed an innocent, girlish dress for her to wear at her post-Games interview. Rumor has it that the Capitol is angered by Katniss’s quick thinking with the nightlock – not only did her stunt outsmart the Gamemakers, but it also openly defied the Capitol’s commands. In order to protect Katniss, Cinna helps her appear as unthreatening as possible.

It’s all a big show. It’s all about how you’re perceived.

Haymitch explains to Katniss that she needs to stop worrying about truth or genuineness when it comes to how she presents herself pre-Games. To the audience of the Games, tributes are more like fictional characters or celebrities on a reality TV show than they are real people. To gain their attention – and more importantly, their sponsorship – Katniss needs to present herself as a likable, fascinating, and capable contestant, even if this means creating false narratives or exaggerations when it comes to her personality and circumstances.

If I want to keep Peeta alive, I’ve got to give the audience something more to care about. Star-crossed lovers desperate to get home together.

Katniss recognizes that her love story with Peeta is her greatest chance at getting sponsored gifts. With Peeta suffering from a serious wound and threatened by blood poisoning, Katniss knows that faking a romance for the audience will win them sympathy and supplies that could save Peeta’s life. Although she isn’t yet in love with Peeta, and despite her dislike of disingenuousness, she is ready to put on a believable show of romance to protect him.

I want the audience to recognize you in the arena . . . Katniss, the girl who was on fire.

Part of Cinna’s motivation for making Katniss so recognizable is personal achievement. After all, he wants his designs to stand out. But more than that, Cinna understands recognition and connection are the keys to Katniss’s survival. If the audience is still able to connect the starving, injured girl in the arena to the radiant, powerful “girl on fire,” they are more likely to root for her success and send her the resources she desperately needs.

They’ve got a show to put on. They need some players with some heat.

Haymitch believes that Katniss received a high training score – despite her risky stunt with the arrow – because the Capitol realizes the entertainment potential in shaking up the status quo. Katniss’s high score puts a normally low-performing district in the spotlight and causes Career tributes to pay more attention to Katniss as a competitor. In the eyes of the Gamemakers, Katniss’s fiery persona coming head-to-head with the violent Careers is sure to create excellent television.