- "I always channel my emotions into my work. That way, I don't hurt anyone but myself."
Very little is known about Cinna's background. While he apparently made his name in the Capitol as a stylist, nothing is revealed about his work prior to the 74th Hunger Games. That was also his first year working as a stylist for the tributes. Since he was new on the scene, Katniss assumed that he had gotten assigned District 12 (as newbies often get the worst districts), but in fact he asked for 12. Since he was actively involved in establishing Katniss' reputation - first as the "girl on fire" and later by designing her Mockingjay armor - it's possible that Cinna was part of the same underground network that Plutarch Heavensbee belonged to (though the novels are silent on the point).
The Hunger Games
The 74th Hunger Games announced Cinna's first year as a stylist. Like most newcomers, Cinna was assigned to District 12. However, contrary to the tradition of giving less important districts to fresh stylists, Cinna specifically asked for District 12 for reasons unknown. After the prep team prepares Katniss for the pre-game ceremonies, Cinna introduces himself to Katniss. Along with Portia, the two stylists prepare complimentary costumes for the Tribute Parade, hoping to create an image of unity between Katniss and Peeta. He specifically encourages the couple to hold hands, further strengthening the idea of a bond between the two. Cinna amazed the Capitol audience with his unusual and breath-taking designs during the tribute parade, creating "the girl on fire" theme for Katniss. When she confesses her fear of not impressing anyone during the interview process, Cinna suggests that she simply be herself and imagine that she is conversing with him during the interview as a way of staying relaxed.
During the interview with Caesar Flickerman, Cinna's fiery dress ensures Katniss is unforgettable and irresistible. As Caesar asks her about Katniss' choice to replace her sister as tribute, Cinna notably has a look of sadness on his face because of her sacrifice. He later celebrates with the District 12 tributes and their mentor Haymitch Abernathy over the successful interview. Once transported to the arena for the start of the Games, Cinna helps Katniss dress and attempts to comfort her. He tells that, although he isn't allowed to place bets on tributes, if he could, he would bet on her. When the two are separated, Cinna motions for her to hold her head high to show her courage.
After the joint win between Katniss and Peeta, Cinna prepares her for the final interviews of the post-game ceremonies. Upon Katniss' comment that her dress seems too simple for the occasion, Cinna subtly hints that the dress is designed to make her seem innocent and girlish so that the Capitol's rage over her suicide threat will diminish. Following the interviews, he says goodbye to Katniss and Peeta as they journey back to District 12.
In the second book, Catching Fire, Katniss keeps contact with Cinna through a phone she has in her study. Since she was supposed to have a hobby, he covers for her and makes everyone believe she is interested in dressmaking when he's actually doing all the work, something she is grateful to him for. He goes with them on their Victory Tour and their first stop is to District 11. Cinna designs her dress for her speech to honor Thresh and Rue. He also gives Katniss a designed pair of gloves for Gale, who throws them back at her saying he doesn't want anything made in the Capitol. Cinna designs all of Katniss' outfits for her Victory Tour and her wedding dresses (Peeta having proposed at the end of the Victory Tour).
When she and Peeta are also reaped for the 75th Hunger Games, he designs, along with Portia again, the Entrance Ceremony outfits; black unitards that glow like embers from burning coal. However, he does not get the chance to design her interview dress, as President Snow insists she wear her wedding dress. When she first puts it on, it is described as "heavy." He informs her he did something special with the dress and to spin during the interview. During the interview, her wedding dress transforms into the plumage of a mockingjay. When she spins around with her arms raised, she is surrounded by smoke. The symbolism of the mockingjay, since her defiance in the previous Games, has become the symbol of rebellion. After Katniss' transformation, the audience gets Cinna to stand and he is acknowledged with a long applause. Katniss fears for his safety knowing President Snow did not take this well. Cinna sets Katniss up in her uniform for the third Quarter Quell.
- "I'm still betting on you, Girl on Fire."
Cinna is in the Launch Room with Katniss to say his farewells (as he is unsure if either are going to survive), when three Peacekeepers dash out and start to beat Cinna with spiked gloves hitting him first in the temple, knocking him to the floor. Katniss and her stylist are separated by a glass tube, so she is forced to watch, screaming his name as the guards drag a bleeding, unconscious Cinna away. In Mockingjay, Katniss is told that Cinna is believed to have been killed during interrogation.
Despite Cinna's death, his designs live on in the third book, Mockingjay. He had already designed her mockingjay uniform, sketching it out in secret a few weeks before the start of the 75th Hunger Games, knowing there would be a war and gave it to Plutarch Heavensbee, presumably in case something happened to him. The dress was Katniss' wedding dress which transformed into the Mockingjay costume. His last message to Katniss is written under a sketch of her pin in the sketchbook containing his designs for her Mockingjay uniform. The message reads: "I'm still betting on you." The realization that Cinna was actually a rebel the whole time and that he wanted for her to be the Mockingjay comforts Katniss. This knowledge was kept from Katniss at Cinna's request until she agreed to be the Mockingjay as he didn't want to influence her decision one way or another. He also got the rebels to kidnap Katniss' prep team, saving their lives as all the stylists and prep teams were killed, so that they could continue their work with Katniss as she felt comfortable with them. Cinna is shown to have thought of everything in her Mockingjay dress, including an easily-accessible hiding place for a suicide pill in case she was captured. When trying to use this to escape what she believes will be torture and execution after assassinating President Coin, Katniss calls it "Cinna's final gift" and is distressed when Peeta prevents her from using it.
Cinna's outfits were mainly focused on Katniss and what suited her best. Based on descriptions in the novels, most of his designs learned towards utilitarian but had an underlying elegance, and sometimes incorporated technological twists for dramatic effect. Cinna wanted Katniss to look outstanding in all of the outfits, and many of his designs were made to play up her image as "the girl on fire".
First "Girl on Fire" Outfit
Katniss' parade outfit for the 74th Hunger Games consisted of a simple black unitard, leather boots that laced up to the knees, and a cape made of red, orange, and yellow streamers. The cape, along with a matching headpiece, was lit with artificial but highly realistic flames that streamed behind Katniss as she rode in the chariot. This outfit first established Katniss' reputation as the "girl on fire".
For Katniss' interview with Ceasar Flickerman, Cinna designed a dress completely covered with jewels. The inside of the dress was "silken" (presumably for comfort), and red, yellow, white, and blue gems decorated the outside in a flame design. Katniss estimated that the dress weighed forty pounds, and when she twirled, she looked like she was engulfed in pure flames.
After Games Dress
Katniss' third dress (nicknamed her "innocent dress"), fell to her knees and was a soft, candle light yellow. Cinna tried to make Katniss look as innocent as possible; however, she was still seen as the "girl on fire" in this dress, as it had a ripply, soft glow. Aside from these dresses, Cinna also designed various dresses for the Victory Tour.
74th Victory Tour
Cinna remained Katniss' personal stylist for her Victory Tour, which took place about 6 months after the Games. For the tour, he designed a myriad of dresses and other clothing for her to wear as the tour passed through each district. In addition, due to Katniss' inability to find a "talent," Cinna helped her pretend to be interested in fashion, and designed a series of outfits for Katniss to publicly claim were her's. During this time, Katniss came to regard him as a close friend.
For the first day of the Victory Tour - and the live broadcast where Katniss shows the clothes that she "designed" - Cinna creates an outfit that Katniss describes as, "Flowing black pants made of a thick, warm material. A comfortable white shirt. A sweater woven from green and blue and gray strands of kitten-soft wool. Laced leather boots that don't pinch my toes." For the cold, Cinna adds a coat made of white ermine fur, leather gloves, a bright red scarf, and a pair of earmuffs.
In District 11, where the weather is considerably warmer than in 12, Katniss wears "a pretty orange frock patterned with autumn leaves." when speaking in front of the Justice Building. Cinna also designed dresses for Katniss to wear to banquets and balls following her public appearences, and the one for District 11 was described as pale pink and strapless. While in District 5, she wears a dress made of green silk, which she later gives to Annie Cresta to use as her wedding dress. In District 2, she wears what Johanna Mason calls a "strapless number", made of dark blue velvet and decorated with diamonds. Throughout the books, Cinna keeps Katniss' hair in its "customary" braid, to keep her recognizable.
After Katniss accepted Peeta's proposal during the Victory Tour stop at the Capitol, Cinna designed a set of wedding dresses. The Capitol audience voted on the finalists to select the one that would have been used for the wedding. Katniss describes the winner as having sleeves that touch the floor and lots and lots of pearls.
His fourth dress was a fitted black jumpsuit, with a crown and it "comes to life as fire" turning different colors. She wears it in the 75th Hunger Games tribute parade.
Wedding DressKatniss' fifth dress is a long white gown, completed with a pearl necklace. Cinna secretly altered the dress so that when she twirled and lifted her arms, the dress would burst into flames starting at the bottom and rising up in flames. The dress released feathers and smoke until she would become a mockingjay. This symbolized that the rebellion was still alive and confident. But, sadly, this brave and rebellious act caused his death.
The sixth and final dress Cinna created is a mockingjay uniform. The mockingjay uniform is a piece of armor made by Cinna for Katniss wear on television and in battle. The outfit is described by Katniss as having carefully-tailored layers of body armor, hidden weapons in the boots and belt, and special reinforcements over her heart. On the final page, under a sketch of her mockingjay pin, Cinna wrote, "I'm still betting on you." Katniss also mentions that Cinna thought of everything when he created the uniform, like a pocket by her collarbone to hold a nightlock pill that was strategically placed so Katniss could bite the pill free if she was handcuffed.
Katniss initially expected that Cinna would be shallow and indifferent to her wellbeing based on the Capitol citizens she had already met. However, Cinna completely surprises her with his quiet, yet outgoing, supportive, and encouraging manner. He becomes one of her few allies during the 74th Hunger Games, and helps her to make an incredibly spirited and positive impression upon Panem. The effort and work he put into ensuring her success made the two become fast friends. During the pre-launch phase, Cinna gives her hope by telling her that out of all the tributes, he would bet on her if he could. Cinna is one of the few people who understands her defiant spirit and courage, and in turn he creates the "girl on fire" theme to remind the audience of her personality.
In her victor's house, there is a phone which had no use before she started to chat with Cinna about her "talent." Since the only thing she was good at was hunting and singing (which she'll never do in front of the Capitol), Cinna suggested fashion designing. He took care of everything for her, including creating a book of sketches that she could show to the cameras. Cinna designed many things for her, including her opening ceremony garment for the Hunger Games, which sparked his theme for her major public appearances, "Katniss, the girl who was on fire."
Katniss feared for his safety before the Quarter Quell, and indeed, as Katniss is in her glass cylinder, about to launch into the 75th Hunger Games, Peacekeepers enter the launch room and beat Cinna unconscious. This act causes Katniss to unhinge for a point, fretting that they will kill him for his design of her wedding dress during the interview. They drag him away and, according to Plutarch Heavensbee, he is killed during interrogation. Katniss suspects that President Snow planned this to throw her off-guard while in the Hunger Games arena.
Despite Cinna's death, his designs live on in the third book, Mockingjay. He had already designed her mockingjay uniform, sketching it out in secret a few weeks before the start of the 75th Hunger Games, knowing there would be a war. His last message to Katniss is written under a sketch of her pin in the sketchbook containing his designs for her mockingjay uniform. The message reads, "I'm still betting on you." The truth about Cinna being a rebel was kept from Katniss at his own request until her acceptance of being the Mockingjay. Cinna, knowing Katniss would be indecisive, chose not to reveal himself and influence her decision one way or another like everyone else tried. Once Katniss knew her trusted friend was a rebel and continued to support her, she was extremely comforted and more confident in her decision. Cinna's final design gave her everything she needed to be the Mockingjay, both in appearance and during battle. When Katniss tried to commit suicide using a nightlock pill hidden away in a compartment of the uniform Cinna designed in case she got captured, Katniss referred to it as "Cinna's final gift" to her.
Portia and Cinna are both stylists in The Hunger Games. They came up with the amazing idea of the District 12 tributes on Fire. Cinna and Portia seemed to get along very well. They were good friends, both were young and friendly to their tributes. They were a team and were talking before the Tribute Parade in the 74th Hunger Games. Portia and Cinna had a strong friendship.
Cinna and Portia then became the District 12 Stylists in the 75th Hunger Game. They came up with the next idea, then when the games started, Cinna was killed by the Capitol, and Portia was killed after also by the Capitol. Cinna was clearly part of the rebellion; Portia never said she was, but it can be presumed because she teamed up with Cinna.
- "I asked for District 12."
- ―Cinna, to Katniss[src]
Cinna's designs suggest that he is intelligent and crafty, able to create noteworthy imagery around his tributes so that they will be noticed. He maintains strong control over his emotions so that his subtle acts of defiance towards the Capitol will not be too obvious. He personally told Katniss that he channels his emotions through his work. He does however show care for Katniss and a deep desire to oppose the Capitol through his knowledge of fashion. He is so good at hiding his true allegiance that no one, not even Katniss, knew that Cinna was in fact a rebel and not just subtly rebellious as revealed in Mockingjay where his designs were given to Plutarch Heavensbee, someone who was not known to be a rebel either until the 75th Hunger Games. Unlike the other rebels, Cinna's work was more subtle and allowed him to blend in with the Capitol without issue.
Cinna is described as being a "brilliant, enigmatic, lovely" person who takes pride in his work. He is also a very caring person. Despite being Capitol raised, in the movie, he says he is sorry that Katniss became a tribute, to her. Unlike most, who just congratulate her. He attempts to calm Katniss down right before the 74th Hunger Games by holding her hand and saying if he was allowed to bet, he would bet on her. He seems to be something of a father figure for her, as well as a friend. Katniss also wonders if his "Calm and normal demeanor masks a complete mad man" as mentioned in Book One.
- "I'm taken aback by how normal he looks."
In The Hunger Games, Cinna is described as wearing a simple black shirt with matching pants. Wearing gold eyeliner is his unique and bizarre fashion choice, exposing gold flecks in his green eyes, an attractive look for Katniss. Besides that, Cinna looks very normal, with short brown hair and green eyes.
In the film, Cinna has brown eyes, a mustache and beard, short black hair, dark skin, and six gold earrings, four in the left ear and two in the right. Also, he appears to be in his late thirties rather than being in his twenties.
- Director Francis Lawrence, who directed both Catching Fire and Mockingjay Part 1 and 2, stated that Cinna was originally going to appear in Mockingjay Part 1 during the take in which President Snow gives a speech to the districts and orders stricter punishments as well as executions. The concept for the scene was that President Snow's speech would have been delivered during a series of grim executions that were broadcast live, with Cinna's execution being carried out last along with a specific message to Katniss. This idea was later discarded and reworked. Actor and musician Lenny Kravitz told various media outlets during the premiere of Catching Fire that he was hoping to appear in the first adaptation, even if it was just for a few takes. Unbeknownst to him, filming for Mockingjay had already begun.