[All movie stills courtesy of Image.net]
“The Five-Year Engagement,” starring Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Alison Bree, and Chris Pratt is the new romcom due in theaters Friday, April 27th, that gives a comedic perspective of what happens to a couple when their walk down the aisle keeps getting perpetually delayed. I had the pleasure of chatting with Leesa Evans, costume designer for the film who also worked on last year’s smash hit romantic comedy, “Bridesmaids.”
I had questions, like for starters, where do you even begin to figure out what to get, what to make and how to organize it without going bananas? Read on for what it’s like working with Jason Segel, an important camera styling trick, and advise for those of you who want to break into the biz! P.S. – check out the movie’s site and blog, TomandViolet.com, which functions as a true couple’s wedding site. It is genius, adorable, and hilarious, of course!
[Costume Designer Leesa Evans]
Fashion Pulse Daily: How much is doing costumes for a movie a collaborative process with the actor(s) involved, and how much is it working independently to find the items you need, and presenting them to the actor(s)? I imagine it depends on the film and the character’s needs…
Leesa Evans: “The collaborative effort is always initially with the director. I come up with a design concept for the film and present it to the director; we collaborate more about the characters and what the film should look like. And then when the actors get involved they bring more ideas to the table and the collaborating continues…it’s continual and ongoing.”
FPD: What are some little known facts about selecting certain colors or prints, and how the appear on ‘the big screen’? For example, perhaps a way to beat the theory, via clothing, that ‘the camera adds 10 pounds’?
LE: “I think the most important styling trick for anyone going on camera is to keep the silhouette small. I love using color, I just use it sparingly.”
FPD: When do you start researching and acquiring product, and a team to for a movie? Maybe three months before filming? Can you give us a timeline of the process, perhaps as your most recent project, “The Five-Year Engagement” as an example?
LE: “I usually have 12 weeks of prep on a film; I start with the design concept and 2-3 assistants. From that point each week as we get closer we shop more, fit more and bring on more assistants.”
FPD: For “The Five-Year Engagement”, how much of the clothing did you source from existing stores and brands, and how much of it did you have specially-made for the actors?
LE: “I would say for any contemporary film, I generally shop 75-80% and manufacture the remaining 20-25%.”
FPD: How many fittings do you usually do with the actors, and are you on set every day?
LE: “I generally have 2-3 fittings with the actors and on occasion I try 1 or 2 pieces on here and there…..I am not on set that often but try to stop by at least once a day.”
FPD: For this film, since it takes place over the course of five years, how did you express the change via dress on the main protagonists, Jason Segel and Emily Blunt?
LE: “I think they both grow up a bit by the end and their style reflects that…….
I love that they both try to be different people when they aren’t with each other.
Violet tries to dress older to be with Winton and Tom tries to dress younger to be with Audrey and ultimately they find their way back to themselves.”
FPD: Slightly off the subject, but as a comedian, did Jason Segel request, or have any humorous, or quirky elements incorporated into his wardrobe to convey his natural sense of humor? Did he keep you laughing the entire time ( I can only imagine…)?
LE: “Jason is really lovely to work with and gives you complete creative freedom…..I love when he comes in for a fitting not only because he’s very funny but he always adds a finishing touch that brings his character to life.”
FPD: Is there extra pressure doing costuming for a film, that relates to a major event, like a wedding, since most often the film builds up to that moment, that is important to convey through dress?
LE: “I love to style weddings……I almost always try to stay true to the character and create the wedding they would have imagined!”
FPD: For someone who may want to transition from traditional fashion design or styling, or anything else really, into the world of costume design, what would be three major pointers you would encourage them to do/keep in mind?
LE: “I would spend a little time as an intern for a costume designer to see if it’s truly something you love……it can be much harder work and bit less glamorous then you imagine but when you love it, it’s worth it!”