Mary Zophres – The Lady Behind the Looks in ‘La La Land’

I only watched ‘La La Land’ for the first time last week. Shocking I know. How I’d managed to avoid the hype for so long I’m not quite sure. Even more shocking – I didn’t fall head over heels in love with it. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a bad film, but the ending left me wanting more. Even Ryan Gosling’s gorgeous face didn’t save it for me. In all honesty I found that the film quite simply wasn’t all it was made out to be. Thankfully one aspect I did love was the styling. My love for Emma Stone probably helped this (come on she’s like a less annoying Jennifer Lawrence, how can’t you love her?), especially as she’s the perfect person to pull off the retro vibe the film’s costume design revolves around. 

‘La La Land’ is ultimately a musical, and the wardrobe created mirrors this perfectly. Stone often wears tea length dresses, and Gosling is always impeccably dressed in a suit – perfect attire for two people who like to spontaneously dance on the streets of LA. The film also likes to blur the lines between classic 1950/60’s cinematography and the modern day setting it’s based in, which the costumes showcase throughout.

La La Land pink dress - hollywood reporter

Mary Zophres is the costume designer for ‘La La Land’. She’s known for her work in films such as ‘Interstellar’, ‘Iron Man 2’ and ‘Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull’. To find out more about her inspiration for La La land I read an interview she did with Hollywood Reporter.

La La Land gosling - hollywood reporter


In the interview, Zophres says her inspiration came from a multitude of films: ‘everything from The Bandwagon (1953) to Singin’ in the Rain (1952) to Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet (1996) and Strictly Ballroom (1993) to Boogie Nights (1997) and Catch Me If You Can (2002).’ She mentions the obvious correlation of Sebastian’s (Gosling’s character) love of Jazz and the way he dresses, and how Jazz pianist Bill Evans, and actor James Dean were two people that mainly inspired his costume design. Stone, however, was given dresses that would move beautifully when she danced, and showcase her figure in a flattering manner – whilst obviously still looking like a struggling actress could afford them.

La La Land date outfits - NY Daily News

Overall, no matter how much I say I was disappointed by ‘La La Land’, I’m sure I’ll watch it again and who knows I could end up jumping on the band wagon and adoring the film as much as everyone else. If not? At least I’ll always be able to admire the beautiful costume design throughout.

Until next time,

Beth x

Images sourced from HollyWood Reporter and NY Daily News

One thought on “Mary Zophres – The Lady Behind the Looks in ‘La La Land’

  1. I liked it better the 2nd time. Think of it as an homage to old films and an LA postcard. Watch how the scene at twilight after the pool party is one continuous take, and look at the ending as the only choice these two have to be able to follow their specific paths….

    Liked by 1 person

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