The New York Times' awards season blog, Carpetbagger, featured a post in the lead-up to the Oscars on Leesa Evans, the costume designer for Bridesmaids. Although the Academy's costuming nods typically go to elaborate period pieces, the Times points out that contemporary films can be just as challenging to clothe as, say, 2007's Oscar winner, Marie Antoinette.
"As a designer, I start with who the actress is, combined with who the character is, and find something that feels authentic to both of those people," Evans said of her approach. For co-writer and female lead Kristen Wiig, that meant looking for quirky, style-on-a-budget pieces from retailers like Urban Outfitters and Forever 21.
Rose Byrne (who also starred in Marie Antoinette, by the way) was another matter. Both the actress and her character were inclined to a high-fashion aesthetic. "She wears it well, so it was easy and fun," Evans explained. "We almost had a problem deciding which of the many amazing outfits to use because we had so much."
Best Supporting Actress nominee Melissa McCarthy donned the film's most, uh, distinctive costumes for her pearl-necklace-and-golf-shirt-wearing character, Megan. And it was Megan, Evans decided, who would opt for the most formal bridesmaid dress during the movie's bridal salon scene. "We knew that there was going to be a lot of white and also a lot of pink," Evans said, describing the set. "Pink is a caricature of what you would expect a bridesmaid's dress to be, so we wanted to play with that a little bit."
But that caricature was nothing compared to the one-sleeved, ruffles-gone-wild wedding gown Evans designed for Maya Rudolph's character. Inspired by outlandish couture creations from the Paris runways, Evans expanded on ideas by Alexander McQueen and Elie Saab, creating "a comedic twist on it, so that it was just laughable," she said.
And laugh we did.
—Phillip B. Crook