Creating The Costumes of Labor Day
When doing a period piece, another crucial element in placing the movie in a
specific time is wardrobe and costume designer Danny Glicker tackled that
challenge with vigor. "When you do an era like the 80's which is so close yet so
far away you don't appreciate how different it was and nothing that you think is
available today is the same as it was then. You cannot get a Polo shirt today
that looks like a Polo shirt from the 80's. They might look similar as an idea
of a Polo shirt but everything is different. The same is true for jeans and
certainly the same is true for shorts as you will see in the movie because they
are much shorter throughout the movie. One of the big thrills for me was not
just researching the era but recreating the era and we really did recreate it.
We got to research it, we got to use actual garments from the era, to research
the aesthetic on it and the silhouettes on each of the actors and how that
informs their characters," tells Glicker. Heavy use of fabrics such as
polyester, rayon, and nylon were incorporated into the costumes of "Labor Day"
so they had the look and feel of true 80's fashions.
Glicker worked very closely with Reitman, Winslet and Brolin prior to filming
to create the exact pieces that would help bring the characters to life and tell
the story through costume. Glicker had previously worked with Reitman before on
"Thank You for Smoking" and "Up in the Air" as well as Brolin on "Milk" so
getting to re-visit those past relationships made this collaboration even more
exciting for Danny. "Even though it was our third time working together in many
ways it was like a first for both of us because I really got to bring a whole
different set of colors to the table and so in many ways that was an incredibly
special experience for me because we already had been very close and we already
had such a wonderful working relationship but to be able to work with Jason in
that capacity, to be able to say, 'You know now let's go into my world a little
bit; let's go into my world of period clothes' and to see what his observations
were about that was a really special experience for me," says Glicker.
Winslet's interest and knowledge of the way her costumes would inform her
character thrilled Glicker. "The thing that I loved about Kate was she had an
understanding of the character all the way down to the slips from the 80's that
I was putting on her. She understood why it was right, why it helped her connect
to this woman and she always had impeccable insights and so it was a true
collaboration where it was two people working together where their ideas
together made something better than their ideas alone would have done. Almost
everything that she wears is created for Adele based on something that existed
in the world but then we imagined how the world was and then how Adele presented
herself in it and we had a great time," recalls Glicker.
Adele's wardrobe often told more about her than she would ever say out loud and
her clothes reflect her past and her changing present.
"With Adele, because she's agoraphobic, and has not left the house very much,
she's also in a state of evaluating what her presence is, what her place is in
the world so a lot of her clothes went all the way back to the 70's. It was even
more fun to imagine what her life was like and how romantic it was and what the
pieces were like when she first got them and why they were pretty and now why
they're not as pretty anymore. We get to see the whole story of her, of her
emotional awakening through her closet. We get to watch as the clothes reflect
her state of being where she has things that are comfortable and that are safe
and they're drab. Then there are certain items that Kate wears when she
rediscovers her sensuality as Adele, that are very beautiful dresses that we
created for her and really embrace, not just the visual, but also the way that
she moves, as a former dancer and the way that she feels, sensually again," adds
Almost all of Gattlin Griffith's clothes were custom built for him. Since the
movie takes place over the course of a short period of time, multiple supplies
of identical garments had to be on hand down to the same missing buttons or
exact placement of small holes from wear. The collars on Henry's Polo shirts
were softer than those of today, in keeping with the period. The shorts were
much shorter and Gattlin Griffith would laugh at how they looked liked hand me
downs from an older brother compared to the shorts he wears in real life.
Lastly, Frank's garb was simple and precise. "We worked really closely with
the prison systems to accurately create the outfits exactly as they were in the
prison system. We built all of his t-shirts so they were accurate t-shirts to
the 80's and what would have been worn in the prison's. It was about this
dialogue that Josh had with me where we were constantly taking these things,
which were givens like the prison uniform, but then imagining how they could be
part of a larger narrative and how they could support his sort of physical
awareness of Frank and sometimes with tiniest details like tweaking the fit or
tweaking the cut that allowed him to really feel connected to this other guy,"
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