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Dressing The Part

For the female stars of "Why Do Fools Fall In Love," their costumes were important keys to illuminating the differences between their characters, as well as indicators of the passage of time. Costume designer ELISABETTA BERALDO created distinctive looks for Zola, Elizabeth and Emira, as well as for the stage performers and for Frankie Lymon himself.

"I loved Zola's clothes when she was performing with The Platters," says Halle Berry. "When you put on those glamorous dresses, with the little tiny waists and the big bouffant skirts and the strapless tops, it just makes you stand and walk and move a certain way. And that's the way women really did look in the Fifties when we saw them on TV, singing or performing. Wearing those clothes was a big help to me in visually expressing my character."

Vivica A. Fox, as Elizabeth Waters, had fewer opportunities to dress up in her role, but she, too, loved the look of the Fifties. "I didn't realize how glamorous and how fabulous they all were with the hairdos and the beautiful dresses. I felt like I was wearing a prom dress!" When her character re-appears in the Eighties, however, Elizabeth has just been released from prison and, in middle age, is not glamorous in the least. "There were some days that I looked at myself and Vivica was nowhere in there, you know," she recalls, laughing. "I went completely for the Eighties - I had a Geri curl with blond tips! But we wanted it to be authentic; there's nothing worse than watching a movie and saying 'that's not right; I remember that."'

Lela Rochon, as a small-town Southern girl, never really had a glamorous era, but she was the only one of the three women to wear a wedding dress on-screen. "The other two - Zola and Elizabeth - laugh at me throughout the movie. Sometimes it really is funny, how little I know about life in the big city. But in the end, I had the white wedding dress and the memory of Frankie as a sweet, loving and kind person. No matter how much I miss him, it's still easier for me to bear, because I'm the one who knew his tender side only."

Costumes for The Platters, The Teenagers, Little Richard and the other singing groups were drawn from photographs and television footage, and accurately re-create the look of the period. Additional footage re-creating Sixties groups such as The Kinks appears in the film, and scenes from an "American Bandstand"-style variety show are reconstructed from an actual broadcast of a similar program.


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