29 Behind-The-Scenes Costume Secrets About "Julie And The Phantoms" That You Probably Didn't Know, But 100% Should
Charlie Gillespie has some ~ideas~ for his Season 2 costume.
Now that we're all fully obsessed with
Julie and the Phantoms we had the show's costume designer, Soyon An, chat with BuzzFeed and answer some of our burning questions about the show.
Here's everything we learned:
Julie and the Phantoms is actually Soyon's fifth project with Kenny Ortega.
Eike Schroter / Netflix
Soyon and Kenny have worked on several different projects, but this series was actually the first scripted project they'd done together. She said, "Kenny really believed in our work together and what I bring to the team. He really trusted that I would be able to pull this off and here we are."
Soyon has been designing costumes for 20 years, and she said her work on
Step Up: All In and Jem and the Holograms trained her for working on a scripted show like Julie and the Phantoms.
Even though Luke, Alex, and Reggie died in 1995, Soyon didn't want their clothes to seem too dated, so she built their looks around the more timeless clothing pieces of the '80s and '90s.
Kailey Schwerman / Netflix
She said this also gave her a good excuse to go "vintage diving."
lot of thought went into creating Luke, Alex, and Reggie's personal vibes because they wanted each guy to have their own identities but still feel like a cohesive band.
Luke's vibe was "heavy metal rocker"...
Kailey Schwerman / Netflix, @owenjoyner /
Luke was always meant to be an overall cool guy. Also, while Reggie and Alex stick to specific color palettes, Luke tends to bounce around a little bit and wears a lot of muted colors.
...Alex's vibe was "street style"...
instagram.com, Eike Schroter / Netflix
She explained, "Alex was my street style guy — like cargo pants, hoodies, tracksuits, that kind of thing. Athleisure was huge in the '90s and Alex just brought it back in his California-teenager way."
...and Reggie's vibe was "classic rock."
Kailey Schwerman / Netflix, @jeremyshada /
Soyon said that she felt Reggie was the kind of person who likes things that were "safe." "Reggie keeps it consistent," said Soyon. "He's always in the same thing because he doesn't want to be bothered. He's classic rock. You can Google search 'rock 'n' roll' and it's a white T-shirt, leather jacket, black jeans. But then, the thing that made it very '90s was that red flannel shirt." Reggie's classic look also made it possible for Soyon to change Luke and Alex's outfits more frequently without the change being too jarring.
During his first fitting, Charlie Gillespie — who plays Luke — was on vocal rest, so he had full-on conversations about Luke's costumes with Soyon through a pen and paper.
Charlie also really wanted Luke to wear suspenders under his cut-off shirt, but the idea ended up being cut from the show.
During Season 1, Julie goes through a huge transformation emotionally as she starts to love music again, and that journey was also shown through her clothes.
Kenny Ortega decided that in the first episode, Julie would be wearing a hat, which was her way of hiding from the world. She's also dressed in a bunch of oversized clothing, which was meant to feel like a security blanket for Julie. Then, when she meets the boys, she begins to feel a little more confident and starts dressing cuter because of her crush on Luke. Julie also comes to terms with her mom's death and starts wearing some of her clothes too.
In fact, Julie's butterfly look is meant to represent her metamorphosis throughout Season 1.
Kailey Schwerman / Netflix
Soyon said, "This is the show right before the Orpheum, and this is when the caterpillar who has been cocooned this whole time has finally turned into a butterfly. And now it's time for her to fly."
Soyon was actually the one who suggested Julie wear her mom's clothes to perform with Sunset Curve, and she even helped create backstories for all of those outfits.
Courtesy of Soyon An, Kailey Schwerman / Netflix
While reading the scripts, Soyon realized that Julie would probably be a high-schooler who mainly shopped at stores like Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters — both of which aren't necessarily shops to find performance clothes. So, she talked to the show's writers/producers, made a mood board for Julie's mom's closet, and together they created a backstory for every outfit piece.
For example, the dress for Julie's Orpheum look was actually made by her mom for one of Julie's recitals before she died. Julie never ended up wearing it because there was too much pain attached, so she threw it in a trunk with a bunch of her mom's other stuff — like her leather jacket.
Courtesy of Soyon An
Soyon said, "[Rose] was a Renaissance woman. That's kind of the story that we created. She was a musician [who] once wanted to be a headliner herself but ended up being a piano teacher. So, she gigged, and she went and did shows. Then, she had to create her own costumes. She probably didn't have a stylist, but she had the knickknacks to be able to sell clothes, decorate, and do fun stuff on her clothes — you know, bead, bedazzle, whatever. I was like, 'What if she made Julie's recital dress, and then she passed away?'"
The fringe vest Julie wears during "Finally Free" was actually the same one her mom Rose wore in the first episode.
"The story behind that was that Rose, as an artist, just drew on her vest and stuck a dahlia pin on it because it was her favorite flower. All of that artwork is something that her mom would've done. She put all the crystals on the fringe. So, then Julie found that and wore it."
Since dahlias were Julie's mom's favorite flower, the costume team and art department hid them all around the clothes and props throughout the season.
There were dahlias drawn on Julie's jeans and sneakers. There were also dahlias hidden on her backpack too.
In real life, a lot of the clothes were actually vintage.
instagram.com, Kailey Schwerman / Netflix
Julie's Orpheum jacket was
really a Balmain dress from the '80s that Soyon paired with a Forever 21 leather jacket that she customized to make it look vintage. Reggie's black finale shirt was vintage Gucci, and Alex's sheer blouse was vintage Versace.
But 50% of the show's costumes were custom-made by Soyon and her team...
...including Dirty Candi's performance outfits...
...Luke's trench coat...
Soyon said, "I made that jacket with two jackets, actually. So, you get two identical jackets — a darker wash is preferred. Then, you keep the one that is going to fit your upper body. With the extra jacket, you would cut it from the armpit all the way across. Then, sew the two hems together and that's your trench. You can have frayed edges because you cut it and then you can distress it. You can get a butter knife or whatever — I use professional tools, obviously. But then you get a bottle of bleach — I would put it in a squeegee bottle — and you spray it and create whatever tie-dye design you want. The way to make it look like vintage or grunge is to find a vintage fabric that you like or even a vintage flannel, and then cut up the pieces to make patches."
...Julie's jeans and sneakers...
Soyon shared that Julie had multiples of the jeans, so she had to make sure all the pairs were identical.
...and the entirety of the costumes worn at the Hollywood Ghost Club.
The Hollywood Ghost Club also drew a lot from Old Hollywood. Soyon wanted the colors to be "rich" and "fabulous," while not being too bright. The party was meant to feel like one of Gatsby's iconic house parties in
The Great Gatsby.
Flynn's whole vibe was meant to feel like an influencer, so all of her outfits were on-trend and super fun.
A lot of the show's band tees also had to be custom-made because the costume team wasn't able to get the desired shirts approved by the bands/artists...
Kailey Schwerman / Netflix
Soyon, Kenny, and creators Dan Cross and Dave Hoge sat down with the cast to make a list of all the iconic '80s and '90s artists they listened to and hoped to get legal clearances from. But then, when they reached out to the bands, they said no.
...like Alex's "Whitney" shirt.
After talking with Whitney Houston's team, they were legally allowed to use words, but no imagery of her face. Once the design was cleared by her team, then they could get the shirt screenprinted.
But two of the shirts that
were approved were from the Tubes and Rush.
Caleb's whole vibe was meant to be an "Old Hollywood Houdini Cary Grant."
Cheyenne Jackson went to his fitting four days before shooting and he realized he couldn't lift his arms over his head while wearing Caleb's iconic suit.
Caleb's suit jacket was entirely custom-made by UK designer Joshua Kane, and when the Hollywood Ghost Club scenes were moved up in the shooting schedule, Joshua only had about two weeks to build it. The suit wasn't originally built for intense performance and dancing, so it ended up needing to be altered before shooting.
And that same jacket also needed eight people to help cover it in Swarovski crystals before filming began.
"There were four people on top, four people on the bottom. It was a sight to see. Even the costume supervisor jumped on board because she was just like, 'Everyone needs to do this right now!' I taught everyone how to crystal, 'cause they didn't know how to do it."
And finally, during the Hollywood Ghost Club scenes, all the ghosts are dressed in color while the "Lifers" are wearing black and white.
Kenny purposefully wanted this to be the dress code so that during the big dance numbers, you could still tell the ghosts and humans apart. The story behind the dress code is that the Lifers would be rich enough to attend this exclusive club, and they'd dress in these extravagant Old Hollywood clothes so they could fit in with Caleb and the ghost world.
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