Loving Costume Designer Erin Benauch x Fashionista

"The Loving costumes are just as powerful and understated as the film"

The Evolution of Mildred

Costume Designer Erin Benach (The Neon Demon) speaks to Fashionista's Fawnia Soo Hoo on the crucial, if not overt, role wardrobe plays in the Loving narrative.

"We used wardrobe in those moments to give Mildred strength or to show her excitement...the scene when [Mildred and Joel] first meet the [civil rights] lawyers, I think she knew that she was starting to become a representative and voice for others and we were careful to show that she cared how she was portraying herself."

Ruth Wardrobe

  • Mildred [Ruth Negga] in a late-summer dress at the home she and Richard would move into when first returning to Virginia.

  • Garnet [Terri Abney] and Ruth Jeter [Ruth Negga] on a weekend afternoon in the country.

  • Writer/Director Jeff Nichols uses all four seasons to tell his story - the wardrobe not only adapted but complimented the construct.

  • Richard [Joel Edgerton] and Mildred [Ruth Negga] were a humble couple, their wardrobe matched both the era and the characters.

  • "There was one jacket Mildred wore when she was walking out of the Virginia State Supreme Court: purple, with a black faux-fur collar. Erin built that to a T." Jeff Nichols 

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The Science of a Fit

Most of the wardrobe Joel Edgerton wore was bespoke.

She tells Fashionista, "We tried different measurements and, after that first fitting, we knew which ones worked and which ones definitely did not," Benach also explained in the production notes. "After that, we had an almost scientific formula worked out: Joel would do the stance in the fitting and he and I would decide together if the pants looked and felt right before running it by [director] Jeff [Nichols]."

Joel Wardrobe

  • "Our first challenge was to figure out a way to make clothing fit Joel much the way that it fit Richard" says Costume Designer Erin Benach.

  • "We used a lot of taupe-y, brown and lighter colored pants and jean material...and different kinds of plaids that were muted in tones that wouldn't be too contrasting to the cement color of the brick."

  • Joel Edgerton as Richard Loving

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The full piece with additional wonderful insight is over at Fashionista.