In Hollywood, some people act funny. Some write funny. But Leesa Evans dresses funny.
Not personally — her influence is far greater. Evans has provided costume designs for a long list of comedies and serves as a personal stylist for an expanding clientele of comedians, including Amy Schumer. She’s also the costume designer on “Snatched,” Schumer’s new film with Goldie Hawn, which Fox releases May 12.
Evans, who grew up in Laguna Beach, Calif., was designing outfits from childhood — having a fashion designer for a mom helped inspire her. Applying her gift to comedy was something she developed on her own. “It was something I fell in love with: If there’s a funny script, there’s usually a funny attitude with the group of filmmakers.”
In “Snatched,” Evans wanted to focus her designs on the developing synergy between Schumer and Hawn, who play a daughter-mother pair whose exotic vacation is interrupted by a kidnapping; they bond while trying to escape.
“I wanted to use a lot of whites and pale colors to indicate this sense of innocence lost,” she says. “Throughout the film there’s a lot of whiteness, which lends itself to light colors and vacation wear.”
Though early in the film the outfits for Schumer and Hawn contrast, after the kidnapping, they largely wear the same types of costumes for the remainder of the picture, albeit more worn and torn. Evans’ goal was to accentuate the unexpected.
“Instead of slapping on the dirt and the muck when they’re in the jungle, I took the approach of finding the beauty in the dirt and hand-painted patterns on the clothing, so you could feel the beauty in everything that was happening,” says Evans, who notes that she constructed approximately half the costumes for the film.
“Snatched” is far from her first comedic rodeo; she’s made her mark in modern comedies like “Bridesmaids,” “American Pie,” “Trainwreck” and “Zoolander 2,” and has been brought on board to consult with lead actors on other films.
She’s aware that her comedic predilections tend to translate to designing contemporary costumes, which likely keeps her out of the running for some of the industry’s bigger awards, since nominations for many of the top-tier prizes tend to go to fantastical or period films. But Evans says she prefers the challenge of using everyday clothes to provide audiences a way to identify
“I think people feel more connected to contemporary films because they could in theory go out and buy these things for themselves,” she says. “It takes a different eye and expertise to do contemporary costumes because there’s so much out there to choose from; in 2017, anything goes when it comes to styles. It’s the ultimate compliment to have someone say, ‘You’ve influenced my fashion through this film.’”