At the end of Netflix’s “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before,” everything is pretty perfect. Lara Jean Song Covey (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (Noah Centineo) are in a relationship and all is right in the world. When we rejoin Lara Jean in the sequel, “To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You,” the picture is similarly rosy, with the protagonist getting ready for a date.
But for costume designer Lorraine Carson, it meant her character has changed. “She’s got a boyfriend,” she says. Along with that, Lara Jean has progressed emotionally and is expressing herself through her clothing and hair, “and that’s what I wanted to show on camera.”
Carson looked at Lara Jean’s silhouette, keeping the pleated skirts that she so often turned to in the first film, but this time, “we tailored her to be more body-conscious.” The designer’s approach was simple. She went for a look that was “vintage, eclectic, but fashion-forward.”
Lara Jean’s shoes alternated between penny loafers with a heel or penny loafers with tassels and her favorite Mary Janes.
Carson sourced clothes and shoes from vintage and brand names such as Zara, Rebecca Vallance, Scotch & Soda and J. Mendel to create Lara Jean’s look, something that made her different from everyone else at school. “You couldn’t just go to Zara and pick the outfit out of a window. It was always about having this combination,” explains Carson. Often, she would be working past midnight, overdying fabrics and putting her own Lara Jean stamp on them.
Carson found Lara Jean’s mustard vest at Zara. “They did a lot of ’40s looking outfits, and that had flair to it,” she says.
She chose to put a collared shirt underneath it to give it a retro feel. “We had to choose something for when she goes to Bellview and that outfit, like all tied into where she was going. I always put myself in my character’s mindset,” Carson says.
The outfit was paired with wide-legged jeans from Top Shop and complemented with a high-platformed loafer. “Those were from Geox. You have to go out and see what’s out there, but those, I got from internet shopping,” she admits.
To pay homage to Lara Jean’s Korean heritage in the movie, Carson dressed her and her sister, Kitty (Anna Cathcart), in Korean hanboks. “It was so dear to [author] Jenny Han’s heart, I started by asking her because it’s her heritage.”
After researching and having numerous conversations, Carson started shopping for fabrics while trying to stay within the mandated color palettes. “Director Michael Fimognari wanted to bring his touch to the show and we had a color palette for the show and another for the characters,” she explains.
When it came to shopping, Han and Fimognari went to a fabric store where they FaceTimed with Carson to pick out colors and silks. “We were filming in 4HD, which adds another element to the color palette,” she says. “We ended up getting magenta and cyan for Lara Jean and for Kitty, we got marigold and white.”
All Carson had to do was make the white more camera-friendly, so she dyed it into a cream color.
Lara Jean’s red dress that she wore on a date was another outfit that Fimognari and Carson spent a lot of time discussing. “We wanted it to be such a special night,” she says.
Conversations and research resulted in finding the perfect dress online, which was tailored to fit Condor’s body and paired with Mary Janes. “We wanted to use red, but not for Valentine’s, so this was where we put it in the story,” she explains.