La La Land: Emma Stone’s Costumes

Updated: Nov 18, 2017

Edited by Kiara Lakdawala



La La Land might not have everyone’s cup of tea but is accepted widely because it was visually stunning. The movie got an Oscar nomination for Best Costume Design. I did appreciate the costumes, but they just seemed pretty dresses and woolen penguin suits (You think you’re so cute in your polyester suit, its wool), nothing too extraordinary. However, they made references to so many old musicals in every intricate detail, that the nomination was inevitable.

The film did not have a huge budget for the costumes, but Mary Zophres did a fantastic job as no one could not stop admiring the leads of the movie.

Since the movie was so picturesque, I want to make this article a bit more pictorial than my earlier ones. So sit back and feast your eyes with clothes and colors!

A Lovely Night

Remember the swishy yellow dress you wanted to buy after watching the dance sequence?

Well, Mary Zophres said that Emma Stone had once worn a yellow Versace dress to a red carpet and it looked absolutely stunning on her (not surprised). Hence, she decided to design a yellow dress for this dance sequence wherein the colour caught the attention against the LA skylight. It was a pretty inexpensive fabric which they bought and made the dress from scratch. Since Emma Stone’s character; Mia was shown to be a struggling actress, they did not want too many over the top dresses. At the same time, they wanted to show her ambitious and vibrant nature through her clothes.




Fun Fact:

Sebastian was wholeheartedly committed to jazz, to the point that he wore only suits. Zophres thought that Stacy Adams shoes would be perfect for him but the choreographer did not seem too happy with them. Zophres then went to a dance store and found the black and white shoes.

Once Stone and Gosling started practicing on the uphill road to the Griffith Park, Zophres decided that matching shoes would look the best.



The Planetarium

When Mia and Sebastian’s theme starts playing and Mia ditches her date to watch Rebel Without a Cause with Sebastian (that was mean, honestly speaking), I had decided what my next birthday dress was going to be.

This was the only dress that Damien Chazelle had described in the script.

Chazelle and Zophres mutually decided that Judy Garland’s green dress from A Star is Born would be the best inspiration.


Excerpt from the script


Summer Montage

This was the glorious period when Seb and Mia’s relationship was off to a romantic start. Mia had been seen wearing only dresses and skirts to all of the dates.

In one particular part, she was wearing a pink halter dress with pockets. Ingrid Bergman’s outfit in her first sound test inspired Mia’s dress. As we know, Mia was inspired to get into acting after watching Ingrid Bergman’s film Casablanca and had a poster of her in her room.




The Fantasy Flashback

The epilogue of the movie had everything going right for the couple which was a fantasy flashback of course.

This one particular scene showed Mia and Seb dancing with a starry backdrop, heavily inspired by Fred Astaire and Dinger Roger’s movie Swing Time. Ginger Rogers had worn a white gown which inspired Mia’s white chiffon dress in the flashback.

“Emma’s white dress had more volume and a more complicated pattern than her other costumes,” explained Zophres. “It had a silk chiffon top and a very lightweight silk charmeuse underneath, so it was like two layers, all hand sewn. It’s beautifully done. I’ve seen the movie seven or eight times, and that white dress slays me every time. . . . It’s funny, because the movie is so known for its color. But the white dress . . . I get teary-eyed when it is on camera, because it’s everything I wanted it to be. It just rises up in the air as you spin in it.”

Excerpt from Vanity Fair

The Audition Song

There is no back history to this song but I feel like perhaps there is a hidden meaning behind her outfit here. Mia was wearing a simple blue sweater and black pants. For an opportunity so important to her, it seemed as if she didn’t take any effort to dress up at all. I feel like she had given up on her dreams and was so disappointed, that she did not feel the need to dress up like a future film star.




The 89th Oscars

Emma Stone wore a Givenchy Haute Couture gown, and the choice was really smart. It was a flapper-inspired dress. Flapper dresses were popular during the 1920’s which was also known as the Jazz Era. Hence, the outfit was in context to her film for which she won the Best Actress award.




“Up until the 80s, people didn’t leave their house in workout clothes,” said Zophres. “I think we’re going to be known as the yoga-pant generation because you go everywhere and people are just walking around in their workout clothes. I wish this movie would inspire dressing up more.”

Excerpt from Vanity Fair


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