Costume designer Mary Zophres: ‘Damien Chazelle is there whenever you need him’

Director Damien Chazelle collaborates closely with the wardrobe department on his films.

Costume designer Mary Zophres has worked with Chazelle twice now; first on his Oscar-winning spectacular La La Land, and then again on new film First Man.

And while the two films dealt with totally different stories, Chazelle’s style remained the same.


“It was very much like La La Land. It was just a different subject matter, but his approach is very much the same,” Zophres said at the Gold Derby Meet the Experts: Costume Designers panel. “He knows exactly what the film is going to look like. He’s very much a collaborator and is very open to ideas and to meetings and discussions and meetings and show and tells. He’ll be there whenever you need him to be there.”

Zophres herself landed an Academy Award nod for 2016’s La La Land, and she was also nominated for True Grit in 2011.

Her other credits include Catch Me If You Can, Fargo and Gangster Squad, among many others.

In First Man, which stars Ryan Gosling as space hero Neil Armstrong and Claire Foy as his wife Janet, Zophres opted for a lot of natural fibres.

“Cottons and wools,” she explained. “And to be able to pull back some of the colour so it would have the effect of a Kodachrome photograph. That’s how we wanted it to look. And I knew we were going to shoot on 16 mm. Some of it’s 16, some of it’s 35 and some of its IMAX. You don’t know what it’s going to look like. That was a little intense and intimidating, but in the end, it really makes the movie make a lot of sense story-wise to me.”