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Me Before You starring Emilia Clarke & Sam Claflin: Costume Design and Those Quirky Shoes

You can not watch Me Before You without wondering, what's the deal with those clothes?! The movie's costume designer, Jill Taylor, (My Week with Marilyn) talked with FN (Footwear News) about the clothes and especially the shoes, a key component in depicting Louisa's quirky style. Does it matter that the main reason Louisa takes the job looking after Will is because her family is desperate for her money, and that being the case, where is she getting the budget for this quirky wardrobe? The shoes—I get it, they are adorable and I fully expect to see a slew of young women wearing shoes with flowers on their soles—cost about £90 or $125. That's a lot of cashola to lay out on shoes. 

How did you build Emilia Clarke’s character’s look?

“Lou wanted to study fashion, and with that there is an inherent love of clothes. We sort of made her a collector of clothes. Some of the pieces she had were like pieces of art to her. Her shoes played a big part in that.”

Why were shoes important for her character?
Petal Fever by Irregular Choice

“It’s in the script and the book that she has these ‘leprechaun’ shoes, so we had to find some quirky shoes. By accident, we were in a shop and found these amazing shoes by Irregular Choice, and I just thought, ‘Oh, my God, that’s Lou!’ They suddenly became the basis of her wardrobe of shoes.”

How did you build on her look for the movie?

“She started off very quirky and kooky, and as she gets involved in Will’s world, she wants to conform a little bit. He’s taking her to a concert, which is not her world at all, so she wants to look the part. That’s how the red dress came about. It’s based on a 1950s prom dress.”

How did you source for the film?

“We wanted to mix the style up, so we found the one odd quirky or colorful piece everywhere. We introduced a few things from our own wardrobes, too. Emilia wears these dungarees with three ducks across the chest. They were mine in the 1980s.”

What was notable about dressing Will Traynor?

“[Will] was about being comfortable, practical and a little bit luxurious. There is a lot of grey, navy and beige and brown and muted tones in Will’s world, expensive tones. As Will gets more interest in life and Lou, he starts looking a little bit more lively in his clothes and relaxed. It’s very difficult when you’re dressing a healthy actor who has to be a quadriplegic. If you’re in a wheelchair your muscle tone goes, so to disguise that Sam had to wear trousers larger in the waist so we got more fabric for his legs.” To be honest, I don't think Taylor did a great job making Will look convincing as a man with poor muscle tone. It's clear from the image above that his pants fit his thighs quite well, his muscles are not atrophied. But we are talking about reel life, not real life, and concessions were clearly made so the character would still be attractive for the majority of the film's audience. 
That aspect of the film brings me back to my basic criticism—aside from Emilia Clarke's overly busy brows—that the film did not take a realistic look at Will's condition, and all the challenges, the pain, the difficulties in bathing and going to the toilet, the hard work of just getting up in the morning. A deeper more honest portrayal would have made for a more deeply emotional response rather than the snuffles that the pulling of emotional strings created.

Me Before You: My take on the moviee