EW talks to the film's costumer about Jessica's wardrobe

By Nuzhat Naoreen
August 10, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT
  • Movie

Maggie brings color to a dusty Virginia town (and a family of bootleggers) in the Prohibition-era drama Lawless, out Aug. 29. ”It was more or less about maintaining [Jessica’s] natural beauty,” costumer Margot Wilson says of the Help star as muse. ”I looked at photographs of her in other films and publicity photos…and put that train of thought into the period costumes.”

Lady in Red
”What inspired me was the color of Jessica’s hair,” says Wilson, who started the design process by emailing sketches of her ideas to the actress. ”So I chose colors that went with that.” Though the drop waist was a common silhouette in the 1920s, Wilson was more concerned with tailoring pieces like this panne-velvet dress to flatter Chastain’s shape. ”Jessica is so petite,” she says. ”I didn’t want her to look like she’d been swallowed up by a lot of fabric.”

Chastain held on to this cozy shirt once filming wrapped, but was happy to be free of her character’s unmentionables. ”She was adamant about it,” Wilson says of the actress’ commitment to wearing restrictive corsets and vintage underwear as part of Maggie’s attire.

Clothes Call
Wilson’s team worked overtime to fix this one-of-a-kind crepe-silk dress after it was damaged by a local dry cleaner. ”It came back with a big white patch,” she remembers. ”We had to get more fabric, dye it, and [replace] the front and back.”