He’s created the costumes for a few Lifetime movies — not to mention TV shows including Castle and Veronica Mars and big screen features like Pitch Perfect — but Salvador Perez Jr. faced a unique challenge while working on Liz & Dick, airing this Sunday at 9p.m. EST.
“I was really put to the test to make the movie believable and iconic at the same time. And also, we’re talking Elizabeth Taylor and Lindsay Lohan, two woman who wear clothes very differently,” Perez explains. “I had to be inspired by Elizabeth Taylor, but flatter Lindsay Lohan.”
Perez was able to do both, once he discovered that his leading lady shared Taylor’s weakness for shiny objects.
“Lindsay was constantly watching Elizabeth Taylor movies. At the beginning of the day we’d have a fitted costume, but she’d completely change it at the last minute just because she was inspired by something else,” the costume designer says of keeping up with Lohan. “Anytime something was going wrong, I’d just pull out more jewelry and say, ‘Look, something sparkly, something sparkly! That usually placated her.”
Click through the gallery to see how Perez recreated Liz’s most memorable looks for Lohan.
The Cleopatra Costumes
“When I first got the call for the movie, I immediately pulled out all my DVDs and watched Cleopatra twice. Then we got a letter from 20th Century Fox that said if we made anything even remotely close to their clothes, they would sue us because they have the visual rights to them, so I just took a little bit of artistic license,” Perez explains. “The dress and cape [Lindsay] wears in the Cleopatra scenes is inspired by the original piece, but it’s our own version of it. The armor that Grant Bowler wears is actually from the movie Troy. I rented it from Warner Brothers.”
Next: The Lemon Chiffon Wedding Dress
“Elizabeth Taylor didn’t go to Vera Wang to have her wedding dress made, she went to a film costume designer. I found [the dress Lindsay wears] at a costume rental house. She has a little 23-inch waist, so she really fit into the period clothes,” says Perez, who dressed Lohan in a vintage frock similar to Taylor’s Helen Rose-designed chiffon dress for the nuptial scene. “Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were some of the first stars hunted by paparazzi, so there are many photos of them. From a research standpoint, it was one of the easiest projects that I’ve had to do because there was so much information out there.”
Next: Liz’s Style in Later Years
“I have a long-standing relationship with the American Costume Corporation in Hollywood, and this ’80s suit belonged to the owner, Linda James. We put it on Lindsay and she was like, ‘I love this!'” Perez says of outfits like the one worn by Lohan in the photo above (right). “The way the clothes are darted and fit, they’re made to go over specific underwear of the era so you have a different shape. Having that vintage fabric and that fit really took Lindsay to that period.”
Tell us: Do you think Lindsay Lohan makes a convincing Elizabeth Taylor?
Reporting by Nakisha Williams
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