Me Before You Fashion Pt 1: Building Lou’s Colorful Closet + That Red Dress

me before you costume clothes outfits style louWhen Me Before You author JoJo Moyes was trying to visualize how her plucky character Louisa (Lou) Clark would skip off the page and onto the screen, all she had to do was hit London’s West End. “I think a lot of it was based on what she’d seen on the street,” Costume Designer Jill Taylor told me of her meeting with the writer, in which she fired off questions about the inspiration for the character’s outlandish closet. “She was saying she’d met these girls who were quirky. It’s very true, in London particularly, young girls really go for it here in this country! They can be quite outrageous in their dress.”

lou emilia me before you clothes costumes outfitsDescribing the movie version of Lou as “slightly eccentric, offbeat, very individual, colorful,” Jill said that her biggest challenge was not finding bumble bee tights or the perfect leprechaun shoes, it was always being conscious of who was playing the part. “Emilia [Clark] is a tiny little girl. I knew I couldn’t swamp her with too many outrageous, large patterns or anything like that. That was the balance really, what would work on such a tiny lady and such a neat little figure — she’s only about 5’2” or 5’3” — and still be believable.”

Believable and tasteful, that is. “I didn’t want the clothes to distract too much from the emotion of the piece,” Jill admitted. “I didn’t want everyone to just be looking and going, ‘Oh my god, what is she wearing now?’ and not getting what was being said.”

lou me before you clothes costume outfitWith 50 or so outfit changes throughout the movie, the costume department was looking for pieces for Lou every time they went out. And it was the thrift shops that always brought good luck. “A lot of her stuff was vintage because she was so little! We had racks and racks of clothes for her to just play with. To see what would work with her figure, what would work with her height, what that body could withstand really!”

Speaking of that body, I asked Jill how the actress felt exchanging her Game of Thrones birthday suit for Lou’s rainbow colored wardrobe: She embraced it wholeheartedly. “Emilia is naturally a very lovely, enthusiastic, loads of energy kind of girl,” Jill said. “So, I think she just got into it, really. We had loads of accessories, so we let her, every morning, choose which earrings she wants to wear and which jewelry she wants to wear.”

Below, you’ll find more details on Lou’s stunning red dress and the feminine blue frock she wore as Will’s wedding date. 

And don’t miss the rest of my MBY posts:
Part 2: All about Lou’s shoes
Part 3: Lou’s beach looks
Part 4: The rest of her clothes 


me before you red dress lou clark
“That was made from my design,” the costume designer said. “It was a beautiful silk grosgrain fabric. I based it on a 50s prom dress. It was kind of her first grown up occasion. It was her first time she was really trying to fit into Will’s world. My original drawing was actually a shorter dress, but we just felt the ballerina length was somewhat more elegant. She looked lovely I thought.”
1. Stop Staring Madstyle Dress
2. Unique Vintage Dotted Dress
3. Stop Staring Swing Dress

me before you blue wedding dress lou clark
Like the red dress above, this was also handmade by Jill and her team. “Emilia looks really good in that shape,” she said of the silhouette. “It accentuates her boobs and her waste.”
1.Modcloth dress
2. Unique Vintage Barcelona Dress
3. Unique Vintage 50s Dress


*** All four parts of my Me Before You Posts are now live****

Part 2: All about Lou’s shoes
Part 3: Lou’s beach looks
Part 4: The rest of her clothes 


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