While transforming into Queen frontman Freddie Mercury for “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Rami Malek was easy come, easy go — except when it came to the fit of his clothes.
In an interview with Pret-a-Reporter, the film’s costume designer Julian Day discussed recreating Mercury’s most legendary looks for the big screen, including the white tank top the star wore with jeans and a studded armband for his iconic Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium in 1985.
“The white tank was the hardest,” Day said. “We did so many screen tests. It needed to be tight, but not too tight, and I ended up making 20 or 30 of them.”
Malek wound up making a last-minute design tweak, requesting that Day lower the tank’s neckline slightly so it would perfectly match the one Mercury wore.
“We shaved off half a centimeter or less. But that detail made him feel better, and it looked right,” Day said.
The costume designer added that recreating Mercury’s famous harlequin jumpsuit for the film proved equally challenging. “Each diamond [pattern] had to be cut and sewn together; it required 30 to 40 fittings,” she told Pret-a-Reporter.
For other costumes, Day went straight to the source, commissioning looks from Mercury-beloved 1970s designers like Zandra Rhodes and Biba and tapping Wrangler and Adidas to reproduce the exact same jeans and sneakers the rocker wore at Live Aid.
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