‘The Prom’ Costume Designer Lou Eryich on Dressing Meryl Streep and James Corden

Lou Eyrich calls herself one of the “luckiest designers in town.” The Emmy-winning costume designer and producer is part of Ryan Murphy’s go-to team when it comes to creating the look of his shows.

Eyrich worked on Murphy’s recent “Hollywood” and “Ratched,” as well as “The Boys in the Band” and “The Prom,” which is now streaming on Netflix.

The film stars Meryl Streep as Dee Dee, Nicole Kidman as Angie, Andrew Rannells as Trent and James Corden as Barry. Together they are a group of down-on-their-luck Broadway stars who find a cause to support in the hope that it will boost their star power. They end up in small-town Indiana helping out Emma, played by Jo Ellen Pellman, who just wants to take her girlfriend to the prom.

Eyrich breaks down the looks of “The Prom,” contrasting the bold and bright colors of Broadway against the neutrals of Indiana and working with an all-star cast. “I had such a blast. Every one of them was such a joy. They were so enthusiastic and embraced the dance numbers.” She adds, “They were all collaborative in their costumes. Every one of them was excited to be a part of it, and I let them have an opinion.”

An Energetic Burst of Color

We had all seen the play on Broadway – which is fabulous, and that was definitely the guidepost, but Ryan wanted to brighten it up and have a strong color palette. He wanted a palette where the look and the color could energetically match the tone, the story and the music so that it was one big delicious swirl of these bright sorbet colors, sequins and glitter.

I love how we worked really closely with the production team — the production designer and art department. We always made sure that our colors were either contrasting or popping or in sync with what they were doing.

Enter Meryl Streep as Dee Dee Allen

Meryl is an absolute delight to work with. She loves a costume fitting, and I don’t know many actresses that do. She walks in that door and totally engages. She walks in that door and gravitates towards things. She loves to accessorize.

We would play music, mostly Motown and Stevie Wonder. We also played the cast recording of the Broadway play, so we could see how the clothes moved around. We had a little dance fest every time we fit her and Nicole.

She was definitely a driving force in mixing things up. She loved that Dee Dee was bold, colorful and confident.

Meryl loved the purple and how it went with her hair. Since that outfit was for a dance number, we wanted her to move in it and wanted a grand entrance.

I’m going to credit Ryan Murphy for “Changing Lives” and that color palette because it had raspberry, kiwi green, aqua blue and purple. We wanted to have the prom colors represented there. Because Andrew was a waiter at Sardi’s, he had the red jacket, and we made everything there except for Nicole’s dress.

The idea was the Broadway characters traveled with one suitcase and wouldn’t have had a lot of stuff with them.

Small-town Indiana’s Color Palette

This is the Midwest. It is regular America outside of Broadway and New York, so we wanted to shift the color palette. We toned it down and stripped it of the bold colors, so we used browns and neutrals. We neutralized it so it stuck out more, but we did try to punch it up a bit with the school colors of blue and yellow.

With Emma, played by Jo Ellen Pellman, we approached her as if she had been brought up by her grandmother. They don’t have a lot of money, and she loves going to vintage stores and thrift stores because she has her own flavor, and she likes to express herself and to be her unique self.

The Monster Truck Rally

That was tricky because they’re on the road and where do they come up with the clothes? I didn’t want to leave reality too much. With the gospel dancers – the kids, we came up with the idea that maybe there was a pack store in town and that’s where they all got their shirts, and Andrew grabbed the flag jacket to fit into that whole Americana mode.

That was the most fun for me. We wanted Dee Dee to have this big fringe thing that was totally inappropriate and was always in her way. She had these white boots and was trying not to get them dirty. And then, Nicole’s character comes out in this big rainbow headdress.

James Corden’s Barry Meets his Younger Self

It was in the script that the tuxedo would be silver. Barry has this flashback of his younger self going to the prom. It was Ryan’s desire to have that image, so we literally recreated this image that was in Ryan’s head. The script said, “Maybe I could wear my silver tux?” and he has that flashback.

It was hard finding that fabric that didn’t translate into white because we had blue and white light which kept turning the silver into white. We ended up having that tuxedo made here in town.

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