'To the Stars' cast really enjoyed taking selfies in '60s undergarments, reveals costume designer Kiersten Hargroder

Talking to MEA WorldWide. Hargroder said she found inspiration for the vintage costumes used in the movie in her mother's yearbooks.


                             'To the Stars' cast really enjoyed taking selfies in '60s undergarments, reveals costume designer Kiersten Hargroder

If you're looking for a niche coming-of-age drama to watch this year, look no further than Martha Stephens' 'To the Stars.' Having premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 25, the movie is the story of friendship between reclusive teen Iris (Kara Hayward) and reckless girl Maggie (Liana Liberato), who has newly moved to her small town in 1961.

The script written by Shannon Bradley-Colleary is brought to life by the beautiful acting of Shea Whigham, Malin Akerman, Hayward, Jordana Spiro, Liberato, Tony Hale, Adelaide Clemens and Madisen Beaty among others, but what gave it authenticity was costume designer Kiersten Hargroder, who found the inspiration for the period piece in her own mother.

"My mother grew up in a small farming town at the same time, so I used some of her yearbooks as a source of inspirations. It was so fascinating to really think about what the mind frame would have been for Iris, and how she would have acquired all of her clothing. I felt she would have made some of the pieces, which was extremely common at the time, and she also would not have had a lot of clothing, so there are a lot of pieces repeated," Hargroder tells MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), adding that this particular project required understanding who these people were rather than on their fashion sense. 

'To The Stars' narrates the story of friendship between a reclusive teen Iris (Kara Hayward) and a reckless girl Maaggie (Liana Liberato), who has has newly moved to her small town in 1961.
'To The Stars' narrates the story of friendship between a reclusive teen Iris (Kara Hayward) and a reckless girl Maaggie (Liana Liberato), who has has newly moved to her small town in 1961.

That, in fact, is one of the biggest pitfalls Hargroder tries to avoid while working on period pieces, she says, specifically with regards to the research one does.

It is easy to get limited to the research, which in turn holds you back from translating that research into real people and give them depth and nuance.

"For 'To The Stars', it was important for me to use real-life references like yearbooks to give these characters personality. I think what is exciting is getting to honor the history of clothing and how it has influenced where fashion is now, it is all evolution," she says. 

Hargroder adds, "It is so fun to really think about how much time was put into getting dressed for women in the 50s and 60s. Comfort was not a consideration for them, we really take that for granted these days."

That being said, the actors really enjoyed getting into the '60s garbs, specifically the undergarments, she says.

"The actors really enjoyed getting into all the undergarments every morning and kept taking pictures of themselves because the clothes were so different. It was fun for them to experiment and explore this time period!"

 

Ackerman, who has a pivotal role in 'To The Stars,' was also the most fashionable character, which made it a pleasant experience for Hargroder to dress her up.

"She truly looked good in everything and was such a pleasure to work with. Her character was the most fashionable so that aspect also made it more fun to dress her. All of the schoolgirls were really fun as well," she says when asked about her favorite character to dress up in the movie.