The new Lifetime original movie “Liz & Dick” has three stars, according to costume designer Sal Perez: Lindsay Lohan/Elizabeth Taylor, Grant Bowler/Richard Burton and the jewels.
“We had an entire budget just to re-create jewelry,” Perez tells Zap2it. “We needed to have the Taylor-Burton diamond, which he gave to her as a ring and was made into a necklace, so those two pieces, the Krupp diamond and La Peregrina pearl.”
Taylor’s diamonds, hair and cleavage all play a large role in her iconic style, but it is the balance she struck between elegance and extravagance that sets her apart.
“There are so many photos of her, and her look was effortless and fabulous,” Perez says. “She took something very simple, and it was the way she carried herself that made it spectacular.
“She was bold and fearless,” he continues. “You see her in lace fitted T-shirt and hot pants and boots completely ahead of her time. … Lindsay has that in her. You’d see that sparkle in Lindsay’s eye where you got why they cast her. She and Elizabeth have different personalities, but neither is afraid of anything.”
A lot of vintage clothes were used to create Taylor’s look in the 1960s and early ’70s, which is when most of the movie takes place. A lot of wigs were also used to show the passage of time.
“The transformation was a whirlwind,” Perez says. “You read all the drama in the press, and 90 percent is made up. We had a phenomenal hair and makeup team and completely collaborated.”
Perez’s goal was to honor Elizabeth but flatter Lindsay.
“Both have tiny waists and large breasts, but they carry clothes very differently,” he says. “I wanted to use a lot of vintage pieces to take Lindsay out of her comfort zone and force her into that silhouette. Lindsay has a 23-inch waist; I had heard that and didn’t believe it. Period clothes have that sort of look — women were smaller and corsetted. Also, Lindsay is taller than Elizabeth was … so we kept her in a lower heel.”
Perez found a lot of vintage Charles Jourdan shoes, but a lot of the footwear came from Lohan’s own closet.
“Lindsay has an amazing collection of shoes,” he says, “including a lot of Chanel, and she brought them in. She has an affinity for vintage clothing.”
That affinity grew to include period undergarments during the shoot.
“Once I showed Lindsay the period underwear, she just fell in love with them,” Perez says. “We had some original ones, and then we had some made. They looked very sweet on her, highwaisted and full-butt pants. We used real period bras. A company called What Katie Did does reproduction bras and underwear, and they were a lifesaver.”
Halston and Christian Dior were two of Taylor’s favorite designers, so vintage pieces from both were used in the film, along with Lilianne suits and furs from Edward Lowell archives. A lot of the costume jewelry is Eisenberg.