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In 'The Last Letter From Your Lover,' Designer Vintage Helps Tell a Secret Love Story

In 'The Last Letter From Your Lover,' Designer Vintage Helps Tell a Secret Love Story

7/28/2021 4:04:00 PM

In 'The Last Letter From Your Lover,' Designer Vintage Helps Tell a Secret Love Story

Emmy nominee (and 'Downtown Abbey' costume designer) Anna Robbins also incorporated modern-day Ferragamo heels into the flashback scenes.

Photo: Parisa Taghizadeh/Courtesy of NetflixTo portray Jennifer's restrained and dissatisfied society wife, married to the sneeringly bland Lawrence (Joe Alwyn), Robbins looked to the "fashion plates" of the era and issues ofVogue from 1965, '66 and '69. "Her whole lifestyle was based around being a wife and dressing correctly for every occasion and never really being completely free," says Robbins. "It's that sense of everything being meticulously put together, so that the coats are matching the dress and we've got gloves to go with hats... " On the sun-drenched French Riviera, where Jennifer first meets Anthony, for example, and back home in chilly London, she wears monochrome and color-blocked palettes, with elegant scooped necklines, pencil skirts and boxy boats, in perfectly coordinated ensembles. 

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Anthony (Callum Turner) and Jennifer in one of her meticulous outfits, featuring the coat with the stunning back.Photo: Parisa Taghizadeh/Courtesy of NetflixRobbins' color palette for Jennifer delineates not only the jumping timelines, but also the character's hopes and spirits, frolicking about the South of France with Anthony and then juggling real life with Lawrence/Larry at home. "You've got pink, yellow and blue in the Riviera and then, when you bring it back to London, you've got such a dark aubergine and the chartreuse, the dark greens," says Robbins. "She's happy in the Riviera." 

During a seaside dinner party, Jennifer maintains her composure and resolve in a custom-made pink chiffon sheer-sleeve cape gown, despite being condescended to by Larry ("my wife considers anything but the pages ofVogueunworthy of her attention") and catching a sloppy drunk Anthony dismissing the society wives. "I just wanted a really specific color to offset the inky, inky night sky, the tones of the villa and the lighting with the gents in their white jackets," says Robbins, who took inspiration from a flowing Coco Chanel-designed dress in the 1961 French-Italian avant-garde film, "Last Year in Marienbad."

For a romantic sailing trip with Anthony, Robbins found a vintage yellow dress with white seashell-like beading embellishments on the bib (below). "It pretty much fit like a glove when we put it on Shailene," she says. "You tend to do a fitting and see what's working and then start visualizing where these things might fit into the script. Straightaway, it felt like the yacht moment was the time for that dress to be worn. You're against the blue of the sea and the sky." 


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