The Story Behind In the Heights’ Epic, 2,500-Plus Costumes

You know, I think everyone was all in. There are some projects you do that you feel like you’re going to your job, but I feel like a lot of us on this project were just in disbelief that we were the people getting to tell this story, and it didn’t feel like work. We had a lot of fun collaborating, and there was so much joy on both sides of the conversation. I’m thinking about Leslie Grace, for example, who plays Nina, and has this whole storyline of wanting to disrupt and bring change. So we were looking at 1970s colors and shapes, and I pulled out this vintage crochet rainbow top that I had. Her mom was actually with us that day, and they locked eyes with each other, and her mom was like, “I have goosebumps,” and Leslie started welling up a bit. I was thinking, ‘Oh no, what’s wrong!’ But as it turns out that within their family, rainbows have always shown up in a significant way at major milestones. It was just this cute moment where everything fell into place. 

What were your conversations like in terms of representing Latinx culture authentically on-screen, and how did the actors help guide those?

I think that was the most important part of my job. You know, I deal with clothes, and I can tell a lot of stories through clothes. But on this movie, the most important part of my job was to listen and to understand that experience, which is not my experience—to have open and honest conversations about these subjects, to just listen and understand their perspective and try to tell the same story that I was told, but to tell it through clothing in a way that made sense with the arc of the film. 

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