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How Costumes Bring a Picture-Perfect Boyband to Life in 'The Idea of You'

Warning: Spoilers for “The Idea of You” below.

With One Direction on a so-called “hiatus” indefinitely, all seven members of BTS enlisted in the South Korean military and the Jonas Brothers postponing their tour by several months, there has been a boy band-shaped hole in the culture (and in many people’s hearts). Enter: August Moon, a pop group made up of five men in their early 20s — except, unfortunately for those seeking an IRL boyband fix, the band is fictional.  Their swagger, however, feels very real in “The Idea of You,” a new film based on the 2017 Robinne Lee novel of the same name premiering on Prime Video on May 2. 

Led by Hayes Campbell (played by Hollywood’s new favorite heartthrob, Nicholas Galitzine), August Moon is introduced as the most famous band in the world, performing at Coachella to an endless sea of Gen Z-ers screaming their lyrics and lining up for meet-and-greets. If that setup reminds you of One Direction, you’re not alone: The array of doodle-like arm tattoos, the muscle tank tops on stage and the go-to poses in photoshoots only fuel the theory that the story is at least partly inspired by Harry Styles. But according to costume designer Jacqueline Demeterio, the visual similarities are mostly coincidental: August Moon’s style was inspired by many different “It” bands.

Hayes Campbell (Nicholas Galitzine) of August Moon in “The Idea of You.”

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios

“We had talked about Matty Healy [of The 1975] — we wanted to do more of a streetwear kind of vibe on stage,” she says. “When I looked at people like the Jonas Brothers, even they were a little bit more shiny in comparison… I did have images of One Direction. What I liked about them is that it was also a casual feel. I didn’t want to try too hard with them and have them all be in colorful Prada suits. I didn’t want anything to scream anything too loud.”

Avoiding a caricature of a flashy, ultra-polished boyband was a high priority for Demeterio, specifically when it came to aligning with lead singer Hayes’ appeal.

“When I first fit Nicholas, it was going a bit more in the direction of David Bowie, and both of us were like ‘No, no, no. This isn’t believable to us that [Solène] would find him so attractive,'” she remembers. “Where I landed is what felt right and really worked.”

August Moon.

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios

Anne Hathaway plays Solène, a 40-year-old single mom who falls for Hayes after taking her daughter to see August Moon at Coachella. The two meet by accident in his trailer; Hayes is wearing a slightly torn white T-shirt, dark-grey straight-leg trousers and plenty of stacked rings. Though the look is relatively simple, it positions him as the most refined of his bandmates.

“Hayes is the standout. He’s a little bit more elevated next to the boys,” Demeterio says. “Even in the story, they talk about how he’s sort of the intellect, the quiet one, but I think he thinks things through a lot. He takes that more mature route. I think he always had that level up on the rest of them, and that’s why his wardrobe did look different than theirs.”

August Moon.

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios

Hayes’ quiet-yet-informed sense of style was achieved through monochromatic outfits and clean-cut silhouettes, as well as a few choice branded items — like the hoodie with a “Maison Margiela” embroidery he wears on stage. It further cements Hayes as the stylish member of the group.

“I feel like it’s one of those designer brands that are so well designed but it’s also in-the-know fashion,” says Demeterio. “The thing about Hayes and Nicholas himself — he has really good taste and knows his clothes and knows designers. He knows what he’s wearing. [It isn’t just] screaming trendy.”

Solène also partakes in this low-key yet smart approach to fashion: In the scene where she and Hayes reconnect post-Coachella, she’s wearing a perfectly assembled arrangement of jewel tones. The outfit simultaneously feels thought-out and thrown together in minutes.

Solène (Anne Hathaway) in her Silver Lake gallery.

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios

“Anne and I decided on these sort of rich colors for her palette,” says Demeterio. “In the gallery, she’s in this beautiful purple vintage Chanel dress and blue velvet blazer. That [look] was really setting the tone of her palette for me.”

As for who was on the inspiration board for Solène: “I always had Jane Birkin in mind because she was this French, chic, effortless woman. She was a big inspiration.”

After a steamy first kiss, a strategically left-behind watch and a slew of longing text messages, Hayes invites Solène to meet him in New York. They seal the deal, and soon she’s tagging along on August Moon’s European tour, despite having nothing to wear; this results in a montage of the two in different cities wearing different outfits every night. Thankfully for Solène, Hayes offers up his team of stylists to help with her wardrobe.

Hayes and Solène board the August Moon jet to the European leg of their tour. 

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios

“Anne and I didn’t want it to feel like she’s turning into somebody else and has a completely different wardrobe. There’s a stylist bringing in clothes, but she’s still going to select what she feels is in her wheelhouse and what she’s most comfortable in,” says Demeterio. “It was definitely more elevated — like when she’s on the side of the stage while he’s performing, she did have a Balmain jacket and Versace leather pant on with a gold Tom Ford tank top, but it still looked like Solène to me.”

Making sure Solène never swayed from her personal taste — or her role in the relationship — was really important. In one scene, the couple hangs out with the rest of the band and their same-age girlfriends; when Solène notices that all the young women are wearing vibrantly colored thong bikinis, she becomes insecure — but that doesn’t stop her from pulling off a sophisticated, elegant look.

“We didn’t just do a one-piece bathing suit on Anne for that. Instead, she threw on a denim Valentino cover-up over her bikini,” Demeterio says. “I wanted to show that, in that moment, she was feeling a little insecure, [but] she still looked so chic. She looked beautiful.”

Solène at Coachella.

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios

Throughout the film, Solène wears denim in her most vulnerable moments. When she accidentally wanders into Hayes’s trailer at Coachella in the beginning, she wears a slightly washed, tie-dyed denim button-up shirt. 

Then, there’s the poolside kaftan. After her relationship with Hayes goes public via the tabloids, she picks up her daughter from sleep-away camp in a Canadian tuxedo, navigating the crowd of judgmental parents and jealous teens. Finally, for a very emotional reunion between the couple post-Europe, Solène wears a simple black Saint Laurent T-shirt and straight-leg Levi’s.

“In Anne’s second fitting is where we really, really found Solène,” Demeterio says. “We had found this great pair of vintage Levi’s that fit her so unbelievably well — when she put those on, it was an instant sort of, ‘Okay, there [she is.]’ That’s where the denim started. It was like her old pair of jeans she’s had forever that she loves and feels the best and most comfortable in. [Denim] is her safe thing.”

Hayes and Solène embrace the limelight.

Photo: Courtesy of Amazon MGM Studios

One accessory ties Solène’s elegant-yet-laid-back California vibe together with her dreamy summer escapade: a standout raffia Rabanne purse that makes its way home with her. “Even though it was a designer bag, it just felt right,” Demeterio argues. “It was a little bohemian. It wasn’t a crazy color. It had a cool chain detail. It had all the right elements to cover everything about her.”

Once Solène gets a taste of what life in the spotlight is like for her daughter, however, she hits the brakes on her relationship with Hayes in a heart-wrenching scene. Hayes proposes a five-year break. (Solène’s daughter would be in college, and they could live life on their own terms together.) Luckily for the audience, the scene fades into a title card that reads, “Five years later.”

Hayes makes an appearance on “The Graham Norton” show for the first time as a solo artist: His hair’s slightly shorter, he’s grown a bit of facial hair and he’s wearing a monochromatic suit. (This is another parallel between him and Styles, who made his debut televised solo performance in the UK on the same show in a similar outfit.) 

“He’s now coming into his own. He’s a solo artist, very successful and he’s now stepped it up in what he wears as a more mature [person],” Demeterio says. “He’s wearing an elegant Ralph Lauren shawl, a collared tuxedo jacket, a Valentino trouser and a silk Valentino blouse. He’s a lot more comfortable with himself now.”

We then see Solène in her gallery, this time with hair parted to the side, wearing a warm-toned Gabriela Hearst pantsuit. “That was something we found in the first fitting — it sounds cliché, but it showed a sort of confidence with this bold color for her that was kind of out of her wheelhouse,” Demeterio says. “It wasn’t in those purple and blue jewel tones that we created. I never used red until the end there, and I felt like she was just shining with confidence and feeling so good about everything in her life.”

Making good on his promise, Hayes returns to Solène’s gallery. Demeterio explains: “I wanted to keep him classic, mature and clean-looking, so it was a Nili Lotan fisherman’s sweater, a pair of jeans and a classic boot. I think that was always the thing — you have to see him mature so they can truly come together and, well, have what you think happens, happen.”

“The Idea of You” is available to stream on Prime Video starting May 2.

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