LOS ANGELES — Jennifer Lopez is used to dressing to the nines, but her new comedy “Monster-in-Law,” opening Friday, was a reversal of fortune, at least when it came to the costumes. Playing a free-spirited artist/fashion designer/dog-walker, Lopez donned bohemian duds, casual clothes and sweet dresses that looked as if her character sewed them at home. Meanwhile, Jane Fonda, in the title role, appears in one breathtaking couture piece after another.
“Jane plays a celebrity on screen and is a legend in her own right,” says Australian costume designer Kym Barrett, who until now was used to creating ensembles for futuristic films like “The Matrix” trilogy. “For Jen, who clearly understands what Hollywood glamour is and even aspires to that in the film, we wanted a modern flower-child feel.”
Barrett made “99 percent” of Fonda’s costumes from scratch, including elaborate Chinese- and Indian-dress party looks, and a Golden Age-inspired gown that hugs her still-enviable figure. “I call that the death lily dress because that’s what was on her character’s mind when she put the dress on,” says Barrett, referring to a murderous Fonda and her black floral-embroidered evening gown.
She also designed about three-quarters of Lopez’s looks, including the summery frocks that her character designs on her own. The wedding dress, however, came courtesy of Monique Lhuillier and for supercasual scenes, Lopez wears her own Sweetface and JLo separates, some Nanette Lepore and Juicy Couture. But Barrett, whose first film was Baz Lurhmann’s “Romeo + Juliet,” has some future ideas for the star. “Jen has such a bodacious Fifties body with that small waist, and I’d love to see her do a period piece.”