How do you approach dressing Jennifer Lopez — one of the world’s most glamorous women — for a movie about strippers?
Costume designer Mitchell Travers says the same way he would go about outfitting a star for a Gilded Age drama, or a Jane Austen flick: with “an incredible amount of research.”
“Our movie takes place from 2006 to 2011, so I treated it like I would any period movie,” Travers tells The Post about working on “Hustlers,” the strippers-turned-scammers flick starring Jennifer Lopez, Constance Wu and Cardi B, out Friday. “I really had to investigate how we were dressing ourselves at the time.”
The result is brash, loud and fun: flamboyant fur coats, thong-flaunting low-rise jeans, big hoop earrings and Juicy Couture sweats.
“Our characters maybe follow the trends a little too closely,” says Travers, who designed some of the costumes himself. “So they would have looked to the most up-to-the-minute, popular celebrities for style cues.”
Wu’s Destiny, for instance — a good girl gone bad, and then good again — would have emulated then-misbehaving starlets like Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. Sweet and naive Annabelle, played by Lili Reinhart, would have admired the crocheted, puffed-sleeved, sultry-boho looks favored by Miley Cyrus and Ashley Tisdale.
Competent, funny Mercedes, played by Keke Palmer, sports an aesthetic inspired by House of Deréon-era Beyoncé.
And Lopez’s character, Ramona, the glamorous ringleader of the group, would have emulated someone like, well, J. Lo, during her Juicy Couture, “Jenny from the Block” years.
“Ramona is magnetic, effortless and glamorous,” like the real-life Lopez, says Travers. “She seduces everyone she meets — whether a client or a friend, a man or a woman.” But he looked to other pop culture touchstones for Ramona’s look as well, including Victoria Beckham and the Victoria’s Secret Angels.
“They were the peak of male fascination at the time,” says Travers of the lingerie models. “So Ramona, who is a businesswoman, would have absorbed their style until it became her own.”
But while Ramona exudes an organic charisma — wearing her floor-length furs as if they were sweats — Destiny’s style is intentionally more forced.
“She’s a more uncertain person,” says Travers, who dressed Wu in too-bulky chinchilla coats, too-tight miniskirts and too-shiny metallic animal prints. “Animal print was quite trendy at the time, and there’s an undeniably predatory nature to our story,” but Destiny doesn’t quite own it. “She’s trying a little harder than everyone else,” he says.
Travers says he put an equal amount of thought into how these characters would deck themselves out for the stage. Even Cardi B, who famously worked as a stripper in her younger days, was impressed.
“She was going through the set, pointing at all the different costumes saying, ‘This is taking me back,’ ” he recalls. Still, since she seemed shy at first, he wasn’t sure how she would react to the provocative piece he had pulled out for her: a Savage x Fenty corset with crystal pasties where the cups would be.
“She laughed,” Travers says, “and said, ‘Bitch, lace me in!’ ”
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