With the swell of sunshine so nearly upon us for another year, what better film to entice us into the season fully than the glorious (500) Days of Summer? Starring the bashfully handsome Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tom Hansen, he is clothed in beautifully geeky skinny ties and buttoned up cardigans. However, it is his office object of desire, Summer Finn (Zooey Deschanel) who really takes the proverbial fashion biscuit. Summer, witty and charming with a penchant for The Smiths, is a young woman who doesn't really believe in love. Nevertheless, one thing is for sure, and that is that she believes in fashion.
The immediate thing to note about the costume ensembles of (500) Days of Summer is their timelessness. The pieces are stylish and fashion-forward without screaming ‘my name is (insert try-hard fashion victim’s name here) and I’m a try-hard fashion victim’. Summer especially is clad very cleverly. She wears a simple sun-inspired menagerie of cottons, denim and embroidery, with flatteringly feminine A-line shapes and full skirted designs. She undoubtedly enjoys dressing and knows what suits her, the feel of her outfits unmistakeably soft and romantic. With modest hemlines and a relaxed fit, Summer exudes effortless beauty without the need for revealing more. Her unawareness of the impact of her beauty only adds to her appeal. Here is a girl who is not afraid to be her own person, her controversially casual attitude to life and love going hand-in-hand with her self-possessed style.
In another nod to her vivacious fashion poise, Summer is dressed almost exclusively in blue for the entirety of the film. Hued in everything from duck egg to midnight navy, it becomes her signature trademark. The all-blue palette rebrands the term of the LBD (little black dress), lending an idiosyncratic twist to create Summer’s own ‘little blue dress’. Softer than the classic black version and a quirky alternative, it is again a reflection of Summer’s eccentric and unabashedly individual manner.
The morning following Tom and Summer’s first night together, a surreal dance sequence takes place in the street, employing a plethora of seemingly arbitrary dancers and background actors. It is the only scene in the entire film where blue is worn by anyone other than Summer. Costume designer Hope Hanafin confirms that the idea behind this was to show that, in the morning-after glow of his night with Summer, Tom’s whole world is a reflection of his all-consuming lust for her. Now that’s some signature dressing.
So if you want to rock a little bit of carefree charm this summer, do it the Deschanel way in a beautiful blue and you’ll feel anything but melancholy.
Director: Marc Webb
Costume design: Hope Hanafin