Warning: Spoilers for 'To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You' below.
The "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" followup, "To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You," picks up immediately after we last saw our girl Lara Jean Covey (Lana Condor) and Peter Kavinsky (the Internet's and Liza's boyfriend, Noah Centineo) finally, officially together — or for the moment being, anyway. Another letter recipient and former sixth grade crush John Ambrose (Jordan Fisher) has just popped in to shake up the scene.
As she navigates the uncharted waters of a first-ever relationship, Lara Jean ups her wardrobe and beauty game to match the new, exciting (and confusing) stage, courtesy of costume designer Lorraine Carson and Condor's personal makeup artist, Rebekah Bak.
"We wanted to show that shift in Lara Jean's mental growth by using her fashion," explains Carson. "It shows more independence and adventure. She's blossoming within herself and through her relationship with Peter. That happens to all of us at that age — we're finding ourselves."
Bak slightly "bumped up" Lara Jean's already obsessed-over makeup, while Carson heightened the character's fashion with "head-to-toe" outfits — complete with custom-made headbands, patterned tights and an especially fire stacked-heel shoe collection. She also injected a romantic and cinematic vintage-inspired feel into LJ's wardrobe, with references ranging from the '40s to '70s.
"[Vintage] lends itself to her intellect. She thinks about and dwells on everything and she's conflicted about things. It shows that she puts so much more thought behind everything that she does," says Carson. "Lara Jean was not just going to the mall like [Peter's ex] Gen and buying something from the store window." (Although, Lara Jean's pink toggle coat from the original "To All the Buys I've Loved Before" remains, borrowed from the sister of the first movie's costume designer, Rafaella Rabinovich, who originally lent it to the production.)
"To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You" also celebrates Lara Jean's Korean heritage through cultural traditions, contemporary fashion and beauty moments incorporated behind-the-scenes. "Jenny Han was a great inspiration," says Carson about working closely with the author of the popular YA book series and executive producer of the films. "We would swap ideas and send each other photos, emails and mood boards."
Carson is already in post-production on the third installment of the movie adaptations, "To All the Boys: Always and Forever, Lara Jean," which travels to South Korea and New York City. The costume designer drops a little fashion teaser, too: "There are definitely more fabulous outfits. On two, we had about 45-plus changes for Lara Jean and we have over 60 in movie three."
Before we jump too far ahead, Carson and Bak take us through Lara Jean's key fashion and beauty moments in "To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You."
Lara Jean's First Date Look
"I've never been a girlfriend before," says Lara Jean, before she preps for her first official — and first in general — date with Peter. Han and Carson labored over finding the perfect look to convey the gravity of the occasion: a little red taffeta dress with ribbon-accented puff-shoulders and scoop neckline by Rebecca Vallance. For the lantern lighting moment outside, Lara Jean dons a lightest blush-hued wool car coat, which Carson found at Zara and reshaped into a '60s-reminiscent fitted silhouette.
Going into the sophomore movie, Lara Jean transitions from girlish flats and subversive Docs into more refined — but still youthful (and vintage-inspired) — styles, like the double-strapped Mary Janes by Chie Mihara. "It's something quite unique," says Carson, who imagined the thoughtful Lara Jean honing in on the textured suede, double-straps and block heel details. Her lightly dotted tights, heart pendant and hair pins, supplied by Carson to the hair team, complete the outfit.
In what may be the movie's biggest shocker: Lara Jean does not wear any mascara. Bak credits Vancouver's Mink Lash Boutique — where the makeup artist also goes — for Condor's long, thick lashes. (She does wake up like that... although Bak would maintain with single lashes when needed.)
The makeup artist created Lara Jean's deep berry date-night lip stain by mixing Charlotte Tilbury's Hot Lips in Carina's Love with K-beauty brand TonyMoly's Perfect Lips Shocking Lip tint in Pink Shocking. "I used a lot of Korean lip tints because she kisses a lot," says Bak. "It just saves production a lot of time because it doesn't transfer."
The Covey Sisters' Lunar New Year Hanboks
"I went to the source: Jenny Han," says Carson, about maintaining authenticity in dressing Lara Jean and little sister Kitty (Anna Cathcart) in beautiful Korean hanboks, traditionally worn for formal occasions. The sisters pay respects to their maternal grandparents on Lunar New Year, celebrate their mother's heritage and collect their lucky new year cash.
After speaking with Han for a primer, Carson dove into researching Korean culture and traditions. When the author was in Los Angeles for casting, she FaceTimed with the costume designer to source premium silk fabrics and trims. Kitty's marigold and white hanbok is from Leehwa Wedding and Lara Jean's, in her signature blue and pink, is from celebrity-frequented MeeHee Hanbok. "It brought the family together in remembering their mother and it really represented the Korean culture," says Carson.
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The School Day Complete Mauve Outfit
For her semester debut as one-half of a couple, Lara Jean flexes in a dreamy mauve ensemble. Carson paired a soft pink Babaton mock-neck with an asymmetric pleated mini-skirt by a South Korean brand she happened upon in a Vancouver mall. "It was fantastic because it brought Lara Jean's heritage into it," says Carson.
Carson accessorized the look with cream dotted tights and ivory, patent-leather, tasseled loafers by Jeffrey Campbell. A contrasting polka-dotted headband finishes off the outfit. "We got all our colors in there," laughs Carson, about combining Lara Jean's cyan, yellow and magenta palette into one 'fit.
For Lara Jean's every day lip, Bak used Milk Makeup Kush lip balm in sheer "mauve-y" Cannatonic, with a touch of Charlotte Tilbury's Carina's Love. The makeup artist also efficiently maintained Condor's perfect complexion by applying Skyn Iceland Hydracool Firming Eye Gels during the actress's daily hair sessions.
Lara Jean's Valentine's Day Ensemble
Who else remembers how Valentine's Day falling on a school day ended up being one of the most high-pressure (and often disappointment-filled) occasions ever? Of course, Lara Jean being Lara Jean literally wears her heart on her sleeve — and entire dress, really — for her first February 14 as a girlfriend. Fittingly, her '40s-style silk dress was a labor of love for Han and Carson, too.
Han first spotted the HVN by Harley Viera Newton silk crepe de chine dress on Opening Ceremony's website, but it was sold out. Carson then spent long nights searching online until she found a gently-worn version on Vestiaire Collective, which she dyed a deeper pink for the camera.
Lara Jean's inventive footwear completes the sweet, but edgy outfit: red patent, chunky-heeled oxfords by Canadian brand Gravitypope coordinated with ankle socks in the same hue. "It's completely not on-point with what anyone else would do, which is put a high heel with it," says Carson.
The Glamorous Star Ball Moment
Lara Jean's conflicting feelings for Peter and preppy-cute John Ambrose culminate during the Star Ball, an Old Hollywood-meets-'70s disco gala at the Belleview retirement home. The villa's daytime drinking Queen Bee, Stormy (Holland Taylor), lends Lara Jean a tulle confection for the evening, presumably plucked out of her own impressive vintage archives (and which bring's Condor's campy Met Gala gown to mind).
Carson started with the penultimate look from the J. Mendel Spring 2019 runway: a ruffled gown in seafoam green, which sits in Lara Jean's color palette. But the original strapless silhouette felt "too revealing" for the teen, plus the length overpowered Condor's petite frame.
"So, during a fitting, we took a bottom tier off and wrapped the fabric around [Condor's] shoulders and tucked it down the front," explains Carson. She reconfigured the gown into a romantic, '50s-inspired and just-off-the-shoulder silhouette and accessorized with unexpected ivory suede block heels by Aldo. "When she walked down the stairs, it was magical. It was like a romantic fantasy silhouette and she was stunning."
Bak, again, relied on the resilient TonyMoly lip stains for the ultimate sequence, which include multiple lip-locking moments, but nary a smudge. Behind-the-camera, Bak also prepped Condor with regular applications of Sara Happ Pink Peppermint Lip Treatment. "Because her lips can get a little chapped from kissing all the boys."