Dressing Frankie Valli: How the 'Jersey Boys' Got Their Suits
From mock turtlenecks to recording studio corduroy suits, the costume designer behind Clint Eastwood's new film tells us what it took to make The Four Seasons come to life onscreen.
Similar to the Tony Award-winning Broadway hit of the same name, Clint Eastwood's film adaptation of Jersey Boys sees a great deal of matching suits. Designing the movie's identical performance outfits for The Four Seasons — Frankie Valli (played by John Lloyd Young), Tommy DeVito (Vincent Piazza), Nick Massi (Michael Lomenda) and Bob Gaudio (Erich Bergen) — was Deborah Hopper, who has worked on 16 films with Eastwood since the early 1980s, including Gran Torino and Million Dollar Baby.
Before starting work on the designs, Hopper referred to the original band to help with her creativity process. "A lot of the research came from the different album covers from The Four Seasons, which, you know, always showed pictures of the four guys," Hopper tells Pret-a-Reporter. A few key pieces she designed include a '70s corduroy suit that the real Frankie Valli used to wear to the studio; the burgundy blazers the boys wear during their American Bandstand performance — and every single bow tie. "There was a CD set from The Four Seasons that actually showed them performing, so that was very helpful. I also did a lot of research at Western Costume Company's library, as well."
Not only did the legendary costume company, located in North Hollywood, help with Hopper's research, it also provided one of the most popular garments in the film: classic cardigans reminiscent of the '50s and '60s. "Like [when they're] at the Ohio State Fair [in the film], they wore matching cardigans and sweaters with a suede and mock turtle," notes the designer. Aside from pulling from Western Costume, she says, "We scoured everywhere to look for enough clothing for the movie. I think we dressed around 3,000 to 4,000 people, with all the performing and audiences."
Hopper, who didn't borrow any pieces from the Broadway show for the film, says she spent about two and a half months doing prep and design. Since she's been collaborating with Eastwood for more than two decades, Hopper didn't have any trouble getting his approval on the costumes. "At this point, we've worked together for so long, so yes, he gives me a lot of freedom," she says with a laugh. Given that Eastwood wore the group's maroon jacket to the film's premiere during Los Angeles Film Festival's closing night on Thursday, we can see what she means.
Catch Jersey Boys in theaters now. And be ready to sing along to a tune (or two).