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the Lab: How Fashion Meets Science in Surprising Ways

the Lab: How Fashion Meets Science in Surprising Ways

The costume design in Apple TV+’s “Lessons in Chemistry” showcases Elizabeth Zott’s growth and journey from a lab tech to a cooking show host, highlighting her passion and non-conformity.

In the upcoming EcoReporter segment on ‘Lab Coats But Make It Fashion’, we delve into the costume design choices made by Mirren Gordon-Crozier in Apple TV+’s “Lessons in Chemistry”. The show follows the character Elizabeth Zott, played by Brie Larson, who dreams of becoming a chemist in a time when society believes women belong at home, not in a science laboratory.

To visually portray Elizabeth’s growth and journey, Gordon-Crozier selected green as her signature color. This choice is evident from the first time audiences see Elizabeth in a flash-forward scene at the top of the premiere episode. She enters the TV studio wearing a long-shot take of her iconic green outfit, consisting of cigarette pants, a V-shaped neck top, and a lab coat with matching royal green silk piping. This color is carried throughout the series, representing Elizabeth’s passion and drive as she defies societal expectations.

While working at the Hastings Research Institute, Elizabeth is surrounded by dusty muted tones in Gordon-Crozier’s costume design. Teal, salmon pink, and down-to-earth colors are used to create a certain brightness whenever light shines on them. The absence of pink in Elizabeth’s wardrobe reflects her non-conformity to traditional feminine pastels.

In one particular scene, Elizabeth is required to attend a work beauty pageant at the lab. The secretaries are dressed to impress, adhering to the societal expectation of finding a husband rather than focusing on their careers. The beauty contest has an autumnal theme, and the secretaries match their outfits. Elizabeth, however, dislikes this event and wears a simple, non-revealing outfit from her closet, emphasizing her focus on her work rather than conforming to societal norms.

As Elizabeth unexpectedly falls in love with Calvin, portrayed by Lewis Pullman, Gordon-Crozier softens her look by incorporating beige and cream colors into her wardrobe. This change signifies Elizabeth’s shift in priorities, as she starts to care more about her appearance while still maintaining her passion for chemistry.

Throughout the series, Gordon-Crozier has fun with Elizabeth’s lab coats. Elizabeth cooks in a lab coat, considering an apron to be unnecessary. The lab coat, with its coverage and pockets, becomes a symbol of Elizabeth’s liberation from societal expectations. Each episode features a different lab coat, showcasing Elizabeth’s evolving fashion sense and her newfound freedom to express herself.

In addition to the lab coats, Gordon-Crozier selects warm fabrics such as linens and twills for Elizabeth’s wardrobe. Knitwear is also incorporated to add texture and depth to her costumes. Elizabeth’s focus on her work is evident in her piecemeal style of dressing, unlike other women who match their shoes, gloves, and bags. Gordon-Crozier draws inspiration from various sources, including Sears catalogs and the glamorous silhouettes of Grace Kelly, to create Elizabeth’s unique and empowering fashion choices.

As Elizabeth progresses in her journey, her hairstyle evolves as well. Initially, she wears her hair in berets, keeping it out of her face. However, as she transitions to hosting “Supper at Six,” her hairstyle becomes more modern and up to date, reflecting her growth and confidence.

In conclusion, the costume design in “Lessons in Chemistry” plays a crucial role in portraying Elizabeth Zott’s growth and journey. Mirren Gordon-Crozier’s choices, such as Elizabeth’s signature green color, the use of warm fabrics, and the evolution of her lab coats, highlight Elizabeth’s passion, drive, and non-conformity. By presenting a fresh perspective on fashion and empowerment, the show engages viewers and inspires them to break free from societal expectations.

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