Fifty Shades Freed smartly used the dress Dakota Johnson wore for Anastasia and Christian's wedding in all of its key marketing moments. By now the dress, with its buttoned down back and its lace overlay, is iconic. I even watched an episode of Say Yes To The Dress where a client wanted to look like Ana does on the poster for the final movie in the trilogy. The dress look came together thanks to a collaboration with Monique Lhuillier, but although the partnership was easy, actually getting the dress together was a bit of a wild ride. Costume Designer Shay Cunliffe recently revealed the story to us ahead of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment's Blu-ray release, and it starts on a dark and stormy night...
OK, not really, but it is rainy a lot in Vancouver, where the wedding sequence was shot. Shay Cunliffe said she had previously worked with Monique Lhuillier, and it was an easy fit for that team to help out with the bridal dress, as well as --fun fact -- the dress in Fifty Shades Darker Ana Steele wears to the masquerade ball. But the process was a long and wending one and it almost didn't come together in a timely fashion. First, however, Cunliffe says she collaborated with Dakota Johnson to get the look of the dress just right.
After talking to Monique Lhuillier, the dress was out of Cunliffe's hands. This was a bit tricky, because normally she has direct input into everything from the design to the fitting, and this time she did not. Shay Cunliffe explained how the dress almost wasn't ready by the time the rest of the Fifty Shades Freed team was set to shoot the big wedding sequence. She said:
Then the dress came in, like all good dresses do, just in the nick of time. Shay Cunliffe also revealed to CinemaBlend that the dress only came in right before the scene was going to shoot, so there was really no way to do major fittings so that the dress fit Dakota Johnson's body, as Johnson was filming two Fifty Shades movies back-to-back in Vancouver and Monique Lhuillier's design studio was in Los Angeles, making a fitting collaboration impossible. In addition, normally when a wardrobe is made, multiple versions of a costume are created in case there is an accident, like a tear. That wasn't the case at all for the wedding dress in Fifty Shades Freed. There was one copy and one copy only. Therefore, Cunliffe told us she prayed "to the wardrobe god" that the dress would hold through all of filming. But, first, she had to worry about whether or not it would fit. She said:
Luckily, Cunliffe says she was very happy with the final product, and wishes the audience had gotten to see a little more of the stuff the creative team shot.
If you've seen the movie, by now you know that the wedding flits by very quickly. We get to see a highlight reel of the big moments, but the story in the film really only picks up once Ana and Christian are on their honeymoon. As the story of this wedding dress shows, the creative team went to painstaking lengths to get all of the little details right in the movie. If you'd like to take another look into the world of Fifty Shades, Fifty Shades Freed hits Blu-ray today, and if you'd like to see some of the other cool stuff the design team used to create the wedding setting, be sure to look at the extras on the disc. In addition, you can order your own DVD, Digital or Blu-ray copy of the flick, here. If you'd also like to know more about Dakota Johnson's looks in the movie, we have you covered.