FINDING DORY... ALIA, JOHN, AND MATT
WED. NOV 23, 2016
WORDS BY JOSHUA MICHAEL PAULIN
PHOTOGRAPHY BY Natalia Mantini
STYLING BYMatthew Simonelli
Following footsteps, “that CAB!”, the scent of a distinct perfume or pie, will lead you in the direction of solving everyday's little life mysteries.
In the original 56 short stories and novels starring Sherlock Holmes, he never once mentioned “It’s elementary, my dear Watson” but pop-culture says it’s his most famous quote. Guess what? He also never wore the “hat”. It’s 2016, are there any stones still left unturned? (Carl Sagan is rolling his eyes from the beyond). Where is the mystery? Is that also a mystery? “Mystery: Where did the mystery go?” Maybe I’m embellishing. Yes there is Daytime Soaps where a character dies and comes back as a robot with plastic surgery. The mystery becomes “can I get vacuuming done and figure out what’s going on” and before you know it, all the characters have guns. I was provided with some answers to my own questions by getting to watch TBS’s new show “SEARCH PARTY”. I watched the whole season in one sitting (I’m embellishing, just got up to episode 6, I’m gonna sprinkle the last few episodes over my winter) and it wasn’t a binge watch. I was curious about what was going on with the characters. They were life-like and reminded me of people I know. The mystery wasn’t far fetched, it was relatable and clear, someone was missing. But this is explored in a smart and emotional way, not like a gumshoe cartoon. The laughs come in where they are needed, just like in real life, to comfort a delicate situation or a friend.
But who are these people, these characters. If I was standing behind one them in line at the post office, what would I think? Where were they just before standing in the same line with me? Supposedly clothes are the first thing a stranger notices about you, a question forms on sight, no matter what. When I glance down, an old pair of Chuck Taylors tells me about every concert they have been to. That was an easy answer to my question, it also helped that KoЯn was written on the outer midsole in blue ballpoint ink. Her jacket is a little bit harder to read. It’s interesting shape. Unique color. “What fabric is that” I say to myself, “oh that’s a cat hair”. I want to tap her on the shoulder and ask but her headphones are in, she might scream. “I guess I’ll never know” I say to myself in bed at night.
Costume Designer Matthew Simonelli had already thought of these questions and more, when concepting the look of the show. So for a show with characters we can all relate to at a time, when personalities can be described (or judged) by the clothes on their back, we were lucky enough to spend a day with Matthew and oh yeah, the show’s main character Dory, played by Alia Shawkat and her on and off set bestie John Early who plays Elliott. Together, we were able to answer a few mysteries about wardrobe and the perception it creates.
CUT-COPY-PASTE YOUR FAVORITE JACKET
JOSHUA MICHAEL PAULIN: What was the inspiration for the wardrobe for the characters Alia and John play on the show? I picked up on the continuity of few pieces being used over again in different episodes. It reminds of when I get dressed in the morning, no matter what I’m wearing, I still wear my favorite coat on top. Seeing this in a show gives it a more lifelike effect, rather than variations of what the cast looks good in, which usually comes off cartoony.
ALIA SHAWKAT: Dory’s wardrobe is timeless, lots of blocked colors. Her style is old fashioned without being dated. She’s conservative and knows whats she likes and doesn’t get too crazy with it. The characters feel like real people who know the way they like to dress. The jacket was the first thing we talked about.
MATTHEW SIMONELLI: Yeah, it was the very first conversations we had about the show. We wanted to do a take on a sleuthing coat. It felt Dory was always on the go, so we wanted a lot of movement in the piece. Something like when Dory moved around, the jacket gave her a lot of action, which would create another proportion to the character.
JOHN EARLY: Was the tweediness of the jacket suppose to represent...Sherlock Holmes? Or is that an idea I just had..right now, LOL.
MATT: I was originally thinking more Humphrey Bogart, so I figured we were going to have to get that coat constructed. I had just had swatches created out all of these different fabrics and then I bumped into this coat at Beacon’s Closet. I saw the jacket and thought to myself "I must be crazy but I think i just found Dory’s coat".
JOHN: Did you tailor it?
MATT: Just a little bit on the waist, because the material was stretched, I’m pretty sure someone made that jacket from scratch. I always felt that it was important to give a nod to film noir and dark mysteries that had came before Search Party. I also wanted it to feel current, tying high-waisted jeans and sneakers into the look, to bring that vision to life.
JOHN: We talked about my character before shooting, I said Elliot would pick the clothes I wouldn’t choose if I was shopping or maybe that I’m too scared to choose. I shop more for the softer and sweet fabrics. I never end up choosing the bold matching suits or anything over sized type art pieces, it was so fun to actually live that.
MATT: Elliott doesn’t actually just pick one signature piece to wear during his day, it’s all signature pieces. You never see him just in a pair of black jeans.
THE FIRST FASHION SEASON, OF YOURSELF
CARLY AIMI: I remember when I first moved to New York and I felt like before I left the house my mission was to put on every cool piece of clothing I own.
ALIA SHAWKAT: LOL, I did the same thing when I moved to NY. Every outfit I would of been embarrassed to wear in small town California ... I just wore here, I DID EVERYTHING. A matching hat, purse, heels just to go get a coffee and I was like, wait no one really cares or turns their head. Everyday was like a whole fashion show.
JOHN: When I was in high school, I had an older female friend and she said “I’m going to take you thrifting” and I go “WHAT’S THAT!?”. She showed me thrift stores for the first time, so I began to dress like a clown and I thought it looked sooo good. When I see pictures of me wearing a newsboy cap, purple plaid shirt, huge baggy cords, some weird plastic ring pop and pro kids. I looked like a fucking gay clown.
MATT: I love seeing people like that on the subway or the street, they are really going for it and I love it.
ALIA: You get out of the house and you dress up for the fucking day, you know what I mean? Some people just dress to be comfy in NY. I get dressed for the whole day, for no matter what scenario I’m going to get into.
ASK YOURSELF A QUESTION
JOSH: How would Alia describe Dory’s style and vise versa?
ALIA: I think we have different taste but I like everything that Dory wears, I don’t think Dory would wear any of my clothes. I would like to think if Dory began to accept herself, maybe in her 30’s, she would start dressing more like I do. :::Alia makes a fake younger voice::: “I mean I’m like only 19”.
JOSH: We are all 19.
ALIA: Lol, Dory is a little more feminine and I like to play that. She’s a little more conservative and likes to be a woman and her bf dresses so cute and preppy to the tee. I don’t date preps, I like mine a little dirtier.
JOHN: If i saw my character on the street i would say to him “you better werk” with nothing but positivity. I think Elliot would think I dress too safe. I have some things he would love though, I have a lot of show shirts I buy from Opening Ceremony. I have a few big shows a year, so I make sure I get a very bold shirt, he’d be into those.
WHAT’S IN THE CLOSET?
JOSH: Do you have a favorite item in your own wardrobe at home? What comes to mind immediately ?
JOHN: I have a sweater I don’t wear anymore because it has completely unraveled, it’s coming apart and too dangerous to wear. I’m pretty sure it’s a Lands End or a L.L. bean, oatmeal color and it was my dad’s. He gave it to me when I was 18 and out of principal, felt like “No way nerd”. But just after that, I realized how beautiful and cozy it was.
MATT: Mine changes a lot, I have a lot of old t-shirts that are on their last leg because I got them ages ago and but they still fit.
MATT: Hahaha, I can’t throw them away. I also have a collection of polyester shirts which I love, which are also on their last leg and I feel like I should get rid of them. Maybe I’ll just get the patterns tattooed somewhere, so I can still have them forever. Some new things I love too, this long double breasted Comme de Garçons jacket. I wore it to the premiere the other night, I’m obsessed with it.
ALIA: I don’t buy clothes online ever because I have to try them on. But I did buy this carrot earring, one single earring. It’s knitted, has sequins and one big pearl at the top, it’s a hanging carrot. It reminds me of bait for a donkey that's on a stick and string. I feel like it makes any outfit of mine “NOW IT’S MINE” . I love my carrot.
CARLY: I have t-shirts that are sooo vintage people think you are sweating in them, because they look so sheer.
JOSH: Hahaa, I only asked this question so I could talk about my favorite. I have the original Star Wars shirt that was given out to the fans waiting in line for the film in 1977. It says “MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU” in the Star Wars font. My brother gave it to me as gift for my Birthday, well our Birthday, which makes sense because we are twins. But, I’ve never worn it because it’s actually girls size. It’s way too small and the arms have been tapered to fit a woman.
ALIA: So you’re giving it to me?
Photography NATALIA MANTINI | Styling MATTHEW SIMONELLI | Production CARLY AIMI | Talent ALIA SHAWKAT | JOHN EARLY | MATTHEW SIMONELLI Production Assistant JOSHUA MICHAEL PAULIN | Special Thanks ELIZABETH COTHERN I MEGAN SHAW I TBS