Leigh Leverett Interview: ‘Patsy and Loretta’ costume designer
Leigh Leverett wasn’t a big country music fan, but the costume designer is “more so now” after working on “Patsy and Loretta.”
The Lifetime movie highlights the friendship between the two country music legends, starting in 1961, when Patsy Cline (Megan Hilty), already a star, takes aspiring singer Loretta Lynn (Jessie Mueller) under her wing. They remained close as Lynn’s star rose until Cline died in a plane crash in 1963 at just 30. After joining the project, Leverett immediately jumped into research.
“We recreated a lot of moments that there are pictures of and did a lot of research,” she told Gold Derby during our Meet the BTL Experts: Costume Design panel (watch above). “We pretty much started looking at all the plot points in the script and match as much as we could and see what we could find. And there’s a lot of everyday stuff that we just tried to get the feel of their everyday look.”
Cline’s look was “a little more sophisticated” than that of Lynn, who starts off as a put-upon housewife and mother. Leverett made most of Lynn’s homemade dresses as Lynn herself used to hand-sew them. “[Cline] wore a lot of pants and little shoes and little blouses, so we tried to do that, but she also wore skirts and jackets and all kinds of things,” Leverett continued. “But we did try to make her a little more on period and a little more sophisticated, and kind of kept Loretta a little more coming into this world and wasn’t quite sure of herself.”
Due to a short prep period, Leverett turned to various archival establishments for help. “We had one of the ladies that worked at the Patsy Cline Museum in Nashville helped us out [with] the fabulous early cowgirl outfits,” she said. And then she stumbled upon a gorgeous black dress on none other than Etsy.
“I found a fantastic dress for Patsy when she goes to Vegas — it’s a black beaded, very sleek dress — I found it on Etsy. Walked right into it. We couldn’t even believe it! We put it on, we didn’t think it was going to fit, and it was like, ‘Oh my gosh. That’s amazing,’” Leverett recalled. “It’s from Etsy of all places, and we didn’t have to do any alterations on it. [Hilty] literally walked right into it.”