If we’ve learned anything from Ali Wong and Randall Park’s new rom-com Always Be My Maybe, it’s that the world doesn’t deserve Keanu Reeves. If the movie left us questioning anything, it was this: Where does Ali Wong get her glasses? Ever since the film hit Netflix, the internet has been in a frenzy over the multiple frames Wong’s characters wears — at work, on dates, at her kitchen table. Well, curious four-eyes, Leesa Evans is here to help. The costume designer for Always Be My Maybe hopped on the phone with Vulture to talk all about what it’s like to shop for glasses with and for Ali Wong.
The big question, at least on Twitter, is, where are the glasses from?
There’s two different brands that we use throughout the film. One is Gentle Monster and the other one is DITA. And, you know, really, the fit and the look was perfect for Ali for this film. So that’s really why we stuck with those brands.
When you were choosing the glasses, did you try to style them to the look?
Definitely. You know, it was fun, because we made the conscious decision that Ali would be wearing glasses the entire film. And that’s not a common decision for a lead actress. And so, you know, while we were doing that, we’re like, well, let’s have fun with it and let’s really say that that’s part of her. One of her main accessories that she always wears is glasses. And if that was true, how many different kinds of glasses would you have? And which ones would you wear? We found the perfect gold frame glasses, the perfect silver frame glasses, the perfect black frame, and we just kept going on and going, “Okay, well, how many different looks do we have that need a different kind of frame or a different tone?” And that’s really how we approached it. The style of the glasses, and the style of the look was all a little bit architectural in tone, you know, a fashionable edge, and really something that we felt would make a statement but still be really authentic to her character and to her.
Can you talk more about that decision to wear glasses all the time? Obviously, Ali does wear glasses in real life, but can you talk about how that worked with filming as well?
Well, you know, a lot of times there’s really a logistical problem with the lenses themselves because they can reflect the entire film crew in the background. So it’s really a lot about that. You need to put a special coating on the lenses, which is anti-reflective coating, but even that doesn’t always work. It’s so much up to the [director of photography] to really create a lighting environment that works for glasses. And I have to say that our DP Tim Suhrstedt was so brilliant at that, he just embraced the entire idea and he knew exactly how to do it.
So were there any glasses that didn’t make it into the final cut?
There’s always outfits that don’t make it into the final cut, but I didn’t have a ton of different frames — we had about six different frames and we really used them all multiple times.
Did Ali Wong have any say in picking them out?
Definitely. I think because she does wear glasses all the time, it was a really great conversation from the beginning about what she feels looks best on her face and what she’s most comfortable in — everything from the weight of the glasses, the size of the glasses, the nose pads. We picked a bunch of glasses just in that first fitting and knew like, oh, we love these, these are great. It wasn’t a huge belabored project. Really, it was just fun.
Were there any parameters? Did she ever say, “I really like these types of glasses and not these types of glasses?”
We kind of said, like, let’s use glasses that really feel fashion forward. In the sense that they do make a statement, and they are the integral part of the whole look of the outfit. Otherwise, they’re sort of like an afterthought, or they’re too much. You know, just that they would feel like really cohesive with everything that she was wearing. So we really did stick with Gentle Monster and DITA because of that. Because the frames that we specifically used felt that they were that perfect level of fashion that still have the authenticity to feel like somebody would wear them every day.
How did you decide those two brands?
We did try on a few other brands. Gentle Monster’s a brand that I’ve always loved, because they do have very fashionable frames. I think that they had simple enough designs that felt like everyday wear but with that fashion edge that we needed. Gentle Monster was always going to be in the mix. And DITA was sort of, you know, we tried on a lot of other brands, but for whatever reason, we kept going back to the DITA glasses, because there were multiple pairs that really made sense. There are so many great glasses brands now, there really are, but some of them are more simple and, you know, kind of invisible by nature — like that’s the intention of the look of the glass. And we wanted the intention to be a little bit more pronounced. I’m not trying to like, “Oh, this girl, yeah, she wore glasses.” I’m saying, “No, she’s wearing glasses.”
So do you know if she got to keep the glasses?
I think Ali did get to keep a lot of the glasses. We always have multiples because, you know, if something happens to a frame, we can’t only have one. So I’m pretty sure she did. I hope she did. We intended for her to keep some and so I feel she did.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
One thing I would like to add is I’m so thrilled and happy that people love the glasses so much, because it just kind of goes to show you what the perception is about what a leading lady wears — it’s just really open to interpretation. And it makes me so happy that everyone loves Ali and her glasses, because she did look so truly great in them.