Costume Designer Sharen Davis on Dressing Will Smith

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Costume Designer Sharen Davis on Dressing Will Smith

Costume designerSharen is having a great year, having worked alongside both Denzel Washington, who directed, and Sharen Davis. “A Journal for Jordan,”Now in theaters and with Will Smith, who stars “King Richard,”HBO Max.

“A Journal for Jordan,”Based on the heartbreaking story of a soldier who deployed to Iraq and kept a journal for his infant son. Davis said she worked hard to dress down “fashion icon”Star Michael B. Jordan. She decided that the character would have a small suitcase because he was serving in the military. “We want to see how he manages all these visits with five shirts and three pairs of pants,” Davis says.

The biggest costume arc in the film is for Chanté Adams, who plays Dana Canedy, their child’s mother and the New York Times editor who wrote the bestselling book about the journals and the couple’s relationship. This timeline, which spans 1998 to 2018, needed more than 50 modifications.

Davis explains how Dana’s journalist looks were “a little drab in the beginning”Yet, they are still vibrant, with browns and oranges as well as pinks. Her clothes become more softened, feminine, and revealing when she falls in love. This is a reflection of how happy and free Dana has become.


Costume designer Sharen Davis added softer colors into Dana Canedy’s (Chanté Adams) as she falls in love.
Sony Pictures Entertainment

Will Smith was also dressed by Davis “King Richard,”Based on the story Richard Williams (father of tennis superstars Venus & Serena).

Smith’s most iconic looks in the film are his tiny red shorts and long socks, a re-creation of tennis-circuit looks from the 1990s. “Those socks I found in downtown Los Angeles,” Davis says. “The shorts were custom-made to his body, and that first pair was longer. Every time we tried a longer pair of pants, it just took away from his character.”Smith and her realized that Williams was always coaching tennis despite being a security guard. “Will said, ‘Can these be shorter and tighter?’” Davis says. “And that’s how it started — as a joke.”

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Davis says Washington trusts her when he films with his collaborators. “His projects are encouraging to people — there’s a journey of transformation and victory.”Smith, she said. “everything I’ve ever done with him [including Gabriele Muccino’s ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ and ‘Seven Pounds’], I love. He is one of the kindest and generous human beings.”

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