Photo Credit: Justina Mintz / Universal Pictures

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

“Jem and the Holograms”

October 23, 2015

Valli Herman

Now that virtually every comic book superhero has his own Hollywood movie franchise, filmmakers are turning to other successful cartoons, this time with a female audience in mind.

The 1980s animated musical cartoon, “Jem and the Holograms,” has been remade into a live-action feature, set in the modern day. Directed by Jon M. Chu, the film stars Aubrey Peeples as Jerrica / Jem, Stefanie Scott as Kimber and Aurora Perrrineau as Shana. Molly Ringwald, that icon of ‘80s teen movies, is back, too, this time as Jem’s Aunt Bailey.

Costume Designer Soyon An translated the two-dimensional characters with their awesome ‘80s big hair, asymmetrical hems and vivid colors into a movie stylistically believable to today’s teen audience.

The original cartoon is about the double life Jerrica Benton lives as the lead singer of the rock group Jem and the Holograms. A computer controls the holograms that allow Jem, with the touch of her starry earrings, to materialize her alter ego. It is a decidedly pink cartoon–pink hair, pink clothes, pink piano, pink logo.

“If you look at the cartoon, she’s in pink wrap dress and pink jacket,” An said. “Taking that silhouette, I gave Jem a modern day version. If you are a rock star doing a rock concert at a legendary hall, you are wearing a pink leather jacket.”

One of Jem’s 2015 looks features a distressed, black T-shirt dress pierced with safety pins, thigh boots and a pink jacket detailed with corset lacing, a tunic-length asymmetrical hem and loads of sparkle. The band favors black leather, denim, while Jem also gets her signature pink face makeup and long, fringed belt.

However, the jacket originally was created in black for the movie.

‘I had sketched out the jacket to be pink. There were long conversations with the producer and the director and other people involved about the jacket,” she said.
An was asked a simple question: ‘If you want it pink, what is your solution?”

No worries!

“Two days before we shot the scene, we airbrushed the jacket, but mind you, the studs and crystals were already put in, so all those studs and crystals had to be individually covered,” she said.

An contacted master dyer Edwina Pelikka, who owns A Dyeing Art, the custom textile art studio in Los Angeles. “So Edwina airbrushed that jacket for me with a 48-hour turnaround, covering each stud individually,” An said. ‘She was able to deliver and we ended up the iconic Jem and the Holograms jacket.”

“Jem and the Holograms” is now in theaters.


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