The color red was key during Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey’s all-important, romantic proposal scene in Fifty Shades Darker. The film’s costume designer Shay Cunliffe and makeup department head Rosalina Da Silva tell The Knot that they wanted actress Dakota Johnson to look strong while Jamie Dornan’s character got down on one knee to propose.
For the romantic scene, costume designer Cunliffe (who’s worked on movies like Alex & Emma, Enough, The Family Stone and We’re the Millers) dressed Johnson in a form-fitting, red sheath dress by Narciso Rodriguez featuring spaghetti straps and a bustier.
“I love Narciso Rodriguez’s clothes,” she says. “I always knew that as [Ana] becomes more sophisticated and as she becomes part of the Grey family, [Narciso] was the kind of designer I wanted to turn to a lot. I think he does the most well-cut, sophisticated, but simple [looks]. And she’s such a simple, pure character. I wanted clothes that weren’t fussy.”
Makeup pro Da Silva, meanwhile, zeroed in the perfect red lip combination for Johnson’s evolving character. “That was an important scene there,” she notes to The Knot. “We needed her to look strong. Very strong. Because she had that scene with Christian Grey and she had another scene the same day with his ex-lover. So it was a very emotional day altogether.”
Da Silva and her team selected two M.A.C. products—M.A.C. Retro Matte Liquid Lipcolor in “Feel So Grand” and M.A.C. Lip Liner in “Kiss Me Quick”—to create a sexy-but-softly muted color on Johnson for the proposal scene. “It dries unbelievably,” Da Silva notes of the liquid product. “I love M.A.C. We decided we wanted a strong lip, so I called them and said, ‘Send me your reds.’ It stays on.”
The trick, however, was maintaining a natural beauty presentation with the bold pop of red lip color. “We didn’t want the makeup to set the stage,” she says. The team accentuated Johnson’s beautiful eyes, by using IT Cosmetics’ Superhero mascara with a gel eyeliner called “Black Trap” from M.A.C. “It just stays on. It doesn’t move,” notes Da Silva. “It’s good for all that line for brides. It’s absolutely fantastic.”
Finally, there was that lingering question about the engagement ring that Dornan used to propose to his on-screen love. “It was from props,” Cunliffe shares. “We had a great prop department. We worked together a lot.”
Fifty Shades Darker, the second film installment of EL James’ best-selling trilogy, is now out on Blu-ray and DVD.