Fittingly for a show that's been a much-needed joyful, soothing balm for these unprecedented times, interviews with the creative talents behind the costumes, hair and makeup on both seasons of "Ted Lasso" involved non-stop laughter and pure happiness.
Hair and makeup designer Nicky Austin confirmed via Zoom that the cast is very much the close-knit team we see on screen. Real-life besties Juno Temple and Hannah Waddingham would even brainstorm ideas in their glam chairs, she says — just like I'd imagine their characters, influencer-turned-executive Keeley Jones and AFC Richmond owner and former team saboteur-turned-guardian Rebecca Wilton, would before a double date.
Costume designer Jacky Levy enjoyed outfitting all the beloved characters into their new arcs this season, while taking creative license on an ever-expanding amount of AFC Richmond merch for the loyal fans — T-shirts, scarves, "silly hats and baby stuff" of varying styles and levels of aging. "If you look at a football crowd, they're quite a mixture of ages and people keep their shirts that they've had for 20 years and they just put it on for every match," she says.
Below, the two creatives discuss all the hilarious sports and pop culture inspirations for Keeley, showboating striker Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster) and the rest of the team, plus Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein)'s polished pundit look and Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernández)'s luxuriant mane.
Power BFFs Keeley and Rebecca
Since we first met (and possibly underestimated) Keeley, she's grown from former Page Three model and upstart WAG to head of Richmond's marketing efforts, thanks to her innate branding savvy. "She's very influenced by her new friend Rebecca. She think [Rebecca's] just the nuts and she wants to be a businesswoman now," says Austin.
For Keeley's new career path, Levy translated her "outrageous" and playfully eclectic style into her version of office-wear: "We've given her some power jackets or power dresses, but with a twist. She probably wouldn't wear a business suit."
Illustrating Keeley's consistently "brave" fashion choices, Levy relied on more up-and-coming designers, like colorful House of Sunny, London- and Ibiza-based Sylvia Astore for her sparkly feather-trimmed trousers and red flared blazer dress with the heart buttons and Nicholas for her blue faux fur coat. Levy also shopped vintage for most of Keeley's jewelry and a fabulous Fendi logoed pinafore dress coming up in episode six.
At one point, Roy catches Keeley "having a wank" to a replay of his vulnerably hot and teary retirement speech; amongst the dresses haphazardly strewn about her room is a ruffled, color-blocked and animal print mini-dress (above), by De La Vali — same as one that actual model Lais Ribiero once wore to a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue event in Miami. (Her gingham flounce-y dress is also by the Spanish label.) Interestingly, the costume designer insists that Keeley's style isn't based on any specific icons or celebrities: "She just really loves clothes, obviously," says Levy.
Keeley's signature extensions do reflect an ever-growing range of celebrity inspirations, though, including Temple herself. "She loves extensions. She wears them every day in her in her normal life," says Austin. "So it was never an option not to use extensions."
Austin looked to a mid-aughts photo of former Girls Aloud singer Cheryl — then married to footballer Ashley Cole — in the stands, alongside an extensions- and highlights-era Victoria Beckham. (A flat cap moment at a match harkens back to vintage Cheryl, too, who later dated One Direction's Liam Payne.) Other celebrity inspirations include Ariana Grande for Keeley's signature high-pony and a circa-2000 Christina Aguilera for the stiff crimped layers she dons in an old tourism commercial where she touts, "Liverpool has much to offer when it comes to nightlife!"
"It's about trying to make her slightly more sophisticated, but still not lose what she is," says Austin. "Because Keeley is, in essence, what you see is what you get."
Austin sprinkled Easter Eggs into Keeley's delightful hair accessories, too, including a clip representing "the happiest animal in the world" in episode three. "It was appropriate to that story," says Austin, of the heartfelt post-game locker room moment when the team rallies together for Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh). "In that episode, she was showing her support to Sam. Things like that, because Keeley's kind."
Countering Keeley's playful, whimsical style and monster extensions, "boss ass bitch" Rebecca (as her goddaughter proudly says) continues her costume arc, originally based on House of Lords member and television personality Karren Brady — "simply because Karren Brady is one of the only female football managers," says Levy. "She's a woman in a man's world."
Rebecca's posh power wardrobe is stacked with body-con Victoria Beckham (meta!) and Roland Mouret dresses and a Prince of Wales-checked Alexander McQueen corset-topped style, plus Valentino trousers, which are all custom-tailored to Waddingham's statuesque physique.
With encouragement from Keeley, Rebecca ventures onto the dating field (sorry), also with the help of dating app Bantr, which actually sounds like a viable business plan. "We try and show more of a feminine side," says Levy. Austin prefers a less-is-more approach, with minimal makeup and soft layers swept off her face to highlight Waddingham's expressive features.
"Rebecca's getting out there a bit," says Austin. "She's got her bestie telling her to 'go for it.' So she's a little bit more made up and a little bit fussier."
The Return of Jamie Tartt
On the surface, peacocking Jamie Tartt is the show's quintessential "wanky" footballer — but endearingly so, as he longs for validation from his father figures and becomes a real team player.
"He's obviously desperate for attention, recognition and acceptance, so every time he has a major life change, we reflect it in his hair," says Austin.
For his move to Manchester City last season, Jamie sported a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired, spiked-up middle peak. (Actor Phil Dunster is happily game — I'm so sorry — for it all.) This season, he channels Jack Grealish, "England's Golden Boy" and newly announced Man City midfielder, with his side-shaved, slicked-back curtain cut and skinny headband game (which I think David Beckham did first, but fine).
"I phoned Phil a couple months before season two and I was like, 'I've got this wacky idea for your hair. Please don't cut it,'" says Austin, about the Grealish coif. "Then he went, 'Well, I've got an idea, too,' and we were literally thinking of the same thing."
Dunster also suggested Jamie's eyebrow slit, to really lean into his bro-y appearance on (and rejection from) the "Love Island"-esque "Lust Conquers All." "He wanted to make Jamie look a little bit more of a Tartt than what Jamie Tartt actually is," she says.
The authentically tacky reality show setup also offered optimal opportunity to show off Jamie's tattoos. "I just had a bunch of ideas," Austin, who has the presumably very fun job of concocting designs that Jamie would think are cool, says. "Obviously, I wanted some kind of woman's face in there." A special FX house printed removable sleeves, also including a football and a spider, to apply onto Dunster's arm. She left a space for a basic bro design referenced in last season's script: "He now has that [space] filled in with the snake. It's just a design that I thought would be kind of wanky, again. But he's such a Tartt that he wears sleeves when he's on the pitch. Because Jamie Tartt doesn't want to be cold."
Levy also references Grealish through Jamie's "kit" (or uniform, as we'd say over here). He wears his athletic socks just up to the calves, as the Aston Villa captain famously does, while other players pull up to the knee. For his off-duty puffy vests, statement snapbacks, loud zip-ups and over-embellished jeans, Levy looks to another British pop culture figure: rapper Aitch. "Like Jamie Tartt, he always likes his accessories, like he's always got a little man bag and his caps and his 'icon' belt and stuff like that," she says.
Sam and the AFC Richmond Team
Last season's newbie from Nigeria, Sam, also undergoes a style evolution as he excels as the heart of the team, confidently takes a stand for his beliefs and country and finds romance.
Exploring his new environment in season one, Sam sampled various fashion influences from his teammates, like Richmond captain Isaac McAdoo (Kola Bokinni)'s cool London streetwear vibe or sweet Colin (Billy Harris)'s "polo shirts and skinny jeans," inspired by Irish UFC champion Conor McGregor. "Sam was just the lad who just wore tracksuits, through into season two. Then something quite big happens," Levy says. "He grows up a bit. So we've made made his clothes since more mature and more stylish."
Preparing for said milestone in episode seven, Sam receives a grooming session from a teammate who's also a "secret master barber." Of course, in real life, Jimoh wasn't so keen about having an amateur stylist actually cut his hair — plus, scenes are filmed out of order. "That was a bit of a continuity nightmare," says Levy, who "improvised" with adding authentic-looking fake hair to mimic a real grooming session. Strategic close-up camera work, helped, too: "It was a little bit of trickery there, but what a great idea."
Dani Rojas won't ever have to worry about drastic changes to his lush layers. "I would never touch his hair," says Austin, recalling an initial conversation with producer Tina Pawlik, once Fernández was cast. "I said, 'I've got a question for you,' and she went, 'It better not be about cutting Cristo's hair because that's not happening.'"
For character's sake, Austin made over newcomer Jan Maas (David Elsendoorn) — who's "not being rude, he's just Dutch," as Sam explains. "I've been a bit mean," she says. "I've given him a bit of an outdated haircut for season two, just for the pure comedy. He's Dutch and there's a whole thing about how he's inappropriate and he's a fish out of water. So, he's got an old school boyband haircut. But he's gonna get a bit cooler with season three."
'He's Here. He's there. He's every-f*cking-where. Roy Kent!'
Freshly-retired Roy begins the season unmoored, coaching Phoebe (Elodie Blomfield)'s soccer team (above), racking up the dollars (I mean, pounds) on his niece's running f-bomb-tally and throwing back rosés with the yoga moms. He's kind of let his grooming situation go, too.
"My one big note from Jason at the start of season two was that we wanted Roy to appear like he wasn't in the best place," says Austin. Leading up to filming, Sudeikis also asked Goldstein to grow out his hair and beard to "look a little bit unkempt," she says. (Side note: For the Venn-diagram overlap of Roy stans and movie nerds, I highly recommend writer-producer Goldstein's podcast "Films to Be Buried With," featuring guests like Nick Mohammed, who plays Nate, Waddingham, Jimoh and new season two scribe Ashley Nicole Black.)
After relenting to Keeley's suggestion to take a sports pundit job for Sky News, Roy undergoes an on-screen grooming glow-up, taking him from gruff to sleek — albeit reluctantly.
Levy also upped Roy's all-black, beat-up leather jacket, T-shirt, jeans and boots uniform. "Roy, he doesn't want to think about clothes. He's not vain and he's not that interested," says Levy. "So for him, just the ease of choosing a black suit and a black shirt, it makes life easy. Also, he's got this tough guy image that he just didn't want to ruin."
His ultra-tailored monochrome Paul Smith suit makes him look even more severe, as he sits just a tad too far off from the other talking heads — and upsets censors with his salty language and honest takes.
"From that point on, as well, it was kind of like, 'Have we gone too far?'" says Austin. "'Does he look too sexy now?' 'Has he lost a bit of the Roy Kent edge?' No. He's just a gorgeous man and we just need to embrace that."