One of the many great new characters in Cobra Kai is Amanda LaRusso (Courtney Henggeler). Daniel (Ralph Macchio) had a different love interest in each of his three Karate Kid movies. Those teenage romances didn’t last. Amanda was the one with whom he started a family. She’s also the best dressed on Cobra Kai, and there’s a good reason for that.
Cobra Kai costume designer Frank Helmer spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet by phone about his work on the Netflix series. He explained why he’s able to dress Henggeler so stylishly when some of the other characters are more limited.
Amanda actor Courtney Henggeler makes ‘Cobra Kai’ wardrobe fittings fun
Amanda works at LaRusso Auto Group with her husband. She dresses sharp for business. At home you may sometimes see her in workout clothes. She’s even glammed up for date nights or parties she attends with Daniel. Helmer said Henggeler makes fittings fun.
“She’s the one I have the most fun in my fittings with I think,” Helmer said. “I have a lot of fun with all of them but we laugh a lot in our fittings because she is awesome. I have a lot of fun kids and skatery kids and girls that are feminine but are also fighters and having to be practical for all the Karate movements and the stunt action. But, I get to put her in dresses. I get to put her in body-conscious things that make her feel really great. That’s a lot of fun.”
Why Courtney Henggeler gets the best clothes on ‘Cobra Kai’
Amanda is not part of Miyagi-Do Karate. She’s not trained in Karate so Henggeler doesn’t have to fight. For the characters who perform Karate, Helmer has to design wardrobe they can fight in. Amanda only has to look good.
“I’m going to put [her] in the most body-conscious, beautiful flattering dress I can,” Helmer said. “I know I don’t have to put it on a double and I know I don’t have to get 17 of them so I can spend a little bit more money on her too.”
The difference between Amanda and other character costumes
When a Cobra Kai character is in a fight, it’s not as simple as just finding an outfit that allows them to fight. Helmer has to find several copies of the outfit to fit stunt double, and backup for damaged wardrobe. Helmer thrives on the creativity of making those outfits look natural, but they don’t lend themselves to the glamour of Amanda’s costumes.
There definitely have been times where we’ve been caught short where we will have two of things but we might need to have three or we might need to have four. There might be a water moment where they’re going to go in the water so we need to be prepared for two or three for the main character, two or three for the stunt player and then a couple for extras. So if I have to have six of something, I am sometimes finding myself buying a whole bunch of different garments to cut them down together, to Frankenstein them into one that looks exactly like the original one as my emergency backup.
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