For today’s blog post, I wanted to focus about my favourite fashion in various TV series. Naturally, as a fashion student, when I’m watching an episode on Netflix or on TV, I focus a lot on their costumes and character styling is one of my creative inspirations. I mainly chose shows to write about that are a bit more current or was airing until a few years ago. I also featured snippets of the costume designer’s interviews about their own inspirations on dressing actors, characterisation and styling secrets.
Gossip Girl will always be one of my favourite tv shows. Half the fun of watching it is for the amazing fashion the Upper East Siders flaunt each episode. I remember watching it when it first premiered and was obsessed (ok, maybe still is) with Blair’s style. I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to her. Yep. Anyway, while the fashion and the story’s quality went down over the seasons, I’d still say the style of Gossip Girl and New York has influenced a lot. One of many reasons why I’m super excited for the upcoming FCP NY trip this January is because of this show.
Eric Daman is the Emmy Award winning costume designer for ‘Gossip Girl’ and is also known for his work assisting ‘Sex and the City’ and ‘The Carrie Diaries’. He’s also the author of ‘You Know You Want It: Style-Inspiration-Confidence’ published in December 2009.
‘In 2008, The New York Times reported the show has had a profound impact on retail, saying Gossip Girl is probably “the first [show] to have been conceived, in part, as a fashion marketing vehicle”.’
Eric Daman – ‘NYC is an amazing source of inspiration, from the melting pot of cultures, architecture, to the haute and bas couture. Each character feeds off the city, but inspiration is all around us — a magazine cover, a film noir poster, an ad on a bus; we just need to be more aware of our surroundings and inspiration will find us.
Sometimes the character is influenced by current trends — it just so happens these girls are trend setters, so trend is a part of their character — but their past has led them to trends that they sport. Blair’s severe, disapproving mother led her to a lifetime of headbands and proper attire. Serena’s wild child, free spirit comes from several pseudo fathers and no stable home life and is reflected in her plunging necklines and ultra minis.
I think the biggest surprise to costume designing for the show is that it has become such a phenomenon, and just out of nowhere. I remember at the beginning when season one was airing, people were just like, talking about it, designers would lend us stuff, it was hard to be able to get what we needed to make the show what it is on the budget we have. And now it’s like designers are calling up and giving us a whole showroom of Prada bags and Miu Miu bags. It’s like we have a Vogue closet, because we have things that are coming in off the runway!‘
“May well be the biggest influence in the youth culture market”
I actually haven’t seen any episode of SCREAM QUEENS yet but I have read a few mixed reviews and even though I’m not really a horror fan, the trailer caught my attention. The pastels, the pearls and the bitchiness. Hopefully I’ll get round to watching it soon!
Lou Eyrich is a fashion designer who also worked for ‘Glee’ and ‘American Horror Story’ and in 2012 she was awarded a Career Achievement Award in Television from the Costume Designers Guild.
Lou Eyrich – ‘The Kappa girls are all in pastels and, in theory, very expensive clothes — although we have a TV budget, so we had to get creative. They are really put together: perfectly coiffed, nails done, shoes matching the outfits and makeup done pristinely. That whole polished look, which is completely unrealistic on a college campus, and high heels at all times. Their robes are each embroidered with the name “Chanel,” and there are a lot of pearls, rhinestones and feather boa dresses.
These girls would watch what’s going on on Style.com. They’re up on what’s happening on the runways and then they emulate it. So I went on Style.com a lot and just really researched what’s happening in the fashion world right now — especially for the fall.
We would order Chanel, Gucci, Valentino, Fendi… all of the designers — whatever we could find at resale shops and online that we could afford for television. And we would mix those pieces with a belt from Topshop or a skirt from Zara. It was really hard because they were in pastels. Pretty much everywhere we would go, we would stake out where we could find a pink pastel coat and a yellow feathered skirt. It was really a treasure hunt.’
‘The color palette (macaroons where my inspiration) brings it all together.‘
While not historically accurate, I can’t help but dream about wearing these massive, heavy, full-length gowns every day. Granted, I only ever see the latest costumes on Pinterest and websites as I couldn’t get past the first few episodes.
Meredith Markwork-Pollack actually worked for ‘Gossip Girl’ too besides ‘Hart of Dixie’ and ‘Reign’.
Meredith Markwork-Pollack – ‘My inspirations for Reign come mostly from history and fashion. Since Mary was a real queen there’s an abundance of material for research. Not to mention the documentations on 16th century dress. I’ve been inspired by quite a few films as well that have depicted the time. La Reine Margot is my favorite, it’s a french film that follows Queen Margot, Catherine de Medici’s daughter. It’s dark and sexy and the costumes are stunning. I’m also loving the Byzantine and Baroque trends of the runway currently—Dolce & Gabbana, Naeem Khan, and Oscar de la Renta, specifically. And there’s always [Alexander] McQueen.
From the beginning the creators, the director, and the studio said they wanted to incorporate a contemporary feel in the costumes. The vision was there even before I signed on; I just helped execute it. But knowing the network and the show’s demographic I felt it made complete sense. I also wanted each look to have a nod to the proper period costume, whether it was achieved through a similar shape or detailed embroidery. The girls almost always wear a corset unless there’s just no need. They love how it helps with their posture.
I think it will be quite obvious to our viewers that we’re not out to replicate historical costumes. We’ve created our own distinct look and I think viewers will respond to it positively. I’m hoping it’s an inspiration for our female viewers to creatively add to their wardrobe. It’s such a do-it-yourself kind of look. We’re constantly taking vintage pieces and dying them, altering them, beading them—all to make them our own. That’s what it’s about. It’s not for everyone though. If you’re hoping for hip rolls and men in tights it’s not your show.‘
“I wanted them to look like a painting, and it really came down to palette, which was also an important key when kind of pitching what was going to be contemporary and what was not going to be contemporary.” – Meredith Markwork-Pollack
Revenge was another one of my guilty pleasures. Besides the lovely Hamptons setting, the styling is just perfect and I like the variety of designers that have appeared through clothing in this show.
The costume designer for REVENGE is the talented Jill Ohanneson, whose very long list of previous credits includes everything from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure to Six Feet Under to 2011’s The Event.
“I work really hard to make sure that it didn’t look like New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago. I really wanted it to be the Hamptons.”
“In this world, everyone is always in a disguise. Everyone’s clothes are transmitting what they want everyone else to feel or think about them.” -Jill Ohanneson
“On Emily, we use a lot more American designers and with Victoria we use a lot more European designers. I think that has to do with body type and the character. Emily is very clean, American, elegant girl-next-door, and then I have Victoria, who’s lush and sensual.
We tailor everything to make it work with the actors’ bodies. That’s how you make someone look powerful. If your clothes fit you perfectly, you feel more authoritative and you carry yourself differently.
When an actress is in red, it signifies a moment of impact. When the actors are dressed in red, the purpose is to stand out. Whether it is to convey Victoria as the Queen of the Hamptons or to amplify Emily’s walk down the pier to Daniel, red creates the drama needed for the scene.“ –Jill Ohanneson
PRETTY LITTLE LIARS
I adore PLL. It does get a bit ridiculous and over-the-top, but those are my favourites. In a fashion point of view, I like that the four girls are very different and every teenager/woman can mostly identify themselves or find inspiration in at least one liar. I like Spencer’s style the best, with Hanna’s coming second.
Mandi Line was the stylist and costume designer for Pretty Little Liars for over five years. She’s also a well known style ambassador for GetThis, guest columnist on Celebrity Style Guide and has a strong social media following.After watching the PLL Special (5 Years Forward), I discovered that there’s a new costume designer (and that Mandi Line is not part of the network anymore) just in time for the time jump.
Mandi Line – ‘I like to maintain obtainable fashion in the shows that I costume for ABC Family. I go to the department stores, of course, but I also shop at boutiques in Los Feliz and in and around Los Angeles. I like to support the local businesses!
We have the scripts, and originally we had the books, but they weren’t relevant as they were from 1993. So, usually I read the script, I meet the producers and they trust me 90%, and then sometimes they’ll grab me on a particular scene and say, “Hey, when Aria tells Ezra that she loves him, lose the big hat!”
Usually, for two whole days I hit the pavements with my team. We scour from Los Angeles to Santa Monica to New Orleans, bring everything back, see what’s still missing, do the fitting and we have five days to do that before the next episode comes along. We have 25 episodes per season, which are completely circular, so while we’re shooting one, we’re fitting for the next episode.“