episode 407 - August 25, 2008
Red--the color of blood. Red--an accent color used on Brenda Leigh Johnson in every costume change for this weeks tear jerking episode, Sudden Death. As a costume designer, I've always had a problem with blood, movie blood. It's never the right color, either too red or too pink, but our Closer Prop Department has the best blood and in the opening scenes of Monday's show, Julio Snachez's brother Oscar and his gal pal Elena were covered in the red stuff, poured out of a bottle that resembled a grocery store syrup bottle! I love this blood!!! And in Sudden Death, Brenda had accents of blood red in every scene, did you notice?
When Brenda shows up at the tragic wake at the hospital she and Fritz had been shopping at a Sunday Farmers Market, so Brenda wore a vintage Cobalt Blue cotton shirt waist dress from Neusteters in Denver, Neusteters was my favorite department store as a child and it truly was the Neiman Marcus of the Rocky Mountains, found on e-bay and I topped it with a cropped ligther blue cashmere cardi from The Pure Collection and at her waist was a whisp of a red belt...red!
The squad was in day-off clothes, Gabriel in a Hugo Boss polo shirt from Macy's last season. Tao and his wife in coordinated DKNY from Bloomingdales and Provenza in an "old man's polo" striped and odd colored from JC Penney.
Kevin Bacon directed this episode and it's wonderful to have a director that cares about the details. He directs like a features director, probably because he's worked with some of the best in the business. Did you check out the drops of blood on Elena's white Keds? Kevin requested that subtle touch and then featured it with a shot of Elena's nervous toe tapping. Elena wore a gold satin boob tube from this great little chain of stores here in L.A. called Style Express, great current fashion that is affordable and doesn't last past a few washings, but for of-the-minute trends it can't be beat for price and style.
We dressed the entire squad in shades of black for the funeral. Brenda chose a 1950's Irene raw silk black dress with a white linen peter pan collar. There were two strips of fabric edged in...red stitching that crossed over the bodice of the dress and fastened with fabric covered buttons. There are very few Irene dresses, but when I saw this listed on e-bay, I had to have it. The way Kyra works a skirt whether it is tight and wiggly or soft and flowing is a symphony of movement! I topped the Irene dress with a black jacket from Brenda's closet to give the look a bit of reverence.
Ray Cruz who plays Sanchez really gave a tour de force performance and the motorcycle used in a couple of scenes was his own vintage Moto Guzzi bike that he has personally restored and it's gorgeous. I shopped for Sanchez's perfect biker chic at a store called Glory, it's a really cool shop that carries incredible jeans, their brand, and incredible vintage and new motorcycle jackets. Ask for Mike. They are located at 4659 Hollywood Blvd in L.A. 90027. Phone is 323 644 5679. www.GlorySales.com I picked a 1960's English Cafe Jacket for Sanchez and both washes of jeans, a dark and faded wash from the Glory line.
It is really a fine art to get L.A. street fashion correct and often times wardrobe departments fail miserably, because it can be made to look like a cliche. But I shop at the "OG" store in Southgate --Greenspans Department Store. Their phone number is 323-566-2822 and they are at 3422 Tweedy Blvd in Southgate, CA. Evan is the original owner and the store, which has been around since the 1950's, is a treasure trove of gang clothing, all the Dickies and Pro Clubs you could ever imagine and when you shop there you rub elbows and compare tats with real life street guys! It's pretty cool and I love to go there and get the most current stuff on the street for all of the various gang guys in the Southland! The character of Puppet was actually a guy I saw walking on the streets of Hollywood and I duplicated his exact articles of clothing. He looked so great, different than the usual white T's and khakis. The black tank and white nylon shorts and black socks and black and white shoes just worked so perfectly with Brenda being in black and white, Kind of the yin and yang of good and evil.
For Brenda's final costume change, I figured her character is frustrated and upset because of the events of the days and she haphazardly pulled her outfit together. I didn't actually close my eyes and pull from her closet but almost. Her normally perfectly matched twin sets were replaced with a pomegranate red cardi and cranberry red cami, both just "off" enough in color to look wrong. Her skirt was a busy, frenetic print in reds, blues and blacks, purchased a couple years ago and never worn. I kinda went back to Brenda's fashion roots and she looked a little like the fish out of water that we came to know and love in seasons one and two.
The final scene where Sanchez dissolves into tears in Provenza's arms was so hard to watch. I get to watch dailies and cried at almost every scene from the opening shooting, to Sanchez trying to be so strong in the hospital to the finale where Brenda's eyes fill with tears as she sees her friend in pain.
Wow, as I re-read this it's just emotionally draining and one of the best episodes we've done, not only for content and directing and performances but for my work and my costumers work. It's all one big collaboration! So, from our Closer Closet to yours...until next week, I'm headed to the dry cleaners and the laundry to get rid of all the...blood! Bloody good show, I'd say!
The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer/speaker and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc.