episode 408 - September 1, 2008
Parents. History. The acorn doesn't fall far from the tree. I love when Willie Ray and Clay come to visit because it gives me a chance to really explore with a passion just where Brenda Leigh got her quirky style...two words Willie Ray! When I break down a script and start sketching, sometimes the design dictates the direction I take an episode or a color story develops by itself thanks to the mood of the writing in the script or in this case a Lilly Pulitzer orange and yellow caftan from the 1970's, never worn, found on ebay for an outrageous "Buy It Now" price, just screamed Willie Ray and I HAD to have it. Thus an entire color scheme fell into my lap. What else would Brenda's mama wear to fix a breakfast buffet but Lilly Pulitzer and pearls! When the smell of bacon woke Brenda and Fritzie from their sleep, Brenda came to the table in her vintage red rayon kitty p.j.s that you've seen before, from The Way We Wore. Her bed head hair style was genius from our talented Hair Stylist Miss Stacey K. Black. Whenever I get Brenda's "line" set for the episode I always share my design choices with Hair and Make-up so that our departments are in sync. For Split Ends, Stacey designed Brenda's hair into a off-to-the-side mess. And with each of her other changes the hairstyles complemented my work.
With the parents in the house, I felt Brenda was subliminally feminine and wanting to please her mama and daddy, so she pulled a dress out of her closet; an old fashioned dress that mama and daddy would approve of. This pumpkin and rust and gold print shirtwaist dress was found at The Way We Wore and I topped it with a Pure Collection Cantaloupe cardigan, that color unavailable in the spring catalogue and woven just for The Closer to match this dress. Stacey pulled Brenda's hair back into a "little girl" ponytail with the messy crown, perfect for that child in all of us to revert back to! Willie Ray got to wear a Drapers and Damons Red White and Blue ensemble perfect for a studio tour. A vest, striped sailor top and pants with coordinating beads and bedazzled flag earrings. Did you notice Clay's Flag and Eagle sweatshirt at the breakfast table? Perhaps it's a little ode to this being an election year. Most of Clay's wardrobe comes from the mail order house of Blair. Wonderful mid America clothing and affordable too. Wash and Wear is a good thing when you're traveling in an R.V. That evening at the apartment Willie Ray has changed into a retro Jetson's print satin blouse, another Drapers and Damons, at the dinner table. This print is where you can see her fashion influence on her daughter. A print for a print! Oh girls, face it, look in your closets, do you have a piece or two that harkens back to the little girl in you or something that you never thought you'd be caught dead in that you mama might have worn and now you embrace with great affection?
The next day, keeping with the earlier color story I pulled out a warm caramel Irene suit jacket with a kiss of crimson at the neckline and paired it with her fabulous camel cashmere trousers. I wanted Brenda to be powerful not just to close the case but to later stand up to her daddy. When I shared my motives with Stacey K. Black she pulled Brenda's hair back into a casual bun, I'm sure Stacey had another term for the hairstyle, but that's what I'm calling it tonight. Kyra's portrayal and interpretation of Brenda just constantly amazes me. Her reactions and eye rolls and frustrations with the wedding bullets just are so perfect. It truly is a treat to watch her bring Brenda to life.
The guest cast this week was fun to create. I got thumbs down from the hair department saying that "no one would wear those clothes" in a real make-up and hair trailer, but I beg to differ. I based both characters on a couple of hair and make-up girls...er ladies (thanks Lt. Flynn), that I know. The one character that had all her best assets out on display is a pretty true image of some "ladies" in the industry, if they're pretty, they dress up, this isn't a time card punching office job, they are creative and can dress with flair, nothing they wore interfered with their abilities to do their job...god forbid the "girls" fell out of that zebra print halter as she was doing an actors make up! And I thought the little bedazzled chapeau was darling. The Lady that replaced the dead hair stylist was a bit more conservative in a t-shirt and oh-so-of-the-moment vest (Robert Rodriguez) and jeans. All of the items were culled from Nordstom at the Grove in various departments from Brass Rail to Savvy to Childrens!!! Callie's little Carmeuse robe that hid her bruises was from Victoria's Secret. Wasn't that a surprising scene! Powerful.
Parents. History. As I said on the T.V. Guide Networks Fashion Team, my Dad owned a men's clothing store when I was growing up and my Mom would drive two hours to "the city" to get her hair done and shop at the Neiman Marcus of the Rockies--Neusteters Department Store and look at me, designing costumes as a career...so that old Judith Leiber bedazzled acorn didn't fall too far from that fashion tree. Thanks Mom and Dad you were and are my creative inspiration.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer/speaker and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc.