episode 414 – February 16, 2009
Visiting family members, like fish, begin to smell after 3 days, I heard that bit of sage wisdom from my grandma every time relatives would come and stay at our house. Granted my relatives were crazy, not as crazy as Claire; twenty years ago, one of my financially successful uncles, when I asked for his career advice, had the nerve to tell me to "quit this starving artist crap and get a real job". Hmmm, one mans "success" is another mans job as costume designer on the number #1 cable show of all time. Take that for advice unc!
If Claire had been one of my crazy relatives, I would have loved it, because she had great gusto for life, a fashion sense that was a little bit Santa Fe blended with a hefty dose of Haight Ashbury, peppered with a dash of Malibu and a cackle of a laugh that would break mothers finest crystal, but she had the excitement of never settling for mediocre, trying anything new or trendy even if she was just behind the curve and she was definitely her own person.
Amy Sedaris is all of that and more and was a hoot and a half to work with. Claire came to life as Amy pulled on the tie dye wrap and drape jacket and crocheted hippie maxi length dress, multi colored striped socks from Target, all of the layers of jewelry including a Navajo squash blossom, from my collection, a carved teak Buddha head, a star of David, an antique crucifix, a vintage peace symbol, a string of evil eyes, and dozens of leather bracelets. And let's not forget the earrings; shoulder dusting dream catchers, beaded peacock feathers and dangling sea shells. On her fingers she featured two old pawn Zuni designed turquoise rings and a still working mood ring, all from the 1970's borrowed from my Mom who actually was much like Claire, always experimenting with her fashion persona.
I could chart my Mother's fashion identities through the decades, Pucci tops and pedal pushers in the 60's, mohair sweaters and suede pants in the '70's, earth mother ala Claire in the '80's, wedge dresses in the '90's and cashmere sweaters, skinny knit pants and a penchant for Roger Vivier shoes in the 2000's! That would sum up Claire Howard! 90% of Claire's eclectic pieces of tie dye and accessories came from a wonderful little hole in the wall shop in Manhattan Beach, CA, called Udderly Perfect at 1203 Highland Ave. phone 310 546-5322. I spent an entire afternoon there looking at every unique piece of jewelry and item of clothing and when my shopping spree was totaled up a percentage of the sale was donated to a charity of the owners choosing! How Cool Is That!!!
Claire was the perfect accomplice for Brenda, because as Claire said in the final scene, "we're so much alike" and did you notice they both wore their favorite sweater? Brenda's old fave Ralph Lauren and soon to be sister in law wore a soft and dreamy Donna Karan Pure, cocoon style shrug. If Brenda had been free enough to experiment with alternative lifestyles and careers, well, I might be putting her in tie dye and Birkenstocks! NOT.
Brenda, this episode, was once again uncharacteristic in outfits where the color had been pulled out. She wore a beautifully cut and fit Cocoa Brown Irene suit at work and at the dinner table and then when she brought "sister, sister, sister" to-work-day she was understated in an ink blue short sleeve cashmere twin set and a camel skirt from the suit she wore in last seasons Christmas episode.
I've had fun adding coats to the cast since it's supposed to be winter in L.A. even though we always seem to be shooting during a heat wave; Brenda's rain coat was a fish out of water perfect choice, olive green with turquoise polka dots, an eBay find from my beloved now defunct department store of my youth, Neusteters. But when Brenda got fired up and figured it all out, she went to her closet and pulled out something powerful in color, a burnt red cropped cashmere sweater from England's premiere cashmere source, Pure Collection, throwing it over a little floral print jersey dress from Nine West bought and worn three seasons ago. The men as usual looked practically perfect in every way and Flynn has never looked more handsome.
The sexy wife died in a great top that my shopper Tracey White found at Saks in Beverly Hills, it was black knit with an elaborate gold and bejeweled asp at the bosom, something just perfect to die in next to your Bentley and the boots that we never saw were a pair of Dior knock offs from Style Express in Culver City, CA that were fabulous S&M inspired with 5 inch heels and buckles and strips of leather from ankle to calf, all for $29.00 as opposed to the high hundreds.
Funny, Claire served tofurkey not fish, she's smart enough to know what my grandma professed was true...houseguests do get on our nerves and often over stay their welcome, in the case of The Closer, Claire luckily didn't start to smell...perhaps it was all the patchouli she had me buy for her to wear along with all the tie dye and trim!
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