Following the Season 4 finale, the highly anticipated nuptials of Brenda and Fritz, I knew exactly what Brenda Leigh Johnson-Howard would be wearing in the opening episode of Season 5...Pink!!! Florals!!! Flirty Skirts!!! Gone would be the severe suit silhouettes. Banished would be the tailored full trousers. I mean, Brenda's a married lady, in my mind, she's still got the afterglow of the wedding gown and that translates to the old Brenda we have gotten to know and love, flirty skirts in pastel floral prints, the softest baby blues and pinks of English cashmere and of course her Irene jackets to still prove to the perps who is in charge.
Now, what do you think of that pink trench coat? Simply divine! I saw it earlier this year in a Neiman Marcus catalog, Ralph Lauren's new color story for spring. Pink. Neiman's only had one and we needed another so stopped by the new Ralph Lauren boutique on oh-so-trendy Robertson Blvd. I always know exactly what I want to dress Brenda in as soon as I get the script, and the pink coat was going to play an important part of a "costume story arc". We always have a Wardrobe Show and Tell a couple days before we start shooting the episode just so the producers and director can get an idea of where I'm going with colors and costumes for the guest stars, plus it was a reason to break out a bottle of Veuve Clicquot Champagne to celebrate the 5th season, tit for tat! But I didn't think that I would have to do a hard sell and a metaphoric tap dance to sell James Duff on the Pink Coat!!! James was concerned that it was too pink and after pleading my case he still wasn't sold, until I pulled out Brenda's old fuscia pink suede coat and he said, "now that's pink!". I was thrilled that I was able to put the Ralph Lauren pink trench coat onto Brenda's shoulders, and without giving away any secrets, you'll be seeing that coat a few more times...the first time a piece of wardrobe has had it's own story arc, even if it's only in my mind! Under the pink coat Brenda wore a vintage Mode O'Day berry print cotton dress and I pulled from her endless closet, a baby pink Pure cashmere sweater, a short version of their traditional cardigan.
The uniform that Mr. Ravera wore while being interviewed by Brenda and Sgt. Gabriel was brand new when we bought it, but he worked as a auto body painter so I took it to my mechanic and had his painter wear the shirt and pants and paint cars for a few days, but darn that polyester and the new auto paints that are now water based due to OSHA, so I had to send my shopper, Tracey, out to get some spray paint from Auto Zone and just like that, lickity split, I dripped and dabbed and sprayed the uniform to make it a bit more real or is it reel?
Since our girl is still so in love with love I figured that her choices of clothes and colors would be a bit heightened, so for Brenda's second change I put together a sand cardigan and underneath, instead of doing a matchy-matchy sand camisole I placed a bright blue cami, both the sand and the blue picked up the colors of the pinwheel print in Brenda's flirty skirt. Oh how I love to see Kyra walk as Brenda in those flirty chiffon skirts.
For Dina, the pregnant girlfriend of Tavio I shopped her head to toe at Style Express in Culver City, the knit tops were too tight and way too low cut and the mini skirts and leggings that just made her behind bars boyfriend want to stage a prison break were perfectly wrong for Dina, but those big hoop earrings were again divine, simply divine! The only "oh oh" was the pregnancy pad, we didn't have time to make our own and had to rent a 6 months pad from one of the Costume Rental Houses, after seeing it on camera Dina's poor little baby bump looked a bit horizontal rather than vertically rounded, but with the extra bust padding we gave her, who was looking at the bump?
Brenda's day 3 change was one of my favorites of this episode. I pulled the Semi Sweet Chocolate vintage Irene jacket from last season, it sports a 3/4 length sleeve and fit Kyra like a glove and then since floral print skirts aren't really in fashion this season I found a divine brown and gold and red rose print silk fabric at International Silks and Woolens and we made the skirt to go with the jacket. In person it was stunning, too bad that we don't get a fashion cam to really show off the prints and textures and colors and shoes of the costumes.
So, that's the plan for Season 5...feminine, flirty, floral, fresh, fashionable, frothy, fleecy, fetching and divine, simply divine.
On a personal note this Fashion File is dedicated to my muse, my inspiration, my mom, Evelyn LaVoi, who died on May 13. She was my biggest fan, had the most incredible sense of style, and her elegance and class influenced my creation of what Brenda has worn these past 4 seasons on The Closer. Although my mother never wore vintage, the looks that I remember her wearing in photos from the '40's and '50's and what I recall seeing her wear as a child in the '60's truly made a lasting imprint on my design mind. Just before she became too weak to shop in the Neiman Marcus shoe salon she bought her last pair of shoes, a pair of Roger Vivier black silk pumps with huge rhinestone buckles. Audrey Hepburn wore Vivier's, Jackie Kennedy wore Vivier's, Queen Elizabeth wears Vivier's and so did my mom. Elegant. Classy. Stylish. That was my mom.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer/speaker and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc.