How many of you are wearing an outfit and shoes and accessories, as you read this, that you bought entirely at the same time and has no history to it? Not many I'd bet. What we wear on a day to day basis, choose from our closet at night or in the morning, more than likely are pieces that we have collected, or been given, or buy seasonally so that the make up of what we wear head to toe is a combination of things that have meaning, sentimentality or just something we had to have that we keep for years. Just because this is a t.v. show does not mean that the individual pieces of wardrobe, the actors costume, doesn't have some sort of history to it for each of our characters.
Gabriel's shirts this season are all made to order from a custom shirt shop in Beverly Hills, not because Sgt. Gabriel could or couldn't afford custom made dress shirts, many cops do, but Gabriel would spend the money on nice shirts. But we throw in a tie from last week or last year. Fritz, has been wearing a lot of Brooks Brothers shirts and suits this season, but we mix them up with his suits and ties from seasons ago. The fact that I hand pick most of the pieces from stores or eBay shopping, or from what my shopper Tracey White brings back from her marathon all-over-town hunting and gathering expeditions, or even what Eric Van Wagoner pulls from stock and actors closets to present to me for my approval, all have a history to them.
Brenda's apron is a perfect example of history, memories of childhood and beyond. Last year after I'd put a vintage apron on Brenda and Willie Ray a friend of mine from high school Peggy Giovanini Keenan wrote me and said how that apron she had seen on The Closer reminded her of one her mom used to wear in the 1960's and that she now wears in her own kitchen..."would you like to borrow it" she asked. "Of course" I replied. So, the tabard style apron arrived and as charming as it was, I called Peggy and asked if I could customize it? "Sure", she agreed, “that will give it a designer touch and make it a great conversation piece for my family dinners." I had Edwina at A Dying Art, an incredible studio that dyes yardage and trims for major motion pictures as well as cable t.v. shows, and a huge fan of our show get to work. I picked out a color in the floral print of the apron that was the perfect shade of lilac. Edwina called and informed me that unfortunately the eyelet trim that I had chosen featured a bit of polyester in its content so she basically had to hand paint the trim!!! I'd say conversation piece! I loved Brenda's romantic little silk print sheath that she wore when she interrupted the funeral a couple seasons ago; and I adored her casual mess of curls in a crazed up-do that Stacey K. Black dreamed up, Brenda was just so darling on top of the sentimentality of Fritz bringing home Kitty's ashes.
History showed up again in Brenda's Day 2 change. I had found a vintage beige worsted wool late 1940's suit from Neusteters, on eBay. Y'all know that I grew up with Neusteters in Colorado and covet anything from that store I find on line. I had a soft skirt of blue and peachy pink floral print silk made to go with the jacket and had the suit coat lined in the same fabric. And finally the mystery of why Provenza has had nearly a brand new wardrobe this season was revealed...the girlfriend, Lauren, showed up looking spectacular and not at all tarty in a Rebecca Taylor Chanel-inspired suit of navy and white nubby wool with gros grain trim from Neiman Marcus. Her necklace of white enamel discs and rhinestones and her emerald cut c.z. earrings were both from Nordstrom. Knowing before the audience that Lauren was a menswear buyer at a high end department store, I've had fun gathering Provenza's ties, pocket squares and suits from all over, thinking, "what designer collections would a buyer choose items from for her new boyfriend?" and the names that came up were: Hermes, Brioni, Paul Smith, Etro, Gucci, need I say more? The "country gentleman" look that Provenza proclaimed "would be big, next year" was a great sonoran desert gold and sand plaid sport coat that we added the suede elbow patches to, and the faire aisle vest was a fabulous find on eBay, from Ralph Lauren and never worn; the tie and pocket square were Etro. How dashing was Provenza and how green with envy was Flynn?
The Hell A Party featured about 200 extras in various states of dress and undress all in red or black from denim to vinyl to leather. Hope you were able to see the devil horns on one of the bartenders and spot the red feathered angel wings on the flame blower. We had extra costumers on for the day to make sure everything went smoothly since we were shooting the party scene as a second unit group at another location away from the studio.
Brenda's Day 3 look was another 1950's silhouette by Irene, a brilliant teal blue hopsack wool short jacket and underneath she wore a Mode O'Day June Cleaver style dress in a violet floral print, with a miniature bow at the waist that you probably weren't able to see, but I knew it was there. Speaking of June Cleaver I saw her on the street recently looking just as great as she did when she played the Beave's mom.
What I think we all love about The Closer and it's costumes is that most things aren't bought straight off of the stores display, that each item is hand picked and chosen just like you all choose what you put on for your day at work. Some TV. shows just buy the entire look that the department store has put together for the consumer, it's easier that way...but I don't think I've ever taken the easy route. I like mixing it up, having a closet for each character to choose from or picking up a unique suit or sweater or tie a week, a month or even a year ago that I know someday we'll use in just the right scene or story line. Shop, collect, covet, enjoy, edit and by all means embrace the history of what you wear head to toe on a daily basis, because that individual style that you choose every day speaks volumes about who you are...and just maybe Brenda Leigh Johnson or Lt. Provenza, or I have influenced what that choice might be.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer/speaker and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc.