episode 508 - July 27, 2009
It's Neither Black nor White. A retired detective murders a murderer by dragging him behind his truck and basically shredding his body keeping him alive and drugged up on morphine and then a couple days later takes him to Elysian Fields and shoots him. Greeson, the murderer killed two women years ago and Joey O decides to even the score. It's neither black nor white. The original crime was heinous the current crime was a crime of passion...it's neither black nor white...so it's gray. And that's how I approached the color scheme for this week’s episode. Most everybody wore a shade of gray in their costumes.
Brenda's dream scared the bejezus out of us while we watched it on the big screen and she looked cozy to begin with in her second season minty green kitty pajama bottoms and a casabella whisper of a long sleeved t-shirt. Then I began the wearin' o' the gray. Brenda showed up at Elysian Fields in one of her favorite architectural Irene suit jackets that features a buttoned self belt in the front giving Kyra even a smaller waist than is humanly possible. Since she knew she would be traipsing around in the brush she wore black Michael Kors full legged trousers and pulled her Wellies on at the site. The subtle shades of gray and charcoal and silver and slate and cloud and cement painted a foreboding picture as the squad investigated the crime. When Joey O or Det. Olin played by Tom Skerrit showed up I had the task of making a still robust man look like he only had 3-6 months to live and that was achieved by dressing him in over-sized clothes. His cement Alfani polo was an XL, the Claiborne sport coat in a textured mushroom wool was a couple sizes too big and hung on him so that it helped his posture look slack and he himself look wan. And Mr. Skerrit was happy to belt in a two sizes too large pair of pants. When our director saw him she proclaimed the look perfect.
The family members that were notified of the discovery of the bodies were the exception to the gray rule, but were still kept in neutrals so that not one color exploded on the screen to take away from the subtle color palette. There was a conscious effort to make Todd West look buff in his too tight polo shirts and he did play into the gray scheme as a bit of a red herring to make our loyal audience think -- is he or isn't he involved? I chose earrings that were never seen on one of the family members from a favorite jewelry designer in New Mexico, Vonnie Martin, she is a new designer using unique bead and stone combinations in a very fresh and non cliche New Mexico take on trendy jewelry. Another ode to the state of New Mexico was the young lady that played Jenna West, Aviva, she hails from New Mexico! Greeson's girlfriend, Kim, was absolutely spot on as the trashy scorned woman on the edge and was a hoot and a holler to dress. She was ready to go for it and be really out there in my choices for her costume that wound up being a teeny blue tank top with deeply scooped out arm holes that we filled up with an animal print bra. She provided her own low and I mean LOW rise jeans and her own panties and again our director praised the choice of panties over a thong, because as low as the jeans were when Kim was sitting, the fabric of the panties was almost a character in themselves! Peeking out above the waist of the jeans. And it was all a fluke that the actress brought bits of her own closet to the interrogation room! Ricardo Ramos cleans up really well and looked sharp in shades of gray even with his scruffy stubble at his chin.
When Greeson was cast and we pulled his costume from stock I turned all of the clothes over to expert ager/dyer Julia Gombert, she is a master artist that paints and shreds and cuts and rubs and ages with paint and dye and natural materials to give the movie magic illusion of clothes being dragged around the desert all night long! Julia has painted and distressed homeless clothes for me, so expertly that you think there would even be an odor associated with them and made a pair of converse high tops look so old and worn for the incredible actress Joan Plowright, on movie of the week, Bailey's Mistake, that I designed years ago, that Miss Plowright was afraid to wear them thinking they had been worn for years by some unwashed horrid person! So Julia is our go-to gal for all things old and worn and artistically aged.
Brenda's final change of the show brought out another favorite Irene suit jacket an homage to the incredible Adrian that Irene replaced at MGM in the 40's, the jacket featured pin striped pattern pieces that were mitered and stitched together to form an almost maze of magic, truly a piece of couture sold to the masses in the 1940's at Bullocks Wilshire I think. The skirt I chose was a soft focus print silk done in mushroom, gray, black and brown, with pleats only in the front of the skirt and a bit of a shirred back, unique and it moved beautifully in person.
So in our efforts to support the story and have the costumes be characters of their own...but never call too much attention to the fact that we have manipulated the scenes with a very distinct color palette...as I said, it's neither Black nor White...but in Elysian Fields it was all about Gray.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer/speaker and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc.