episode 510 - August 10, 2009
A light in the piazza or in the case of this episode of The Closer a light in the forecourt at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. I mention the Broadway show, ďA Light In The Piazza", because the red and white vintage silk shantung dress that Brenda wears reminded me of Italy. Imagine Sophia Loren wearing the dress, whizzing by the countryside on a fast, little Vespa; instead we have Brenda, leading a tourist tour for her niece Charlie who could have cared less. The mini meandering window pane checked dress, I found 3 years ago at The Way We Wore, hoping to have just the right story, find just the right moment to use this fabulous fashion--and as they say good things come to those who wait...this episode was the perfect one. I loved the way that the print converged into a pinwheel design on the bodice and the full circle skirt was sublime blowing in the wind at the Dobson's trailer park, make that mobile estates. The little cap sleeves and wide picture neckline framed Brenda/Kyra's face perfectly and the little red patent leather open toe flats were so Leslie Caron...the whole silhouette was a magnificent resurrection of a more simple yet dignified era...one that Brenda flits through flawlessly. Add her signature white straw hat and, well, summer in the city! I'm sure that Brenda bought the dress while she and Fritz were on their honeymoon in--Italy--at least that's my fantasy back story!
We shot the scene on Hollywood Blvd. in front of the famed theater the day before Michael Jackson's funeral, and there were still a multitude of fans paying their respects to the King of Pop and an unexpected perk was seeing the Queen of Cable smack dab in front of them! Charlie looked like an angry 16 year old in a white cotton t-shirt with a whisper of chiffon added at the hem of the sleeve, over the over sized tee I threw a washed leather singlet vest and a pair of mattress ticking clam digger jeans all from Barneys. Fritz looked day off handsome in an indigo Varvatos polo and jeans.
I am not ashamed to admit that Bridges of Madison County is one of my favorite romantic movies of all time. In the first episode of this season I got to dress Debra Monk, who played Madge in Bridges and in this episode I had the most fun getting to know Annie Corley who played Franchesca's (Meryl Streep) daughter. I was thrilled to meet Annie and she totally "got" character. Mrs. Dobson didn't have a lot of money to spend on clothes as I'm sure that her strict husband would not have given her much of an allowance for nice things. All of Mrs. Dobson's clothes came from J.C. Penney and were all made of polyester! Did Annie complain? No! She embraced the man-made fabric and made it her own and became the forlorn mother soon to be a millionaire! I have a feeling there will be no more polyester in Mrs. Dobson's future...can we say: Neimanmarcussaksfifthavenuebarneysnewyorkbloomingdales? Just look for Mrs. Dobson trolling the aisles!
When I heard that Charlie and Brenda were going to get high, I thought how in the world will they make that happen? Watching Kyra and Sosie act the scene was hilarious and seeing it edited together was nothing short of brilliant. The disheveled hair, the slurred speech, the uncontrollable giggles and appetite, the overhead shot, which was pure art of the "Italian dress" splayed out on the floor and the singing...the singing!!!! Fritz's breaking the plate reaction and Charlie's seeming insubordination was scary and then Brenda appears with cheese puff residue all over her face, fingers and white ruffled Pure cashmere sweater, currently on sale at Pure!
Brenda came to work the next day in a non-vintage Neiman Marcus Catalog, pink boucle tweed blazer last seen in last season's finale. But I thought her mind might be a little foggy and she pulled out something pink and soothing and the director, Mike Robin, suggested trousers as Brenda and squad would be actually walking through the desert at night so pants and hiking boots were needed for comfort and safety. Not using my always go-to vintage was a good choice as it seemed a bit out of place, as I said, Brenda in the fog or haze of her loaded brownies from the night before!
I look at other shows and analyze their costume choices of black and gray and navy and brown as a color scheme in almost every episode and in every show and then I judge it against our Technicolor Closer world and think it to not be real, but I challenge you to go anywhere between L.A. and N.Y.C and you'll see Closer Color all over the place. Try this exercise the next time you go to the market, or work, or the mall or church or out to dinner; people watch, that's what I do and see how many people in black clothes you really do spot? Whether you're in Kingman, Arizona; Manhattan, Kansas; Omaha, Nebraska; George, Iowa; Madison, Tennessee, or Coatsville, Pennsylvania, you're gonna see color! And if you ever get to Italy and a glorious sunlit piazza, I'll just bet you're going to see a modern version of the beautiful red and white silk shantung dress that our Brenda Leigh wore...the way she wore it!
The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer/speaker and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc.