episode 512- August 24, 2009
Here's what I believe and what I don't believe...I believe that this was THE most ambitious, action packed episode we have ever attempted to shoot of The Closer. I believe that Kevin Bacon is a director that should be mentioned along side the likes of other feature directors for this mini action movie for the small screen shot in only 7.5 days!!! I believe that we have never had to worry about so many sets of multiple wardrobe for our Closer actors, stunt men and women, and precision drivers, and that's not as easy as you think especially since Brenda Leigh Johnson's costumes are vintage or made to order! I believe that it has never been hotter in L.A. when they shot the action sequences on two successive Sunday's. I believe I was smart to stay at home and trust that all was okay on those two Sunday's!!!
And here's what I don't believe...I don't believe we were able to pull off such a complicated episode and live to write about it. I don't believe that any crew on TV. works as hard as The Closer crew. I don't believe that after Monday nights episode we have to wait 3 months for another Fashion File post!!!
Don Hewitt the creator of 60 Minutes was quoted on Sunday nights retrospective of his work saying to Lesley Stahl (and I paraphrase) "I think having one foot in the past helps you deal with [the lack of refinement and class of] the present. And that's basically what I believe! For me the use of vintage started as a fluke on an episode of another James Duff project, The D.A. when I had an actress, Cheryl White, that came in for a fitting where nothing worked, that's when I chose a Lilli Ann suit and magic seemed to happen. From Lilli Ann to Irene to Kyra Sedgwick and Brenda Leigh Johnson, without these ladies I would be nothing. NOTHING!!! And what an absolute honor it has been to share with the world my love of fine fashion from the past, a past that had class and style and simplicity in silhouette.
Brenda shows up at the crime scene, on a brisk late summer night (in North Hollywood) wearing a slate gray boiled wool one button shift coat that belonged to my late mother. It had a faint ninja flair to it that translated into a Japanese esthetic, a subtle expression of the style of the killer. Under the coat was a couple seasons ago BCBG wrap dress in muted tones of tobacco, taupe, faded lilac and black done up in a pinwheel and starburst print, and a fabulous pair of marbleized Dolce Gabbana high heels. When Brenda was at the office she threw on a 1940's Neusteters worsted wool jacket, a repeat from last year.
Det. Landry, brought to life by the brilliant Xander Berkley, who I last worked with 12 years ago on a long forgotten NBC male Charlie's Angels type show called "Players" that starred Ice T, Costas Mandelar and Frank John Hughes. I love when an actor comes to the fitting with an idea of who his character is and not just with demands to wear certain brands or designers. Xander wanted to wear his own well worn roper boots and he wanted a Stetson with a smaller brim and crown. He loved all of the H Bar C, Panhandle Slim, Wrangler and western cut shirts and suits, that I had chosen. The Country General Store in Van Nuys, CA was the go-to stop for all things western for both Landry and Jesse Ray Moore. Xander wanted an LBJ (Lyndon Baines Johnson) vibe for his character and he truly brought the former Vice President and Commander in Chief to life once he put that vintage style oyster felt Stetson upon his head. The scary killer Jesse Ray Moore, "why do they always have three names?"... a side bar--as a kid I had two friends, brothers, one named Donnie Bob, the other Dickie Joe...from Kentucky, so when Landry asked the question, I could relate, but I don't think either of the brothers I knew turned out to be killers. Moore was dressed from the Country General Store and I chose a classic denim shirt from Wrangler and a pair of pre-faded almost white Levi's that I had Maria in the tailor shop fit to an inch of the actors life.
There had been so many discussions and meetings with the producers and directors about the action stunt sequence. I had wanted Ray Cruz to wear his sport coat when he jumped up on the big rig cab, but Ray countered that he as Sanchez would not wear his jacket on a hot day in the car, but I knew in my designer heart that having Ray, as well as his stunt man in that light colored sport coat hanging onto the cab would be a visual delight with the fabric flapping in the breeze as he clung on for dear life. Kevin Bacon agreed and Ray came around, thank god!
My set costumer, Emilio Anorve, was wearing a cool straw cowboy hat one day that Kevin just happened to comment on. E as we call Emilio told me that Kevin had lusted after his hat and it turned out that we had bought said hat at the store that my Dad used to be associated with in the rural town of Rocky Ford, Colorado--Don's For Lad and Dad, on Main Street. I called the owners Donnie and Carol Gause and asked them to please send me the same hat that E wore for Mr. Bacon. They obliged and we gifted Kevin with the hat and he was ecstatic and wore that hat on set on the 110 degree Sunday's that the heart stopping action scenes were shot!
I needed to dress Brenda in a Southern style to meet Landry, something feminine and pastel but I also had to have four of everything due to the aforementioned stunts and precision drivers, I found the perfect Tory Burch ribbed cardigan with tiny little gold buttons and had Maria make four matching skirts out of a silk Charmeuse with insets of matching silk chiffon, was I the only one that got a Jones seeing Brenda sashay in that skirt, around the exterior of the house of the suspect from El Paso? In the concept meetings I was told by producer Greer Shephard and Rick Wallace, who always love the thought I put into the costumes that almost become characters in their own right, that the costume for Brenda's interrogation with Moore had to be ultra-feminine to kind of inspire Moore to confess to her. I had called Macy's in Sherman Oaks and had Raphael in Studio Services "just pull me any and all multiples that you have in the store, skirts, dresses, whatever" this of course was for the change in the car chase, but the merchandise that Raphael pulled held the jewel of the creamsicle ruffled dress, an almost ruffle for ruffle knock off of the famous dress that Eunice wore on the Carol Burnett "Mama" skits. The Yoana Baraschi designed dress was perfection and something that I can't take credit for picking myself, one of those flukes of fashion! The little wisp of an oh-so-girly lettuce edged cashmere sweater that Brenda wore was from Pure, of course, and currently on sale online before they break out their fall collection.
Charlie grew up in this season finale and I tried to portray that in her more tailored and colorful choice of clothes. Once again she was in the kitchen cooking breakfast for Grandpa Clay in a black Marc Jacobs puffed short sleeved blouse tucked into a gray and white plaid Catholic Girls School skirt from my fave American Vintage on Hollywood Blvd and under the skirt a pair of Fred Segal below the knee leggings. The tender scene between Aunt and Niece (Mother and Daughter in real life) found Charlie in a minty green with ethnic embroidery peasant style top from Fred Segal Fun and a repeat of the short shorts from the first episode Charlie appeared in.
So here's what I believe...I believe that I do have a foot in the past, not just the 1940's but the past of a few weeks, a few seasons and truly a few decades ago, but I wouldn't have it any other way. I am a sentimental old sap and I hate when we air our season finale because it means we as a crew are almost finished with our entire season and it is fact that our little Closer family will be broken apart for another six months and frankly I'm not ready to say goodbye to that family, what with the loss I've experienced during this season, that little extended family has been my very salvation. Yes, my feet are firmly dipped into the past, but there is a very present ahead for all of us, in November and for seasons to come! I hope!
The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer/speaker and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc.