episode 514 - December 14, 2009
Make Over made me smile, not only watching it on the television tonight but while we were shooting it. Not laugh out loud moments but smiles...smiles of tenderness; smiles that tugged at your heart strings; smiles at learning Provenza's first name or seeing Georgette apply lipstick, a pink parka made me smile; a bathtub full of bubbles with potential for disaster brought smiles and of course a stunning pair of Chanel shoes really made me smile!
Some ladies collect diamonds, they are a girls best friend. Some ladies pursue the perfect of-the-moment designer purse. Some ladies covet shoes of every color, heel height, price point and shape. There were some VIP visitors on set when we shot Make Over and I was called to the set, my presence requested by Miss Sedgwick. "Look at that ladies shoes!" As I turned to look Kyra cautioned, "but don't be obvious!" So I gently turned my neck and my eyes caught a glimpse of a black ballet flat with the signature white camellia on the toe, Chanel of course. "Don't you think Brenda should have a pair?" Kyra asked as only Kyra can. "Of course!" I said, and as fast as my little Redwings could take me I was off to Neiman Marcus. There on the Chanel rounder were not ballet flats but the most stunning pair of black patent leather sling-backs with the wool felt camellia's on the toes, they were purchased before my Mercedes even left the valet station! They just HAD to find a place in this weeks episode. But I digress, back to the shoes a little later.
Make Over was all about changes and this 2009 season's theme was Change! When I read the script and did my sketches I had no idea who was to be cast as Georgette, but I knew it would pose a challenge to make a "name" actor look like a woman, and not be ridiculous. The weekend was upon us and we would start shooting the episode the following week. I had to go to Whole Foods for some supplements, they have the best selection; as I was bending down trying to find the Lutein, I heard a very deep, booming voice, but a skirt had sashayed by that belonged to the voice, as I raised up I saw a real Georgette! Not a pretty woman by any means but a woman none the less, proud, feminine and little did she know, the inspiration for Georgette. But, once again I digress.
You never know when the writers are going to throw a "costume episode" at ya, no warning, no time to read, research and react, nah, you just HAVE to find a pink ski parka in August!!! Luckily there's the internet, my salvation many times over. I was able to find an on-sale-last-season Bogner parka after calling executive producer's stylish fashionista wife Amy Chu Robin and asking where she bought her ski parkas. This particular coat came embellished with silver and gold embroidery and studded with rhinestones, there had to be a funny factor on top of the pink parka and that was the addition of hot pink Muppet fur on the hood and cuffs, thank god no Muppets were actually harvested for their fur, didn't you know that Muppets shed like crazy! So Maria in the tailor shop had her work cut out for her, no pun, stitching on the polyester pelts to this already embellished parka, leave it to Kyra to use the costume to her advantage, letting the fur fly in her face and stick to her tongue, she did ask me if I thought it was too much...pink...NEVER!!! Fritz looked ski slope sexy in the coolest-hottest Kjus parka and pants from Doc's Ski Haus in Santa Monica and on line, and wouldn't you know they were closed for the season, but the nicest guy came to my rescue and sold me all the stuff I needed having to procure it from their vendors all across the country...wow, the power of Hollywood!
Now, back to Georgette, when Beau Bridges was cast, of course everyone was psyched to have such Hollywood royalty join our "little basic cable" show. Beau was really into playing a man who'd gone through the change...not menopause change, but reassignment, so before we had the first fitting I had to have a foundation for which Beau could feel just -how the dresses would fit and how he would be able to move. Instead of a body suit, we collaborated on a lycra slip with an under-wire bodice, Maria then filled out the bust with batting and birdseed, we gave Georgette a 38C, in the original incarnation we had tried a 38 D on Beau, but it just seemed too big and "ha ha" funny, so taking into account Beau's frame, the C cup seemed the perfect choice. I shopped the large and lovely aisle at Macy's, JCPenney, Nordstom West Side Pavilion and Saks Fifth Avenue. The amazing cobalt blue suit was from Danny & Nicole a sz 20W, There was a great pleated detail at the hem and Maria had to add about 3 inches of fabric at the modified boat neck to conceal beau's chest hair which he didn't want to shave. In fact all of the dresses had to have long sleeves and higher necks to camouflage the hirsute actor. Beau requested Mephisto sandals, for comfort and a necklace with a small cross. I needed a signature piece of jewelry and for some unknown out of the blue reason Eric dug through my jewelry collection and grabbed a vintage cloisonne butterfly brooch and it was genius! The metaphor for change with the imagery of the butterfly was a little detail that may have been overlooked by the audience but Beau and the producers were blown over, an unexplained gift from the costume gods, and my long gone Aunt Ethel, from Northwood, North Dakota who originally wore the pin.
And that brings us back to the Chanel shoes, another gift from the aforementioned costume deity. When Michael Robin and James Duff saw the shoes in the wardrobe show n' tell, James proclaimed, "expect re-writes!!!", as the Chanel shoes were now going to take on a life of their own. I had found the comfy little stretchy cream and black jersey dress, a Ralph Lauren American Living $99.00 frock at JC Penney, it had a subtle animal print and went perfectly with the Chanel shoes, plus we had to have multiples of the dress since Fritz was to pull Brenda into the bubble bath...we should have had a second pair of shoes,but alas, NM didn't have another pair in her size, so you may have noticed Kyra keeping her couture clad tootsies high above the bath water! Georgette wore a Lafayette 148 slubby silk jacket in jewel tones from Saks and a Maggie London fuchsia and chocolate "Brenda" print dress (18W) from Nordstrom and of course we repeated the butterfly pin.
Let's not forget a mention of our Closer men, Provenza with the loss of Lauren was back to mismatched jackets and ties and no more pocket squares. Gabriel was oh-so handsome in a brand new Paul Smith Suit from NM in a beautiful desert tan, since Gabriel is now a Det./Sgt. I figured he would have rewarded himself with a new suit, plus in real life, we'd been careful with this season's budget and I had a little money I needed to spend...I love to "need" to spend me some money! and when George cleverly went "under cover" he sported a Hugo Boss charcoal suit from Bloomingdales and did anybody notice that his tie was one of Provenza's Brioni ties in a chartreuse paisley print!
Georgette completed her costume arc by being accepted by Provenza and inspired by Brenda. When the boys bid adieu to the lovely Georgette she was resplendent in a California colorful tropical print cotton dress from Nordstrom, Signature by Robbie Bee (18W), a jaunty maize straw hat, the butterfly pin was on the floral detail AND a pair of "Chanel" pumps just like Brenda's...only a little larger...well, a lot larger!!!! I love that the writers and, we in the costume department, along with the actors are able to gently move a story along with an off the cuff comment from Georgette to Brenda about her shoes and then for me to choose a typical tourist type dress that a visitor from the Northwest, (that's where Georgette supposedly moved after leaving L.A.) would buy while in the land of LA but also create a character arc through a costume that shows Brenda might just have had a real effect on Georgette's acceptance of her choice to become a woman and in turn Louie's acceptance of his former partner's radical choice...and all of this made me smile, not once, not twice but many times in this delightful episode of The Closer...Make Over.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer/speaker and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc.