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Episode 609: "Last Woman Standing" - September 6, 2010
More, more, more, that's what this season of The Closer has been. This episode, "Last Woman Standing," marks the television directorial debut of our own Stacey K. Black, aka Lady Black, aka Kyra's Hair Stylist, aka my dear friend. Stacey was given one hell of an episode and she jumped into the fire with both feet ... bare I think!!! There has been too much going on to just write folderol about fashion so instead you get an almost daily diary entry.
MONDAY: SCRIPT for Last Woman Standing arrives on my desk with a thud, it's a huge costume episode as The Closer goes! So I devour every morsel and find I have an actress/comedienne character with an edge, lots of photos to be shot on a photo shoot day and Brenda has to show up in a "stunning red dress"! I of course start sketching immediately in my script and go to the closet and start pulling the show even before we have had our Costume Meeting. I get Maria in the tailor shop started on re-cutting a "stunning red dress designed by Irene." It will be fabulous and oh-so-Brenda and it's Irene!!!
TUESDAY: COSTUME MEETING: we go over the script character by character with James Duff, Stacey K. Black, Rick Wallace and Steven Kane in attendance as well as Charlotte (costume supervisor) and myself. James defines Judy Lynn the "Last Woman Standing" and SKB gives her 2 cents about what she would like for the "hero" poster of the Last Woman Standing: cool Frye Boots. It is also revealed that we have to dress Judy Lynn in an iconic look for a 2010 Powerful Woman with a Viewpoint as well as Maria from the Sound of Music, Tippi Hedren from The Birds, Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle at the Ascot Races in My Fair Lady, Carol Burnett as the Charwoman, Marilyn Monroe in that famous white dress, Madonna in her cone bustier. I later come up with the most iconic: Judy Garland as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. All hell breaks loose in the Costume department as this is late in the day Tuesday and the photo shoot is next Tuesday and Judy Lynn has not been cast. The "stunning red dress" that Brenda wears MUST be the dress she wore in Season 1 in Makeover and I say MUST because it brings back that important dress in a big ... huge way since it has not been seen since 2005 and I mean that literally. That particular red dress, a Narcisso Rodriguez, I purchased from Neiman Marcus in 2004 for another Duff show, The D.A. and I pulled it from Warner Brother's Rentals the first season of The Closer 2005 so that Brenda could wear it and then it was returned to WB, in 2006. Tracey's job is to find THAT dress in the hundreds of thousands of costumes at Warner Brothers.
WEDNESDAY: SHOPPING: I started my day at JC Penney trying to find a double for the Provenza windbreaker, none! WHY would Penney's send all the windbreakers away ... it's windy in L.A. Also can't find a double on Flynn's iconic vintage Members Only jacket, so find him a cool Arizona jeans leather motorcycle jacket perfect for Flynn on sale for $29.99 each. We need the doubles since there will be photo doubles in a car ... thanks production! Tracey White, my shopper with an attitude, hits the rental houses and pulls all of the iconic looks in a little over 8 hours, the hats, the shoes, the pleated dresses, the blouses and skirts and aprons for Maria and Carol, a wedding dress to stand in for the Ascot dress. To the craft store for stuffed black birds, to another costume shop for the Dorothy costume. Phew!!! I approve everything except a too pink Jackie Kennedy suit and nix Snow White. And the bad news is that the "stunning red dress" is not to be found anywhere at WB. Oh s#@$t!!!
THURSDAY: SHOPPING: I drive like a bat out of hell to International Silk and Woolens and find almost the same fabric that the Narcisso dress was made from, well not the same because that one was a stretch fabric and all I can find in the same color is a red wool crepe, oh well ... take the bolts of fabric out on memo and dump on Maria's floor. She has finished the Irene dress and now has to drape and draft a pattern from a picture of Kyra wearing THE dress. Maria closes her door and does NOT want to be disturbed.
FRIDAY: COSTUME SHOW AND TELL: We have a rack of the Judy Lynn costumes in the Costume Department hallway and when James Duff walks in he sees the Dorothy costume and goes wild! I am so pleased that I came up with that idea. We go through the costumes I have pulled and SKB is in heaven loving it all, especially the black leather Temperly dress and black Frye boots, "but you're gonna make them look beat up? Right?" SKB inquires. "Of course!" I reply. After the show and tell, I send Janice Mayeda, the costumer we bring in to prep all the photo shoots out to Jeff Bova in transpo who ties the boots to the back of a fork lift and drives them all around the studio lot distressing them and then rolls over the boots with the fork lifts tires. Voila! Perfectly worn in. I show Brenda's look to the assembled crowd and they love the pink Irene jacket with the sad little floral print skirt, she'll wear that outfit when Rayder tells Brenda she has always admired her lack of interest in current fashion! Then the "stunning red dress" comes up. I have 3 options: the red Irene, a red Michael Kors sheath and then the photo of the red dress from Season 1 of course it MUST be THAT dress, I knew it, just thought I'd ask! So Maria: keeps working with her door closed. End of the day, Judy Lynn is cast. It's Rhea Sehorn and we get her sizes. She doesn't especially like yellow and that's the color of the dress I found for her date look, a little floral print Moschino which Brenda is supposed to look at and respond to because as we all know Brenda loves her some floral prints!
SATURDAY: FUN DAY: got to go to a fun event a tour and high tea of the grande old Bullocks Wilshire. I met my new friend, hotter-than-hot blogger Mary Hall who writes The Recessionista Blog, at the store and we got to tour the Irene salon, yes that Irene, and I literally felt her presence and her approval of all of her incredible American vintage couture that I put on Kyra. I am so glad I am a major caretaker of the Irene legacy. It was great fun to meet and get to know Mary Hall who had interviewed me for her blog and made the reservations for this tour and tea. Only in L.A.
MONDAY: FITTING and FRUSTRATION: Early a.m. fitting with the delightful Rhea Sehorn, we bond over miniatures and dolls. She LOVES all of the looks except the yellow floral dress. I call Tracey and she has to re-shop the dress, but does LOVE the purple Louboutin's that SKB liked. It's decided that Stella will be Toto in the Wizard of Oz photo so I let Rhea get to know her and give her a rice cake as a treat, I hand Stella off to the actress and Stella growls and starts to bite the actress near her chin...not a good idea since most actresses act with their faces! Stella is passed over for Dash, the lost dog found by Jeanne Beuche in Props. Stella missed her big break! By mid day none of the iconic Hollywood looks have been put into the tailor shop because Maria's door is still closed. Is that curse words en espanol that I hear coming from the closed door? So Charlotte calls in another seamstress to get to work sewing on the birds on the TIppi Hedren look, stiching yards and yards of black and white ribbon together because I couldn't find black and white striped ribbon to emulate the Ascot ribbon, now mind you I'm pinning the birds on the suit and figuring out and tying the bows for Ascot and stuffing the bra cups of the Madonna bustier. I'm hungry, it's late and the photo shoot is at 7 a.m. the next day. We vacate the Costume department by eleven. I have to watch the episode of The Closer that aired tonight and blog about it. In bed by 2 a.m.
TUESDAY: PHOTO SHOOT AND NEW EPISODE: Today we end episode 608 and begin SKB's episode 609 AND start the photo shoot. It's incredible to see Rhea channel all of these iconic ladies. She rocks the black leather dress, she has to have complete hair and make up changes for each of these characters. Madonna and Carol Burnett are cut due to lack of time. The photo shoot takes over 8 hours to complete. We start the new episode after lunch. Kyra's skirt is too long, she is a trooper and rolls the waist band over till Maria can fix it on the turn around ( meaning the camera turns around for coverage on Kyra). Mary McDonnel wanders down to the Costume Department with all the craziness of the photo shoot going on, delicately asking if she can change her Ralph Lauren jacket for one of her Armani's. "Of course!" I say and pull out the Armani and we do a quick change. Maria finally opens her door and "the stunning red dress" is STUNNING!!!! Almost an exact replica of the MIA Narcisso Rodriguez. Now we need to fit Kyra in it as THE dress plays Thursday! I'm on set for SKB's first "ACTION!" and I am so proud of her. Emilio and Maria and I go to Kyra's trailer and she tries on THE dress and THE new scripted shoes (cream and gray reptile Vivier from NM) She loves all of it. I'm happy and Maria is relieved. Very little alterations! The day ends. The photo shoot is over. Everyone in my department is tired. We go home.
WEDNESDAY: PHEW: I bring thank you flowers to my girls that worked so hard. Had fitting with a guest actor that absolutely hated the costume...?
THURSDAY: OMG: The debut of "the stunning red dress" Krya looked like a million bucks in the red dress and shoes and that's just about what it cost in blood, sweat and tears! Carol's high pony tail finished off the interview for Police Chief look and Brenda became a life size Barbie Doll! More fittings with guest cast, in such disparate looks as vintage Ts and thrift store cargo pants for the Apartment Manager, try finding a good cargo these days! A really hip Elizabeth and James push up sleeve jacket and B&W floral dress for the character Jenny, add a really over the top pearl necklace with a black silk flower. AWESOME! from JC Penny all of $11.00 dollars! And end my fitting day with the eccentric Stuart Skylar character—a dead ringer for me in a way too expensive tissue polo shirt with graphics and a knock off of a $500 designer jean found by Tracey for $50! But the shoes: the shoes: Black and White Zebra print by Calvin Klein.
FRIDAY and ON ... the bulk of the work and worries is out of the way, now it's on to the next script and the next round of meetings, yet every day and every scene change I have to go to set to approve the establishing of a new look on my detectives or guest cast or just to make sure all is ok. We are on location for 3 days at a great old apartment building in Korea town and then at a chic loft in the Larchmont area and up at a trendy coffee shop on east Hollywood Boulevard. An almost disaster happens when I make a major design decision and remove a detail on a costume and then the writer sees the missing detail and questions me and I freak out because I think perhaps costumer Melissa Kidd might have left the detail back at the studio, but NO she had it in her set bag, so the aforementioned detail is put back on the costume and the scene can be shot. PHEW!!!!
Sometimes, with an episode like this, when all is said and done, all the blood, sweat and tears (there were no tears) will be forgotten because in TV we move so fast that the last is forgotten and the next is at the forefront, not until I see it on the screen do i remember the rush, the OMGs, the details and the minutia! I wouldn't be doing anything else. I LOVE IT!!!!!! The Last Costume Designer standing .... hmmmmm.