Fashion File with Greg LaVoi
"What becomes a legend most" was an ad campaign for mink coats back in the day and photographed were some of the entertainment worlds most glamorous ladies swathed in fur...as a kid, I remember seeing the black and white photos in the New Yorker Magazine. I also remember watching Marion Ross on Happy Days in her prim little house dresses and pearls; I remember laughing at Tim Conway's antics on The Carol Burnett Show; remember loving the high brow comedy of Ron Glass in Barney Miller, a show that wasn't your average laugh track sit com; I remember Doris Roberts portrayal of Marie the smothering mom on Everybody Loves Raymond and remember Paul Dooley for all of his incredible "everyman" character roles in film and t.v. Legends! All of them. In my long career, I never thought I'd get to work with one of these fine legends let alone all of them at once!
The script for There's No Place Like Home crossed my desk and each script I read with interest because it's a whole new set of costumes for a whole new set of characters. As I read this story, though a few of the guest stars seemed very familiar...there was Vera...a retired hair stylist on a fictional t.v. show Prognosis Homicide...she seemed to conjure up Stacey K. Black, then the retired transpo captain, Mr. Dooley's character seemed similar to Major Crimes transpo captain Rick Belyeu, Pauline--"THE" stand-in reminded me of Dakotah Masset, Mary McDonnel's stand-in and then there was Clayton, the costume designer for Prognosis Homicide...who in the script was said to wear scarves...SCARVES??? I am never without my cashmere scarf wrapped around my neck...sound stages and office buildings are notorious for always being freezing cold! So I determined that this band of retired below the line entertainment professionals were based on US!!!!
Having the approval of the producers and director I set out to fashion these criminals as dopplegangers and alteregoes of us! Marion Ross was a delight and I dressed her in the faded grandeur of a Gloria Swanson or a Barbara Stanwyck. Flowing Harrari chiffon tops and caftans, outrageous jewelry from of all places JCPenney and in the courtroom she pulled out a suit from her past, a vintage Lilli Ann, threw her fox stole over it and donned her gloves channeling every film noir actress that ever sat in a courtroom. Tim Conway as the legal eagle was dressed straightest of all, in an old man style polo from our stock room, blue blazers and khakis from Macy's, Mr. Conway's own Gucci loafers! and the colorblocked shirt at the barbeque from JCPenney. Paul Dooley looked picture perfect in Hawaiian shirts that were just a little too snug and of course shorts and socks with sandals...a transpo cliche...I think not...when Mr. Dooley walked out of his trailer on the first day of shooting he looked like Bob Nelson's (transportation captain) father...both were in orange Hawaiian shirts and khaki shorts!!! Doris Roberts only request was that she loved the brand Citron and the southern California fashion house was only too happy to let Terry Salazar, costume shopper extroidinere shop their factory. Stacey K. Black dresses in cute sun dresses and high top sneakers, she calls herself a "giant toddler" and I wanted to give Miss Roberts that sort of flair...but alas we went the more character route of Citron, but perhaps this will be how Miss Black dresses when she retires...lots of color and lots of BIG jewelry...Stacey K. does love her some big diamond earrings! And then there was Mr. Glass playing...ME...in our first fitting I was explaining who Clinton was to the actor and told him he was going to be dressed like me, Mr. Glass stood imperiously on the fitting stage and looked me up and down from head to toe and said nothing! I usually dress head to toe in black, always with the black cashmere scarf, but we decided to lighten Clayton up a little-- years ago I chose to outfit myself in white shirts and black vests...so that was how I dressed Clayton, gave him a closet of cashmere scarves and in court he was resplendent in a grape tailored suit, a lilac pashmina scarf and stylish Versace-esque necktie. Seeing Mr. Glass act the part though was a bit stunning, he had studied some of my mannerisms and used them for his character!!!
I purposely kept the Major Crimes detectives, chiefs and captains in dark neutral colors, save for Sanchez's melon colored shirts! Keeping our regulars in subdued colors helped play up the larger than life legends that we were dealing with! Legends...watching the guest stars perform, chatting them up in the fittings and soaking in all of their legendary talents and experience was a once in a lifetime career highlight! What a joy. What fun. What a treat to meet and now call these legends friends!
Greg LaVoi's Bio
Greg LaVoi began his fashion career at the tender age of 5 by dressing his Barbie Dolls. A twice Emmy nominated costume designer, LaVoi graduated from the University of Northern Colorado and then attended The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and continued dressing dolls--living dolls--Reba McEntire and The Judds in country couture. LaVoi attended film school by designing over 40 low budget B movies for film master Roger Corman. The Land of the Lost on ABC was LaVoi's first foray into television, garnering his first Emmy nod. Numerous sit-coms and movies of the week followed. In 2004 the ground breaking TNT cable hit, The Closer starring Kyra Sedgwick, premiered and has continued it's popular run as cables number 1 rated drama of all time. Greg LaVoi is a published author (Barbie Loves L.A.) and is relaunching a collection of women's American couture suits and gowns in 2013 under the label, Irene by Greg LaVoi inspired by the costumes he chooses for Miss Sedgwick. He is also writing the biography of famed costume designer Irene Lentz Gibbons.