You’ve probably read about the latest fashion phenomenon: Costume designers popping out of the wardrobe trailer and becoming brand ambassadors and style consultants in their own right.
As THR previously reported, Mad Men designer Janie Bryant leads the pack with her Mad Men-inspired collections for Banana Republic. Others include The Good Wife’s Daniel Lawson, American Idol’s Soyon An, The Carrie Diaries Eric Daman and Jen Rogien from HBO’s Girls, who have become style consultants for jewelry, lingerie and clothing companies.
Now costume designers getting their own TV special. On Wednesday, May 1, Reelz Channel will broadcast the first special called Behind the Seams: An Insider's Look at Costume Design (May 1, 8 PM PT/11 PM ET) featuring A-list costume designers and actors, as well as taking you behind the scenes of popular TV shows.
The first special includes Skyfall costume designer Jany Temime, Argo’s Jacqueline West, Silver Lining Playbook’s Mark Bridges. Revenge’s Jill Ohanneson, Tom Broeker and Eric Justian for SNL, Nashville’s Susie DeSanto, Once Upton a Time’s Eduardo Castro, The Good Wife’s Daniel Lawson, Downton Abbey’s Caroline McCall, and Boardwalk Empire’s John Dunn and Lisa Padovani. Also appearing are actors Tate Donovan, Connie Britton and Shirley MacLaine.
Behind the Seams supervising producer, Sarah Cowperthwaite explains the birth of the show, which sprang from their video coverage of the annual Costume Designer Guild Awards.
“Our executive producer JL Pomeroy has been discussing how to translate the awards. It’s such a pretty special night, a very warm room with so many actors there supporting their designers. Our publicist Alexandra Lippin, talked to Reelz about the project and they really liked the idea.”
As well as capturing the winning designers and their actor fans on the night of the awards, the Seams crew has also gone behind the scenes of top TV shows.
"The on set interviews are more in depth and focus on the process of costume design, how they go from script to screen, working with directors and the actors, says Cowperthwaite. “It's overwhelming to see what they do, their budget restraints and how quickly they have to do it. People don’t really realize that costume designers are creating characters, just like writers and actors do.”
Which is why actors continually credit costume designers for helping them find their character in fittings. On Seams, Tate Donovan says of his Argo designer Jackie West, “I didn’t know who my character was until I put on the clothes. Stepping into Jackie’s trailer is like going to the best acting class in the world.”
But costume designers are not yet totally comfortable in the glare of the limelight. “They never really get credit for what they do, not that they want it," says Cowperthwaite "They are a quirky little bunch and don’t like the spotlight.”
So far, Seams focuses on TV shows for set visits, simply because of access, travel expense and time constraints involving films.
“Movies are so much stricter about set visits,” Cowperthwaite explains. “It's easier to go behind the scenes for TV show because we can shoot this year to air next year. And all the networks have been really receptive.”
Behind the Seams: An Insider's Look at Costume Design premieres on Reelz on Wednesday, May 1 at 8 PM PT 11 PM ET.