There's been harder jobs than making Liev Schreiber look good in a suit (lets be real —the dude would look sexy in a plastic bag). But despite how easy the actor makes masculine yet polished style appear on his hit Showtime series Ray Donovan, there is a detailed art and science that goes into the show's costumes, which mostly consist of really nice suits and the occasional piece of man jewelry (here's looking at you, Jon Voight). And now that Showtime.com is offering a selection of Ray Donovan-inspired merchandise before season two drops on July 13 (think Ray's signature shades), we caught up with show costume designer Christopher Lawrence (who took the reins from Hunger Games clothier Trish Summerville after the pilot episode) to find out just how Donovan, a South Boston-bred, L.A.-based tough guy who happens to like looking good, gets his sartorial swagger (hint: a good tailor is key).
Pret-a-Reporter: Ray obviously has a penchant for suits. What are your go-to brands?
Lawrence: Ray's clothing is really about being kind of neat and clean and meticulous. Because of that we go to Zegna, John Varvatos and Calvin Klein. They're very clean. Anything that would have a little extra detail, anything that would push Ray into being, God forbid, a dandy would be wrong.
Yeah, we cant imagine a South Boston "fixer" caring much about his pocket square of cufflinks. How do you keep the character looking like a man's man who happens to like nice clothes?
We are loyal to a style. Ray's style is very wealthy, but he stays under the radar. He doesn't want to be noticed. So his stuff is impeccably tailored, and that shows he takes pride in the way he looks and that he has money. The only thing that sets him apart is how well everything fits.
Ray is so incredibly masculine. I think his clothes reflect that. You can see the frame of the man, which is strong. There's no fuss.
Got it. Fit is key. Which obviously means one thing: a good tailor. Any tips on what to ask for when you find one?
Make sure the shoulders fit and that it cuts in nicely at the waist. Show the broadness of your shoulders and the V shape that's going into a smaller waist.
Ray is into watches. But his father, played by Jon Voight, is clearly into a healthy dose of flashy manbling. He also plays an aging ex-con. What do you suggest for upstanding male citizens wanting to add a bit of jewelry to their ensemble without appearing to have robbed a pawn shop?
Find your signature piece — less is more. A good watch and a ring or a bracelet or a necklace is cool, but it should be meaningful. I call it a signature piece. And then let the rest go. In this case, less is so much more.