'This Is Us' Costume Designer on How to Stay Warm During a Freezing Spring Wedding
In a last-minute scramble during season two, Hala Bahmet added silk long johns, pashminas, hand warmers and three layers of pantyhose to keep the cast of the NBC series warm in 38-degree weather last year.
Costume designer Hala Bahmet can relate to spring brides worried about recent rain showers in Los Angeles putting a damper on their wedding festivities. Perhaps couples can even take a few last-minute tips from the Emmy-nominated designer of This Is Us on how to stay warm during the ceremony.
For the season two finale of the NBC series, filmed in February 2018, Bahmet spent three weeks designing Kate's (Chrissy Metz) lacy wedding gown. Kate would be marrying Toby (Chris Sullivan) at the Pearson family cabin on a sunny spring day, and Bahmet had planned to dress the cast in light bridesmaid dresses. After all, one of the perks of filming in L.A. is the year-round sunny weather.
But Bahmet wasn’t so lucky while filming in Burbank — she checked the weather report a few days before shooting, only to find the city would be facing an unusual cold snap with a low of 38 degrees.
“Here we are trying to dress people for this nice spring cheery wedding, and literally everyone is freezing and the entire crew are wearing parkas," Bahmet tells The Hollywood Reporter.
It was time to scramble. “My team, we had to mobilize,” she recalls. “At the last minute, we had to come up with, ‘Well, what are we going to do? We can't have all these skinny strap dresses and all this light stuff.’ The only solution we could come up with was to try to give them a third piece or another piece to put over it that doesn't destroy the aesthetic."
Bahmet rallied her team to go to downtown L.A. wholesalers or online sites with quick shipping. They ended up making last-minute shawls and pashminas for the female stars. The trick? She sewed two identical lace shawls together so there was an “extra bit of warmth," while still looking like a thin gossamer piece. Actresses also wore three pairs of pantyhose. For the bride, Bahmet took the beaded French lace used for her dress and applied the beading and lace detailing along the edges and the sides of a pashmina to give it that same custom bridal look.
“The actor needs to be comfortable and do the work that they need to do, which is to do their scene without their teeth chattering,” Bahmet explains.
The men were easier — the designer went to costume houses in L.A. to get hundreds of silk long johns to put underneath their suits. But for the women in knee-length dresses and spaghetti straps, they got creative. Bahmet took long silk underwear, doubled it and cut it off at the knee.
Her team also bought hand warmers to put in actors’ pockets or stick them on their bodies, such as at the small of their backs. Between scenes, Bahmet’s “amazing” team on set ran out and threw big fleece-lined and waterproof coats on the actors.
“They're very warm and they don't put lint on the costume; they're just really easy on and off,” Bahmet explains. “So it would be a fun thing to watch behind the scenes. They would say ‘Cut!’ and all of a sudden eight costumers would run out to everyone sitting in their wedding chairs and throw coats on everybody. ... Then they'd sa,y 'Okay, we're going to go again.' And my team would run back out and grab everybody's coats away. People have no idea. It's crazy behind the scenes.”
The hit NBC show was renewed for seasons four through six on May 12 and is likely to end in 2022. As for what's next for season four, Bahmet could only say, "It's a mystery, and I'm super excited."