Jaclyn Smith and Joan Collins Remember 'Dynasty' Designer Nolan Miller

Nolan Miller Headshot - P 2012
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Nolan Miller Headshot - P 2012

The Emmy-winning costume designer's gowns (and jaw-dropping shoulder pads) defined '80s style.

This story first appeared in the June 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

"Nolan Miller," says Charlie's Angels' Jaclyn Smith of her late friend, "gave TV viewers the escapism of glamour. Nolan would have put the Angels in gowns all the time. But we were playing cops!"

Miller -- who died June 6 at 79 after a long battle with lung cancer -- made the classic flamboyant and the flamboyant classic. He created the Angels' tight pants and blouses, Morticia's glam goth look on The Addams Family, Ginger's sparkly gowns on Gilligan's Island and, most famously, Dynasty's big-shouldered (bordering on linebacker) power suits. They became an emblematic look of the '80s and won him an Emmy.

The native Texan and son of an oil worker, who decided in fifth grade that he wanted to dress Hollywood stars, also sent Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren down the red carpet in spectacular, sexy gowns that harkened back to Old Hollywood.

Says Joan Collins, whom he dressed for Dynasty and also as a client: "Nolan's dresses were fitted, boned and beautifully constructed to make the woman look good. Nowadays, it's up to the actresses to make the outfit look good, and they have to be very thin to do it."

Miller will have his ashes scattered, stylishly of course, in the canals of Venice, Italy. Afterward, Collins says she and his close circle of friends will "go to Harry's Bar and have Bellinis" to celebrate his life. Says designer Mark Zunino, his former assistant, who will be there: "He never lost his enthusiasm for glamour."

Additional reporting by Elizabeth Snead