Kate Walsh, Sarah Paulson Pay Tribute to Karl Lagerfeld at the Costume Designers Guild Awards
"I am so thrilled that I got to experience his gifts on this planet in my lifetime and all of you," said Walsh, the host of the evening.
The fashionable set arrived at the Costume Designer's Guild Awards on Tuesday in their most avant-garde pieces to celebrate their work wardrobing film and television's finest, and host Kate Walsh joined in on the tradition of wearing several iconic film ensembles.
First up was a sparkly pink gown that channeled Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz, followed by a leather Versace look complete with a blonde wig to mimic Donatella Versace in reference to The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story and, finally, a replica of the the outfit that Rosie Perez's character wears in Do The Right Thing as a nod to Ruth E. Carter, honored with the Career Achievement Award.
"I am so thrilled to be here with you tonight; I was going to enter on a bubble, but we didn't have the budget," said Walsh, who lauded the crowd and then paid her respects to legendary fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, who died Tuesday.
"Costume design is critical to everything we do as actors," she said. "I know everyone says that, but for me it's especially true. Our characters would not exist without you all, without your creativity and genius. Speaking of genius, I have to digress for a moment and just say I want to take a second to honor the brilliant Karl Lagerfeld, who left us today. I am so thrilled that I got to experience his gifts on this planet in my lifetime and all of you.”
The night saw wins from Mary E. Vogt, Sandy Powell, Lou Eyrich and Allison Leach, Donna Zakowska, Sharen Davis, Zaldy Goco and Natasha Newman-Thomas and additionally honored Betty Pecha Madden (who took home the Distinguished Service Award), Ryan Murphy (who accepted the Distinguished Collaborator Award) and Glenn Close (who was honored with the Spotlight Award).
On stage with Eyrich to present the award to Murphy, Sarah Paulson donned Chanel jewelry and a 1980s "vintage demi couture [gown] by Karl Lagerfeld, from one of his first collections," according to an Instagram post by her stylist, Karla Welch, who said that she had had the look on hand for weeks so the tribute to Lagerfeld was "truly unexpected."
An unexpected tribute Lady Paulson is wearing vintage demi couture by Karl Lagerfeld, from one of his first collections for @chanelofficial to the Costume Design Guild Awards. From the treasure trove of @shrimptoncouture whom I am sure will post some wonderful stories about the lineage of this look.
Paulson said of Murphy: "He has made an incalculable number of people feel seen, heard, held and celebrated by reminding us that we are so much more connected than we are divided."
"The very fact that I have this career is a miracle," said Murphy. "I was starting out in this business in the late 1990s, and it wasn't easy for me. I was told not to follow my instinct, to be something else. I was too weird, too unusual. It was painful to be discriminated against and not liked because of what I wanted to do, which was very simply to see myself and my experience in life on television. I never saw a triumphant or, at the very least, a complicated gay character on television or in the movies as a child or a teenager. They were always marginalized, punch lines at best. They were beaten for who they were."
He continued, "Back in 1999 when I first started, I decided I wanted to create representation and, wouldn't you know it, my very first network argument was over a costume. Leslie Grossman was playing Mary Cherry and wearing a fur coat as a way to sum up her ambition and dreams. The costume is purely made of character, after all. The network executive responded, 'Change that, we don't do that on the WB.' I asked why and he said, 'because [fur coats are] too gay.' It was then that I began to clean up and pack my office and perhaps leave the cruel world of show business. But they asked me to please stay. I honestly believe that [it's because] I didn't back down from that one fight about vision and style that I'm here today.”
Up next was Glenn Close, who waded through 800 pieces of her own personal costume wardrobe and donated ensembles from 47 projects to Indiana University in 2017, noted: "My costumes have always meant much more to me than whatever character they're designed for. They are, to me, beautiful masterpieces created by a team who takes as much pride in their craft as I do in mine. You make what I do possible. My collaboration with whomever designs my costumes is as important to me as a collaboration with a writer or director. Sometimes even more so. You have dressed me, inspired me and finished me for 45 years."
Rounding out the night was the Career Achievement Award presented to Carter by Halle Berry and Danai Gurira, who said of Carter's work on Black Panther. "I begged for copies of her many stunning renderings to display them across my trailer, because they filled me with a specific pride. Not only in the Wakanda world, but in the continent I call home, reminding me of its power and its splendor while simultaneously making Wakanda all the more real."
Thanking the crowd, who stood in applause, Carter said: "This has been an incredible feeling, being celebrated in this way. I've been in this costume design game for a long time. I came to L.A. in the '80s to be a costume designer. I dedicated myself, no matter what someone said. I stuck with it. Now I'm here and I'm accepting this award from my colleagues. Thank you."
"People might assume that I love costume because I love Chanel and Dior, but really instead it was Lorraine Hansberry, Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez, James Baldwin and so many others — those were my designers," she said. "These playwrights and poets ignited the passion in me to create and made me come alive. They raised me up with their rich stories and showed me that costume design is being artistic, visionary and inspired. You're creating art for something that's bigger than yourself."
Over her 30-year career, Carter further noted, Black Panther wasn't the first superhero she'd designed a costume for. Rather, she started with Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X — the latter of which inspired Ryan Coogler. Recalling an initial meeting with the film's director, she mused, "Ryan said, 'I'm so happy you're here; I went to see Malcolm X when I was a kid with my dad, and I really cherished that moment."