The growing intersection between Hollywood and the fashion industry was evident on July 19 as TV academy members, design students and all out fashionistas came together at downtown Los Angeles’ Fashion Institute of Design and & Merchandising for the opening of the school and the Academy’s annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design exhibit.
The costume design series and miniseries-movie Emmy categories tend to focus on period and fantasy programs — and the event itself was also was a chance to celebrate “Mad Men’s” Janie Bryant and “Once Upon a Time’s” Eduardo Castro on their Emmy nominations — but costume designer Mary Rose, who curated the showcase, said the items she chose to put on display were more about programs she liked.
“I am not just showing what the nominations did this year … enough is enough,” said Rose. “There are a lot of things that are much more interesting and meaningful … This year’s nominees, as a Governor of the Television Academy, I was so miffed. I couldn’t believe it. ‘Boardwalk’? Enough is enough, I say. I mean it’s not ‘Sopranos.’ … I thought maybe we should have seminars on those costume designers so they know which is good and bad.”
“Downton Abbey” is the only nominated series and “American Horror Story: Coven” is the only nominated miniseries or movie on display at the exhibit, which also highlights “Breaking Bad,” “Portlandia,” “True Detective,” “Castle,” “Pretty Little Liars” and other shows that are set in the modern day.
“Once Upon a Time’s” Castro, who had previously received nominations for the non-period dramedy “Ugly Betty,” understands these concerns as well.
“They’re the showiest,” he said in regards to the abundance of period and fantasy nominees. “What happens is you kind of neglect the great modern pieces like ‘Orange is the New Black,’ which I think is a beautifully designed show but they don’t get recognized because they’re not big flashy pieces. It’s subtle. And it’s not only an issue with the Television Academy, it’s an issue with the film academy, of which I’m members of both … I wish they had separate categories because some of the modern shows they’ve done are so amazing and some of the simple shows; shows like the ‘The Killing’ that are very subtle and the textures all work, they don’t get recognized. They say, ‘oh, anybody can do that.’”
Bryant, as well as “Pretty Little Liars’” costume designer Mandi Line, has been successful offscreen by lending their names and skills to fashion brands. Would Castro be interested in doing the same? He hints that he’s been approached and says “we’ll see.”
On the other hand, replicas of jewelry designer Andrew Prince’s glittery headpieces, necklaces and earrings worn by Ladies Mary and Edith on “Downton” can be drooled over (and, if one desires) purchased from the museum’s gift shop.
“I’m more like a jewelry historian,” the designer said of the research involved in creating the accessories worn by the Crawley clan and their associates. “When you’re doing things for a specific person, take for example the Dowager, the jewelry’s in fact got to be correct for the age of the person — not the clothes. With an older person, the jewelry would have been bought 20 or 30 years before that. I’ll say this is in fact the right jewelry for this age, in regards to the cut of stones and things like that. I’m very picky. It’s got to be right.”
The FIDM-housed exhibit is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday from July 22 to September 20.
(Pictured at top: Costumes from “Pretty Little Liars” at the TV Academy/FIDM exhibit)