On many levels, dressing the characters in “GLOW” was a dream job for costume designer Beth Morgan. Not only was the creation of the costumes fun and inventive, she says, but each of the characters on the Netflix series is so well developed that it gave her countless opportunities to individualize them.
“It’s such a great story about women,” says Morgan, who has created looks for TV shows such as “Last Man on Earth” and “Key & Peele.” On both seasons of “GLOW” she’s designed costumes for all the show’s characters entirely from scratch, talking at length about each character’s style and outfits with show creators Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch.
Netflix dropped the second season into streaming June 29. From the start, as the show built and the female grapplers began to form their ragamuffin group, Morgan made sure she was peppering each episode with unique pieces for the characters’ final wrestling looks.
For example, when the troupe goes to a Malibu mansion and has a closet party in Episode 3, “it was important for us to already have an idea about where we [wanted their costumes to end up],” Morgan says. “That’s where we get the rice farmer’s hat on Fortune Cookie [Ellen Wong’s Jenny], the Viking hat on Vicky the Viking [Marianna Palka’s Reggie], and where Machu Picchu [Britney Young’s Carmen] finds her cape and that great Peruvian hat.”
Morgan logged hundreds of hours researching costumes from 1980s wrestling. Her goal was to keep the costumes rooted in reality (despite their often ostentatious appearance), so she drew from Seventeen magazine and catalogs from J.C. Penney and Sears. “We didn’t want that over-the-top chaos when you think of the ’80s, like the neon colors and crazy bright prints. That wasn’t the ’80s of [the show’s] world,” she says. “These were working-class girls who were trying to make ends meet.”
For the movement elements — and there are plenty in a show about wrestling — Morgan drew from the movies “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” “Valley Girl,” “Pretty in Pink” and “Weird Science.”
“What I love about the ’80s is that everybody was so much more individual in their styles. It wasn’t homogenized. There was no Amazon. Now, I feel like you could be anywhere in America, and two women from either coast could be wearing the same outfit, even if they’re of different nationalities and socioeconomic status.”