Earning recognition for hard work feels good and earning it from your peers in your chosen career path is even more special. This year’s nominees for the Costume Designers Guild Awards, which takes place on March 9 at The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, are reaping acknowledgement directly from fellow designers who understand better than anyone what goes into the process.
Salvador Perez, president of the CDG, is busy planning the 24th annual awards, hosted by Andrew Rannells and Casey Wilson, with multiple contingencies in place, from streaming the evening online last year to forging ahead with a live event this year.
“Since [audiences] aren’t doing anything, they’re actually paying more attention [to our work],” says Perez. Streaming at home means audiences can pause scenes for instant screen grabs and examine everything in copious detail. Perez speculates that the designers’ work is under more scrutiny now than ever before.
Mayes C. Rubeo, nominee for Excellence in Period Television for “WandaVision” says she’s “humbled” to be recognized alongside her peers.
The show’s challenge, which Rubeo calls “fun, like a discovery” was working in black and white. That meant she had to be well-versed in grays. Utilizing the iphone’s monochromatic mode allowed her to readily examine fabrics and other materials in the right hues.
“Surprisingly, many colors look different in the gray tones, so we had to identify those,” explains Rubeo. She worked closely with the show’s director of photography to ensure the looks were in sync.
Rubeo was previously recognized for her work on “WandaVision” with an Emmy award.
Lindsay Pugh, nominee for Excellence in SciFi/Fantasy Film for “The Matrix Resurrections” was challenged to create new looks within the same universe as the three prior “Matrix” movies.
“It was impossible, and quite wrong, to not be aware of the previous films,” says Pugh, “and of course there had to be some form of continuity of style through to the current movie.” Since “Resurrections” takes place in the present, that also lent some wiggle room.
One quintessential design that Pugh wanted to honor was the fluid movement of the coats’ fabric. She had the opportunity to do so during a big chase sequence with Neo (Keanu Reeves). “We looked for a long time to find the right thing, something that was lightweight enough to catch the wind and soft enough to move in,” says Pugh. She decided on an unlined textured jersey fabric to provide that iconic look.
Of the nomination itself, Pugh is touched. “The fact that my peers are judging from a point of true understanding of what it takes to put a film together, and that they think I am worthy of notice, is very gratifying,” she says.
Like Pugh, Mandi Line, nominee for Excellence in Short Form Design for “The Bold Type: ‘Cruella’” paid homage to a fellow designer’s work in her project. “We had four contemporary looks, and three looks inspired by one of the best costume designers around, Oscar winner Jenny Bevan,” says Line. “Her acknowledgment [of the project] on social media was an award in itself!”
Line had to design for the shoot while still on curfew and in lock down. Stores were closed and she was completing the final season of “The Bold Type.” “We were at the mercy of international shipping [and] one tailor building from scratch,” she recalls.
Upon learning of her nomination, Line confesses she “sat in [her] car and cried. Our job is so tough and only costume designers know how much of ourselves we give to this career…I sat in the moment and cried tears of being seen.”
Regardless of what form the event takes, Perez plans to honor the nominees in a way that befits their accomplishments. If they move to streaming, there are benefits, too, like allowing more people to tune in.
“It’s a fun evening and [before] nobody else got to see it,” says Perez, “so it was awesome [last year with streaming] that the rest of the world got to be part of it.”