FIDM and ATAS Salute the Art of TV Costume Design

July 2009

 

On Saturday, July 25, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences hosted a gala opening for its fourth annual salute to outstanding costume design for television. CDG President Mary Rose, who was guest-curator of the exhibit, also presented certificates to many of this year’s Emmy contenders. In the photo, Rose congratulates nominee Janie Bryant, who was nominated for her design work on Mad Men. The exhibit will run through Sept. 6 in FIDM’s Museum & Galleries in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Lisa Weingarten.

Saluting the Art of TV Costume Design 4th Annual FIDM Exhibit

On Saturday, July 25, the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences hosted a gala opening for its fourth annual salute to outstanding costume design for television.

CDG President Mary Rose, who was guest-curator of the show, included several designers nominated earlier in the week for Emmys. Rose pulled together more than 100 costumes showcasing Academy members’ work on the gamut of television production, from period and contemporary series to shows with ensemble and small casts.

“The issue for me is raising the appreciation of all costume designers,” she said. “Too many people think of movie designers as ‘big time,’ but that costumes on TV just happen. This is only our fourth annual exhibit, but we’re already helping to change that perception.”

Rose took pains to assemble what she considers the best design work being done, regardless of whether the designer is affiliated with the Guild. “Just like with the annual film exhibit in the fall, which is now in its 17th year, there is no barrier here between Guild members and non-Guild designers. We are celebrating the excellence of our colleagues.”

Among the Emmy contenders on exhibit are Kirston Mann of The United States of Tara, Joan Bergin of The Tudors, Catherine Marie Thomas of Grey Gardens, and Jo Katsaras of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.

For Mann, Tara “is a dream job.” Her design challenge is defining star Toni Collette’s multiple personalities, which include a man. “And next season there will be new alter egos.”

Katsaras commutes between homes in Cyprus and Australia and her costume department in Botswana, where she works on The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. Her vibrant designs using traditional African fabrics have caught viewers’ attention. Nearly a year after the show’s debut, she still receives a dozen emails daily. “They found me on Google.”

Also on display are costumes from The L Word, Ghost Whisperer, Castle, Coco Chanel, Grey Gardens, Dancing With the Stars, Project Runway and the winners of Emmys last year, The Tudors and John Adams.

Cynthia Simmons worked on The L Word for six seasons. “After the first season, when we built and stabilized an audience, the producers wanted to make a fashion-forward statement for the lesbian community.” Achieving that mission meant leaving the Vancouver set every month to shop for a week in Los Angeles. “We had 12 main characters and they never wore the same thing twice.”

Simmons said her new show, Bones, “offers a whole other set of challenges. Those characters actually have jobs to go to.” And their work-clothes range from lab-coats to Kevlar vests.

Dorothy Amos, a 3-year veteran of Ghost Whisperer, said she expects great things from future generations of costume designers. “Students today have so many more opportunities, from internet access to research on styles to training like FIDM provides.”

As usual, Castle designer Salvador Perez said, FIDM put on a fabulous party. “Mary Rose outdid herself. The exhibit was beautiful and we all had a great time. I especially love that my female cast came to show their support, even though we didn’t wrap until 6 that morning!”

In the campus park outside the gallery, CDG President Rose and current Television Academy Governor Van Ramsey presented ATAS certificates to this year’s Emmy contenders.

Designer Janie Bryant is nominated for Mad Men, a period piece set in the early 1960s. The show features a parade of suits and dresses and skirts over bras, girdles and slips. “Suits are the male uniform,” Bryant said, “and I love using them to show the differences in their characters.”

Bryant, a Tennessee native, previously won an Emmy for Deadwood, where she worked three seasons, and stays busy with films, pilots and commercials.

Also receiving a certificate was costume supervisor Carol Kunz of Pushing Daisies, representing Emmy-nominated designer Bob Blackman, and New Orleans-based designer Kim Martinez and supervisor Jennifer Kamrath of The Librarian: Curse of the Judas Chalice. Martinez and Kamrath, who belong to a small IATSE local in Louisiana, paid for their trips to the event.

The exhibit will run through Sept. 6 in FIDM’s Museum & Galleries in downtown Los Angeles.

 

 


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