Focus On: Gloves
December 16, 2013
Gloves can be implemented as a minor detail or as a centering anchor of a costume, utilized as an accessory that helps complete the look of a character’s time, place, social station and personality. Slight changes in the length, color, material, decorative elements and fit can make all the difference (heed the effect of Rita Hayworth’s long black gloves in “Gilda” in contrast to Audrey Hepburn’s in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”).
Here we feature a few Los Angeles-based glove proprietors, go-to artists for those in the know and excellent resources for those on the hunt for the perfect pair.
Gaspar Gloves by Dorothy Gaspar
Phone: (323) 441-1986 (call to make an appointment)
Website: http://gaspargloves.com/ (orders available through website)
Dorothy Gaspar is hell-bent on reviving gloves as a mainstream accessory.
“This is my passion—to get gloves ‘back.’ It used to be that no one would walk outside without their gloves,” she says. “People need to move away from the concept that they are just seasonal.”
And the masses just might, if her designs have anything to say about it. Pairs recently donned by ace publicist Olivia Pope (actress Kerry Washington) on ABC’s “Scandal” and the bewitching Myrtle Snow (actress Frances Conroy) on FX’s “American Horror Story: Coven” have fashion writers salivating over her work.
A third generation glove maker by trade, Hungarian-born Gaspar has been producing an array of sumptuous gloves, in some capacity, for the better part of three decades. Her training included three years of schooling and then a five year apprenticeship under her parents. What began as a painstaking test in patience learning the basics—countless hours spent honing her cutting and sewing skills—she recognized the trade as a true art form and an avenue to showcase her creativity. After emigrating from Hungary to Los Angeles with her fiancé in 1985, she got her start sewing at Gloves by Hammer of Hollywood on Melrose. She later branched off on her own, working directly with studios. She’s worked from her modest studio HQ ever since, designing for screens big and small, and launched her own line of high fashion gloves in 2009.
Gaspar Gloves encompasses an incredible array of styles for both men and women, under general categories like dress, driving, formal, fetish and wedding. Her designs range from the demure to the eccentric, from supple and smooth to studded and ornate. Remarkable artworks in and of themselves, they are available in muted neutrals and candy-colored hues. In addition to serving glove aficionados worldwide, Gaspar consistently collaborates with the costume design world to dress the stars of numerous films and television series.
Though Gaspar enlists occasional help with sewing and a European factory to assist with producing mass orders, she is essentially a team of one. “As far as the work for film and television, it is all me,” she says. On a given week, the designer works on anywhere from 10 to 100 pairs, depending on the complexity of the designs. (This includes her own collections, custom orders and special projects for film and television). She says her workload is steady, due to the fact that television networks have series in production throughout the year (in contrast to the old days, when it was one heavy block), costume requests are primarily for fashion gloves (not winter gloves), and so many of her designs are available in an assortment of lighter materials. There is essentially no “busy season.”
Gaspar typically doubles all costume glove orders, but for action-heavy films and series like those in the X-Men franchise or “True Blood” (in which stunts and fake blood place an extra strain on the gloves), she produces four to five pairs per character.
“I work with leather and recently a lot of sheer fabrics, but leather primarily, which requires more skill,” says the designer. “If the project is period, or even futuristic—I use leather.” Her role, she says, is first and foremost construction, so for futuristic projects or those that require a distinct look of wear-and-tear, a separate team handles topical, specialized modifications like aging and dyeing. Gaspar gets skin leather from two trusted English and Italian suppliers (from whom she’s sourced for 25 years), and employs the same intensive method her family developed 120 years ago. Without a doubt, she says, the initial cutting phase, which involves stretching and pressing out the leather, is the most tedious and exhaustive.
In regards to collaborating with costume designers on film and television projects, Gaspar says her role fluctuates between minimal and heavy involvement. For the most part, costume designers procuring Gaspar’s skills will peruse her existing styles and samples and from there, they partner on creating a custom design.
In general, period films are more challenging and the glove maker is more involved, undergoing her own extensive research on the gloves of the era, just as the costume designer undergoes his or her own research on the overall fashions, styles and customs of the time. Films like the 1920s-set football flick “Leatherheads,” or the third installment of the “Night at the Museum” franchise (on which Gaspar is currently working and designing a pair of gloves for an actor portraying Teddy Roosevelt), require a good deal of research on her part, as opposed to more contemporary set projects like this year’s magician thriller “Now You See Me” and 2011’s “Drive,” in which Ryan Gosling’s mysterious character donned a pair of her driving gloves.
In some cases, Gaspar’s role with a character’s wardrobe will actually snowball from minimal to heavily involved, as has been the case with her contributions to “Scandal.” Costume Designer Lyn Paolo has made gloves an ever-present accessory of stylish lead character, Olivia Pope (played by actress Kerry Washington).
“In the beginning with Lyn, it was just looking at what we had, but now we are more into detailing, and I have more details on what kind of clothing she’s going to wear, which is more helpful,” Gaspar says. “I’m more involved, as gloves became such an important part of the character.”
The recent buzz surrounding gloves worn by Washington, as well as actresses Frances Conroy and Jessica Lange on “American Horror Story: Coven,” give Gaspar hope that gloves are well on their way to making a major a comeback.
“Gloves in any material are elegant… They are an accessory like a bracelet, a necklace, and can be [produced from] a sheer, light fabric,” Gaspar stresses. “If it’s summer, you can go sheer or fingerless. You can put jewelry on the gloves, too. It’s what we are trying to emphasize.”
As Gaspar continues to build upon her glove empire, she says she draws continual inspiration from her costume designer clients, including Paolo and Eduardo Castro, with whom she works on ABC’s “Once Upon A Time.”
“I get a lot of inspiration from costume designers, and that impacts my fashion designs, also,” she says. “For 25 years, I’ve been working in film, TV and theater, so I realize they are not a simple five-finger glove, they can be high fashion, worn with jewelry, other accessories… And that has made a huge difference for me.”
Address: 402 N La Cienega Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: (310) 652-4543
Website: http://www.trashy.com/ (orders available through website)
Trashy Lingerie was launched nearly 40 years ago by Mitch and Tracy Shrier. It calls a none-too-discrete bubblegum pink La Cienega flagship home, though it traditionally has touted itself as a members-only store conducive to private shopping sprees (membership entails an application and a $2 annual fee). A highly skilled staff helps to provide alterations to and produce made-to-order lingerie (playful, sexy, kinky and costume—from Marie Antoinette to Poison Ivy), hosiery, shoes and several accessories on the premises. Designs are also produced from Trashy’s Downtown L.A. workspace.
In addition to serving as a haven for starlets and L.A. shoppers on the hunt for a wide variety of made to order elegant, racy and themed lingerie and accessories, Trashy regularly works with costume designers to find the perfect finishing touch for a costume. Some rifle through existing Trashy designs to see if there’s something suitable for the costume they’re building, while others come in with a vision and work with the staff to develop a custom order. With leather and satin each available in 40 colors, the possibilities are endless.
More often than not, costume designers use Trashy gloves for period projects and projects in which the characters are featured wearing blatant “dress-up costumes” on-screen. Their designs have landed hundreds of credits in film and television. Most recently, says co-owner Mitch Shrier, the Trashy team has been working to produce gloves for FOX’s “Glee.”
Trashy definitely experiences a busy season, with orders spiking in September and October (due to Halloween). While orders typically take a week to turn around, customers need to place their orders by the first week of October if they want them completed by the holiday.
A treasure trove of accessories for myriad tastes, there’s no such thing as a top seller at Trashy Lingerie. However, with the impending Christmas holiday, Shrier says, “everyone wants satin with marabou!”