Actress Morena Baccarin as Jessica Brody on “Homeland.” Credit: Showtime.

“Homeland”

Nov. 2, 2012

Costume design is most effective when it seamlessly integrates with a story. . .so completely in line with a character that the costume is as much a part of their persona as their voice and body language.

Costume Designer Katina Le Kerr achieves this beautifully on Showtime’s award-winning thriller “Homeland” through her own unique brand of “quiet” costume design. Le Kerr keeps the drama’s principals―a collection of high ranking military officers, CIA operatives, and state officials wading through matters of national security―in muted palettes. A major season two development, however, caused a break in Le Kerr’s system: the transition of Nick Brody (Damian Lewis) from a decorated war hero to a U.S. Congressman on his way to running for Vice President. As a result, Nick’s wife Jessica (Morena Baccarin) transitions from a suburban mom to a political wife. To noticeably mark this change, Le Kerr dressed the previously “unfashionable” Jessica in a bold red Valentino gown for a political fundraiser scene as she felt the sleeveless dress, which features a rose detail on the left shoulder, was a fitting metaphor for Jessica as she gave a speech and opened her heart to an auditorium full of strangers.

“I never choose red in our palette, so for me [and the director, writers and executive producers], to decide on a red dress was a big deal,” Le Kerr says. “When I’ve used rich colors, they’ve always been dark, not this vibrant, and they lend themselves to the show’s sense of mystery.”

The gown was appropriately suited to Jessica’s character development―an important consideration for Le Kerr, who is ever-cautious about choosing costumes that upstage the character or storyline.

“I don’t want to detract from the themes or the brevity of the script,” Le Kerr says. “Quiet, simple [design] lends itself to the job these very talented actors need to do.”

– Costume Designer Katina Le Kerr


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