By Anna Wyckoff, December 9, 2009
Eduardo Castro has spent over thirty years refining his approach to Costume Design. As a result, decisions he once considered difficult in the beginning of his career while cutting his teeth on “Miami Vice,” he now finds easy.
Castro’s most recent challenge was to translate the characters from the popular 1987 film “Eastwick” into an episodic drama. The ABC show followed three very different women: Roxanne Torcoletti, Joanna Frankel, and Kat Gardener, whose magical powers are released by a mysterious new arrival in town, Daryl Van Horne.
Because each actor must convey a distinct personality, Castro uses “what they give out, their essence” in conjunction with visual cues to tell the story. He refers to this technique as, “keying into the character.” Sketching has always played an important role in his process and Castro reveals he that draws, “Because it is in my nature … we do little croquis and feelings, and the actors love it.” He also distinguishes between characters by using distinct colors and different textures to complement their varied silhouettes.
Having worked with Rebecca Romijn for several years, Castro notes that the Roxanne character is a departure from the high fashion direction of their past collaborations. “This is the first time we haven’t dressed her in heels and other glamorous accoutrements,” says Castro of Romijn’s bohemian earth mother role.
Lindsay Price who plays Joanna is a straight-laced journalist, and despite her conservative side, she has spunk and sexiness. Castro enjoys demonstrating these contradictions in her character through her clothing. Jamie Ray Newman plays Kat, who rounds out the trio as a basic New England housewife. But in Castro’s world, nothing is basic. He describes television as a “heightened reality” where viewers are drawn in because that realm is more intense than the real world.
Regarding his principal actors, Castro relies on a practiced eye and refuses to bring racks of clothing to a fitting when he can offer three or four carefully considered options. He applies this confidence to Paul Gross in the Daryl Van Horne character. Using an approach similar to his tactic when he costumed Vanessa Williams in “Ugly Betty,” Castro focuses on “the best cuts in the best fabrics possible.”
Experience also dictates the decision to build a costume rather than to buy one. Castro has all of Daryl’s shirts made, as well as an occasional suit when necessary. Additionally, he is building every piece of Cybil Shepard’s wardrobe for “Eastwick” because it is “easier.” Understanding the different “cadence and tempo of each workroom” and being able to construct a custom costume in a day are all parts of his easy approach. With his effortless style perfected over decades, Eduardo Castro proves that sometimes what appears simple is just the opposite.
Regardless of the amount of hard work poured into a project, ultimately the network, studio, and viewers determine its fate. This is a job liability and challenge every designer knows intimately. Eastwick was canceled in November 2009. But in the strange alchemy that also defines the Costume Design, Salvador Perez recommended Eduardo as his replacement on “Castle,” since he is leaving to design the film “Faster.” Eduardo Castro will be bringing his many talents to designing “Castle” on ABC.