October 4, 2013
NBC’s new crime thriller “The Blacklist” is about former government agent Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader). As a result of his history brokering deals for criminals, “Red” also happens to be one of the FBI’s most wanted fugitives. Upon surrendering at FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C. after decades on the run, he offers to help the FBI catch a terrorist so long as he only deals with rookie profiler Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone).
Red’s first outfit from the series, also happens to be Costume Designer Amy Westcott’s favorite. Ironically, the purple and white pinstriped shirt and tie with a navy vest, navy cashmere overcoat and hat, is also the same clothing that Red is wearing when he surrenders. Unlike many of his other costumes, which Wescott had hand-made, she was able to find these specific pieces such as the shirt and tie, at Paul Stuart, the coat at Loro Piana and the navy pants at Ermenegildo Zegna.
In the opening scene, Red walks into the FBI building, presents his name to security and, while waiting for the alarms to sound, carefully and calmly removes his overcoat and hat and sets them atop his briefcase before dropping to his knees as armed guards surround him. In this particular scene, the hat and coat added to the overall intensity and set the tone for Red’s character, who we immediately know is crisp, calculating and calm, with much more up his sleeve than meets the eye.
According to Westcott, “Spader was very involved in the design process and would even accompany the wardrobe team when shopping.”
“The shopping we did for Red was all high-end, Bergdorfs, Loro Piana, Ermenegildo Zegna and then we ended up making things for him as well,” says Westcott. “We wanted to create a very distinctive look for someone with money and taste as they don’t always go hand in hand! He is a man who has the means to attain the finer things in life. He is well traveled and well respected. We wanted to make sure his wardrobe reflected that.”
While it appears Red is not someone you want to mess with, Spader on the other hand “is delightful to be around and his look was very much a team effort,” says Westcott.
“The Blacklist” airs on NBC on Mondays at 10/9c.