Photo Courtesy of Fox Television.

“The Following”

Feb. 8, 2013

Costume Designer Marie Abma begins every project with careful readings of the scripts in order to develop clear profiles of the main players and how their costumes reflect their characters.

“As the designer of a contemporary drama like ‘The Following,’ I want my hand to be invisible. The actors should be clothed as naturally as they inhabit their characters,” says Abma.

“The Following,” which is created and executive produced by Kevin Williamson (“The Vampire Diaries,” “Dawson’s Creek,” and the “Scream” franchise), stars Kevin Bacon in his primetime series debut for which he plays a former FBI agent.

Having worked on a number of cop shows such as “Fringe” and Law & Order: Criminal Intent,” Abma is very familiar with sourcing uniforms and costumes for these types of roles. However, one challenge she faced when she began working on “The Following” (which is three episodes into its first season) was finding a new version of the standard FBI jacket. The jacket that Abma was searching for would need to work for both the males and females on the force, look authentic, feel strong, hold up to a lot of wear and give off a hint of sexiness. Abma was fortunate to find what she was looking for from Spiewak, a uniform maker that has been around for more than a century. She took one of their jackets and modified it for the show by removing the hood, changing the color of the lining as well as the elastic on the neck and sleeve, and then added removable Velcro FBI flaps.

Abma really enjoyed studying the dynamics between the former FBI agent, Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and the notorious serial killer and death row escapee, Joe Carroll (played by James Purefoy).

“You’ve got a very damaged knight in very tarnished armor vs. the silky charismatic serial killer,” describes Abma.

Bacon was very willing to stay true to his character, who dresses as a fairly average NY detective. Hardy is not vain, but rather a bit depressive and therefore not always put together smoothly.
On the other hand, Carroll’s professorial look of tweeds and elegant and sensual fine fabrics, Abma defines as, “Old World heritage.” Unlike Hardy, his clothes are intended to impress, seduce and deceive; and “James [Carroll] wears them very well,” she says.

Given the violent nature of the show and the fact that there are often last minute changes to the script, Abma always makes sure that she has multiples of the costumes as mass producing or even producing a single garment on the fly is just not realistic. As she puts it, “that keeps us scrambling, on our toes and thinking very fresh.”

“The Following” airs every Monday night at 9/8c on FOX.

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