“Grace and Frankie”
June 19, 2015
From the moment they step on screen, you know that Grace and Frankie are not a match made in heaven. They are, perhaps, a match to each other’s bonfire.
In the Netflix series, “Grace and Frankie,” creators Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris, put women of retirement age front and center, but keep them dignified in startling circumstances.
Renewed for a second season, the series stars Jane Fonda as Grace Hanson and Lily Tomlin as Frankie Bergstein. They’re polar-opposite rivals with adult children who discover that their law-partner husbands want to get married — to each other.
The show is a study in contrasts. While Fonda’s Grace is a picture of Neiman-Marcus perfection, Tomlin’s Frankie is a free-spirited artist with money.
Costume Designer Allyson Fanger looked to the style of cultural icons such as artists Judy Chicago and Agnes Varda, and fashion trendsetters Linda Rodin, Iris Apfel and Marcy Tilton.
“I didn’t want Frankie to feel like a cliché of a Bohemian hippie lady. We needed to set her apart. That’s why I went to all these artist women,” Fanger said.
She refined Frankie’s look with a specific palette and a German concept, “lagenlook,” which means “layered look.” The Studio City boutique, Layered, is a source for some of her clothes and accessories.
“Her palette of colors are all colors found in the earth or in a sunset sky, to connect her with her inherent spiritual vibe and earthy, grounded connection,” Fanger said. A hand-dyed Harari tunic in beige and light blue resembles the colors of a beach, which has a big presence in the story.
Fanger looked for pieces that revealed an artistic, handmade approach. A favorite? “I found this linen tunic that this woman artist had dyed with rust. She found a rusty thing of water and tied it up in knots. It was wearable art,” Fanger said.
Frankie’s statement jewelry has received unexpected attention. Fanger scoured online for artist’s websites and etsy to uncover one-of-a-kind pieces that showed a connection to earthy elements. “If Frankie were going to make jewelry, these are the kinds of pieces she would make. She’d probably be close friends with the jewelry maker,” Fanger said.
Fanger continues her search for handmade pieces with an interesting backstory and distinctive look for Fonda’s Grace, too.
“I got to help tell their story through their clothes. Everybody relates to these characters so much because they see themselves in them or someone they know,” Fanger said. “That’s a reason to keep these pieces so personal.”
“Grace and Frankie” is available on Netflix.