“Jane the Virgin”
November 28, 2014
In the CW television series, “Jane the Virgin,” star Gina Rodriguez is a religious Latina teenager whose life takes a dramatic turn when she is accidentally artificially inseminated with a specimen meant for someone else. Ooops.
To make matters worse, Jane has been “saving herself” for marriage to her fiancé, Michael (Brett Dier), and works for the handsome hotel owner Rafael Solano (Justin Baldoni), who is the biological father. Now Jane’s life is as complicated as the telenovelas that Jane and her mother, Xiomara (Andrea Navedo) and her devout grandmother, Alba (Ivonne Coll) adore.
Set in Miami, the one-hour comedy is as colorful as the plot and the tropical city, allowing Costume Designer Rachel Sage Kunin a lot of latitude.
“I try to paint a picture through color to set a mood, but I try not to use color to depict a specific characteristic,” Kunin said via email. Though Jane sometimes wears white fabrics splotched with dark patterns, Kunin advised against reading too much into the choice.
“I use white because it’s Miami and hot weather,” she said. “I never put her in white to purposefully represent her virginity. I’ve always seen Jane as more than a promise to maintain her virginity until marriage. Yes, it’s the title of the show and that’s a very important facet, but it’s not the total of who she is. I rather like the idea of using white on her to set a mood of new beginnings and change.”
Miami, a vibrant city known for its embrace of vivid colors and flamboyant style, sets the tone of the show, said Kunin, who uses color as part of the storytelling.
Each character has a color palette as do the show’s two distinct worlds–Jane’s and Rafael’s. Kunin said Jane’s world is warmer, and more grounded, where Rafael’s is colder and reflects more affluence.
“As the worlds collide, so do the color palettes,” Kunin said. Some characters, such as Rogelio, a famous telenovela star, plays the lead in “The Passions of Santos.” As Santos, he always has lavender in his costume, even if he’s playing a pirate, a poor fisherman, a playboy or even a military general.
“As other telenovela stars make an appearance, they, too are assigned a color. Ultimately, it lends itself well to the over-the-top, heightened-reality telenovela world we’re creating,” Kunin said.
To make the subliminal color message work, the crew has to be in frequent contact.
“The production designer, Cynthia Charette, and I communicate all the time. She’s wonderful about sending me paint swatches for new sets, always keeping me informed of what she’s up to. I send her my link to see the costumes for each episode. I couldn’t ask for a better visual partner,” Kunin said.
In future episodes, Kunin also will have an additional wardrobe challenge: Jane’s baby bump. Fans are already commenting online about how and when Jane’s style is going to change, but all Kunin is saying for now is, “Jane is very grounded in who she is, but I do see her developing her style as she’s introduced to new experiences.”
“Jane the Virgin” airs Mondays on the CW at 8/9 p.m. CT.