March 13, 2017
Costume Designer Molly Maginnis describes her approach when designing Amazon’s Patriot as restrained, because she wants the character to speak. The show is a high stakes political drama cloaked in the ordinariness of a Midwestern industrial piping company. Maginnis took pleasure in avoiding the cliché of over-the-top costumes, using subtlety and detail to evoke larger concepts.
John Tavner (Michael Dorman) is an undercover intelligence officer disguised as a mid-level employee tasked with the formidable assignment of stopping Iran from utilizing nuclear weapons. Maginnis explains, “We decided from the onset that John is a bit of a chameleon. In the factory you see him disguised in typical shirt and tie combinations with suits. But when you see the true John, we used worn out plaid shirts, rock and roll T-shirts, and a wonderful green cable sweater with holes. That was really a metaphor for his true self.”
Color was pivotal in a shoot that leapt from Milwaukee to Prague. Maginnis used medium values strategically to evoke the men of the Rust Belt steel mill. In Washington D.C., she ventured into sharper, darker shapes with higher contrast. In Europe she used darker colors and crisper silhouettes for a more chic, refined look.
Maginnis also found inspiration in her resourceful team. When she happened upon a picture of a brown, leather pork pie, she knew it would be perfect for the sinister character of Jack Birdbath (Tony Fitzpatrick). She was delighted when her crew found the exact hat. Maginnis was also was thrilled to work with writer, director, and creator Steve Conrad. She says, “Steve was a really inspiring because he is a deep thinker. He spoke to me metaphorically about characters and we’d take off from there. Also, the actors were marvelous, skilled professionals. I’m really happy how it came out.”