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Costume Designers Honored And Exhibited At FIDM Event

BY: Marjorie Galas, Editor

On July 19th, the Television Academy hosted their annual Costume Design Nominee Reception, presenting certificates to the Emmy nominees recognized in the categories of Outstanding Costumes for a Series and Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special. The recognition event was held in conjunction with the kick of the opening of the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising’s eighth annual “The Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design” exhibition.

Producers, actors, costume designers and other distinguished guests mingled and viewed one hundred costumes from twenty of this year’s Emmy nominated programs. Included in the exhibit were costumes from “True Detective”, “The Trip to Bountiful”, “Masters of Sex”, “Parenthood”, “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” While many of the nominated designers were on location and unable to accept their certificates in person, “Mad Men” nominee Janie Bryant and “Once Upon A Time” nominee Eduardo Castro stepped forward to receive a well-deserved round of applause.

The greatest joy of this exhibit is having the opportunity to inspect the costumes up-close. Placed upon completely white mannequins with white paper hair that captures an essence of the character’s appearance, there are no distractions from these works of art. Below is a sample of some of this reviewer’s favorite discoveries:

Downton Abbey: Eight costumes were on display featuring the work of jewelry designer Andrew Prince and Emmy –nominated costume designer Caroline McCall. Along with floral embellishments created out of material including beads, sequins and embroidery was an interlocking curve around the bottom of one gown constructed out of multi colored bits of fabric that formed blossoms, buds, stems and leaves. The deco inspired jewelry perfectly offset the embellishments fashioned throughout the gown while maintaining their own signature.

Breaking Bad: Although costume designer Jennifer L. Bryan only worked on the show’s final two seasons, her creations helped define the metamorphosis each character experienced as Heisenberg’s identity came to light. On display were Skyler’s blue skirt, designed to billow with the currents of the water when she jumped into the pool, the pest control uniform complete with “Vaminos Pest” decals, and Heisenberg’s hat; a cross between a pork pie and a bowler.

American Horror Story – Coven: Costume designer Lou Eyrich has received her third nomination for the costumes in Coven (her previous noms were for “Glee”). The hems in the sleeves and the skirts are meticulous; however a true marvel comes in the red gloves created for Myrtle Snow (Frances Conroy). Mimicking the red roses printed on the white shall, the edging on the gloves opens like a flower.

Orange is the New Black: Costume designer Jennifer Rogien has turned prison clothing into a fashion statement by highlighting the unique qualities of the characters that wear them. Kate Mulgrew’s Red has her name boldly stitched above her kitchen uniform pocket, with a strong red line stitched along the pocket’s cuff. Pennsatucky’s (Taryn Manning) sweatshirt has overly long sleeves and hood while the bodice is only slightly baggy, presenting an appearance as unbalanced as the characters.

Sleepy Hollow: When viewed up close, one can see where costume designer Kristin Burke has distressed the fabric in Ichabod Crane’s (Tim Mison) jacket. The shoulders are completely worn, as well as the edging along the jackets seems and cuffs.

The Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design is now open to the public and will be on view through September 20th, 2014. The exhibition is free, and guided tours are available upon request. For more information, please contact the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising at: