Here’s a dirty little secret about costume designers: They’re, by their own admission, rude. “I think costume designers are like the rudest people out there ever,” Christine Bieselin Clark (“Star Trek: Picard”) joked during Gold Derby’s Meet the BTL Experts: Costume Design panel (watch above). “We’re constantly in other people’s business. They’re like, ‘Why are you staring at me?’”
That’s because costume designers might often find more inspiration in life than in a costume house. “People are our biggest research as well, life itself. Sometimes I see the funniest looking people and I think, ‘Oh my God! If I tried to produce that character onscreen, people would look at me like I’m crazy,’” Johnetta Boone (“Yellowstone”) added during the panel, which also featured Sarah Evelyn (“Hollywood”), Leigh Leverett (“Patsy & Loretta”) and Marina Toybina (“The Masked Singer”). “But then you realize that’s a perfect character for some show that you’re doing and you’re like, ‘Where’s that photograph?!’ I sneak photos of people sometimes as they’re walking down the street.”
And when it comes time to make an outfit, sometimes the quest to find the perfect fabric is a complete bust. The solution? They make their own material, requiring them to go beyond what you’d typically think of costume design to be with needles and sewing machines.
“It’s so much more than that because then we’re learning the skill of 3D printing, then we’re learning the skill of fabrications with any kind of element that’s not fabric — with foams, with wires, all these things — that technically are not part of sewing, and they’re not part of even what I learned in school,” Toybina pointed out. “I didn’t know that costume design could extend to so many avenues. What we have to do is pretty phenomenal. I would say probably 90 percent of the time, nothing exists of what we’re trying to create. That’s 10 percent of luck and 90 percent of truly research science, collaborating with people, artists on their own.”
Watch each of our individual chats with each costume designer by clicking their names below:
Be sure to make your Emmy nominations predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before the nominees are announced on July 28. And join in the thrilling debate over the Emmy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.