“One of the elements we worked with all departments was contrast,” explains costume designer Lou Eyrich about the collaboration that led to the dramatic looks in Netflix’s musical “The Prom.” “Some of it was subtle, some of it was lighting, some of it was literally the set decorating with our clothing … That was fun, I’d never worked that way before.” Eyrich joined us for our “Meet the Experts” costume design panel to discuss the work that went into the extravagant production. Watch our interview above.
The stage version of “The Prom” premiered on Broadway in 2018, telling the story of a group of self-involved actors who try to improve their image by coming to the defense of a small-town teenager fighting for the right to take her girlfriend to prom. The film version is directed by Ryan Murphy, who wanted to hit a “refresher button” when it came to the costumes: “He had a very strong color palette he wanted to follow. We were all huge fans of the Broadway production, but we did our own thing entirely.”
Eyrich also made an effort to differentiate between the ostentatious glamor of the big-city actors (played in the film by Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman and Andrew Rannells) and the more down-to-Earth Midwestern townspeople: “Ryan wanted to really make sure we showed a division between the people coming from Manhattan and Broadway coming to this small town in Indiana,” but in Ryan Murphy’s world, even the relative simplicity of an Indiana high school came to life with a little extra showmanship in the design. “We tried to make it interesting to watch,” says Eyrich, “like reality, but with a little kick.”
The veteran costume designer worked closely with the cast, especially since their luxe looks had to be compatible with their choreography, “and I think maybe the highlight of my career was watching Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep dancing in the fitting room with all their moves and kicking their feet.” But Eyrich has a number of other career highlights as well, winning five Emmys so far for her work with Murphy on the small screen (three for “American Horror Story” and two for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace“). Just this year she earned a pair of Emmy bids for her work on both “The Politician” and “Hollywood.” Could an Oscar be next?
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