Designing Fear: Jason Voorhees

Turning around to see a figure in the dark and wearing a stark white hockey mask will make any young trick or treater run and scream. Much to the amusement of whoever decided to dress up as Jason on Halloween night. This is Designing Fear: Jason Voorhees

With the spectacular success of John Carpenters, Halloween, everyone in Hollywood was scrambling to create a hit slasher of their own, featuring a new masked killer that would captivate and horrify audiences. Then in 1980, Friday The 13th gave slasher fans a new masked killer to haunt their dreams and destroyed the reputation of hockey masks in society.

However, Jason wasn’t even the killer in the first film of the franchise. The first Friday the 13th, saw Jason’s mother slashing her way through the counselors of camp crystal lake. Only her death at the end of the first movie spurs Jason’s revenge-filled slaughter in the subsequent films. In, 1981, Friday the 13th, part II, he wore a burlap sack with a single eye-hole over his head. While the image is unsettling for the third installment, in 1982, the writers and director Steve Miner wanted Jason to have his own iconic mask.

Surprisingly, a hockey mask wasn’t exactly on their list of terrifying options. The introduction of the hockey mask to film was thanks to Martin Jay Sadoff, the 3D effects supervisor who was an avid hockey fan and had a Detroit Red Wings goalie mask with him. When Miner called for a lighting check, nobody wanted to put make-up on Jason, played by Richard Brooker, so Sadoff offered up his hockey mask. Miner loved it and had the one used in film modeled after it creating one of the most iconic images in cinema.

Friday the 13th movie poster
Richard Brooker as Jason Voorhees
Richard Brooker as Jason Voorhees
(Top) Richard Brooker as Jason Voorhees (Bottom) Paul Kratka as Rick

Want to know more? Check out my sources.

Tyler, Adrienne. “Friday the 13th: How Jason’s Hockey Mask Changes in Each Movie.” ScreenRant, ScreenRant, 14 Feb. 2021, https://screenrant.com/friday-13th-movies-jason-voorhees-mask-differences-explained/.

Delgado, Melissa. “16 Behind the Scenes Secrets from the Friday the 13th Franchise.” TheRichest, 6 Oct. 2016, https://www.therichest.com/entertainment/16-behind-the-scenes-secrets-from-the-friday-the-13th-franchise/.

Tyler, Adrienne. “Why Friday the 13th’s Creators Gave Jason a Hockey Mask.” ScreenRant, 5 May 2021, https://screenrant.com/friday-13th-jason-voorhies-hockey-mask-bts-origins/.

“Jason Voorhees.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Oct. 2021, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jason_Voorhees.

Designing Fear: Michael Myers

A tall, description-less figure seems to be following behind you. But, whenever you turn around, the figure slips just out of sight, causing you to doubt your own vision until the moment that figure is upon you, and in those final moments, you regret not trusting your instincts.

The fear of faceless killers gripped the American imagination through the late 1960s and 70s as a seeming epidemic of serial killers dominated the news cycle. As always, Hollywood responded to this fear with a new kind of horror film, the slasher.

While the origins of slasher films can be found in the high body counts of early Agatha Christy films and the crazed killer in Alfred Hitchcock’s, Psycho and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Many mark John Carpenter’s 1978 Halloween as the first true slasher film. Halloween’s story of teenage babysitters being senselessly murdered by a faceless, unstoppable assailant terrified audiences and established a horror icon, Michael Myers. Halloween’s tale of teenage babysitters being senselessly murdered by a faceless assailant terrified audiences and established a horror icon, Michael Myers.

Halloween (1978) Promotional Poster

The infamous killer is now a Halloween costume staple for those aiming to celebrate the horror genre on the scariest night of the year. Michael Myers’s featureless mask and generic navy blue jumpsuit turn one into the perfect non-descript individual that can blend into the crowd and spook unsuspecting passers-by just as Michael did on the streets of Haddonfield.

Carpenter’s inspiration for the character of Michael Myers came from an experience he had in college, where one of his courses took a trip to a mental institution in Kentucky, and he saw a patient with a “blank, pale, emotionless face and blackest eyes.” This description became the basis for the character, but in the script, he states Michael Myer’s mask has “the grotesque features of a man,” but Carpenter knew they didn’t have the money to create the mask he described. So instead took inspiration from the French film Eyes With Out A Face directed by Georges Franju, deciding that the mask should be blank and featureless. Bringing how he imagined Michael under the mask to the mask, it’s self.

Nick Castle as Michael Myers in Halloween (1978)
Nick Castle as Michael Myers in Halloween (1978)
Nick Castle as Michael Myers in Halloween (1978)

With a budget of only $300,000, Carpenter and his team were forced to get creative with making the mask. More precisely, it was down to production designer Tommy Lee Wallace to bring that blankness, featureless mask to the screen. So Wallace went to a mask shop on Hollywood Boulevard and picked up three options. First, a clown mask to reference the clown costume he wore as a child, the second a Star Trek Spock mask, and the third a William Shatner Captain Kirk mask that he ironically picked out because he thought it didn’t look like anyone in particular. Then after Wallace had modified in under an hour to look precisely as Carpenter described.

Tommy Lee Wallace recreating the Michael Myers mask
Source: (screenrant.com)

In 2014 Wallace demonstrated how he created the original mask during an interview with Sean Clark. The Process boils down to five simple steps.

  • The Captain Kirk Mask
  • Sprayed the Back Hair
  • Remove Side Burn and Eye Brows
  • Widen Eye Openings
  • Spray Paint White

It’s hard to imagine that five simple steps and $1.95 were all it took to create one of the most terrifying and iconic killers in all of horror.

John Michael Graham as Bob (Left) Nick Castle as Michael Myers (Right) in Halloween (1978)

Want to know more? Check out my sources

Cerulli, Mark, director. Halloween: Unmasked. Anchor Bay Entertainment, Inc. , 1999.

Clark, Sean. “Rebuilding the Shape/Halloween Michael Myers … – Youtube.com.” Youtube, Malfuncsean, 3 May 2020, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzhM8Ut3cRc.

Elizabeth, Hilary. “Halloween: 15 Hidden Details about the Horror Movie Costumes You Didn’t Notice.” ScreenRant, ScreenRant, 28 May 2021, https://screenrant.com/halloween-10-hidden-details-horror-movie-costumes-didnt-notice/.

Felthousen-Post, Cyn. “How the Movie ‘Halloween’ Was Made, against All Odds.” Groovy History, 25 Oct. 2019, https://groovyhistory.com/halloween-john-carpenter-making-of.

Hutchinson, Sean. “15 Terrifying Facts about John Carpenter’s Halloween.” Mental Floss, 26 Oct. 2018, https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/59788/15-terrifying-facts-about-john-carpenters-halloween.

Hedash, Kara. “Halloween: The Real Life Story behind Michael Myers’ Mask.” ScreenRant, 19 Oct. 2019, https://screenrant.com/halloween-michael-myers-mask-origin-story/.

Nick Castle on the set of Halloween (1978)
Nick Castle on the set of Halloween (1978)
Nick Castle on the set of Halloween (1978)

2021 Emmys Roundtable – Outstanding Period Costumes

Spencer: Hey Team! Thank you so much for being here. There is SO much great costume design in the Outstanding Period Costumes category this year. I also think it is safe to say Period Costumes is the favorite here at The Art of Costume, so I know you all have many thoughts! Let’s go around and talk about your favorites and why! Let’s start with Mariana, a big fan of period costumes!

Mariana: Hi everyone! Well, where to begin? I am a fan of period pieces, and this year’s nominees filled my heart with pure joy. One of my favorites will be The Queen’s Gambit, designed by Gabriele Binder. There is so much drama and passion in these costumes, which at the same time are accurate to the time period and work brilliantly for storytelling purposes. I love how Beth’s style transforms through the years and cities she visits and tells us who she really is! 

My second favorite will have to be The Crown, designed by Amy Roberts. Every single costume worn on this TV Show has always been a masterpiece, and this season, with Princess Diana’s stunning wedding dress, was beyond what I imagined! 

Spencer: Two brilliant choices Mariana! Let’s hear from Candice next.

Candice: I will say typically, Regency-era costumes are not my favorite. However, I was hooked on Bridgerton when the first trailer was released. Ellen Mirojnick and John W. Glaser’s take and designs on the era have made me reconsider my previous opinions on the time frame. I am a HUGE fan of the Featherington Family and their costumes in particular. The bright, bold colors and embellishments drew me in. A close second would be the costumes designed for the Queen. 

Speaking of Queens, The Queen’s Gambit’s costumes were beyond words. The subtle nods to chess within the costumes were brilliant while conveying the complicated character’s nuances.

This is such a hard category, Ratched was awe-inspiring, and the show with their costume contest saved Halloween during a pandemic while many were unable to be creative with friends. Halloween is my favorite holiday and the costumes that fans re-created during October last year were a testament to Lou Eyrichs’s talent and storytelling through clothes. 

Spencer: Ah yes, Ratched was such a great show. I need it to come back like now… Elizabeth I would love to hear your picks.

Elizabeth: Hello everyone! There were so many good period pieces this year, but I really loved Bridgeton, and the costumes immediately grabbed my attention. The Regency era is a particular favorite of mine, and I loved how Ellen Mirojnick and John W. Glaser truly brought the costumes to life. While the overall style and silhouettes of the costumes remain faithful to the Regency era, the designers fill them with color and embellishments that bring a modern, energetic flare to Bridgeton. 

A close second favorite this year is The Queen’s Gambit. While not the flashy, attention-grabbing drama Bridgeton is, Gabriele Binder creates a thoughtful, meaningful wardrobe that reflects its heroine’s inner passions and feelings. 

Spencer: Bridgerton and The Queen’s Gambit seem quit popular here! Thank you Elizabeth, now I would love to hear from Csilla!

Csilla: Hey Everyone! It is tough to choose just one from this category; all the shows and their costume designers were terrific! But if I had to choose one, my favorite has to be Ratched. That show had such a brilliant color palette, and the costumes from Lou Eyrich were just stunning. I love the end of the 40s, the beginning of the 50s era, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, so I was excited to see the back story of Nurse Ratched. The aesthetic of the whole show was beautiful but dangerous and scary, and these mixed feelings about the characters were present in every silhouette, even in the uniforms. 

My close second favorite is the Queen’s Gambit. I agree with the rest of the team on that completely. Such wonderful designs from Gabriele Binder. 

Spencer: Thank you so much Csilla. Well, I guess it’s my turn!

My favorite costumes within this category are easily to Netflix’s Halston, with costumes designed by Jeriana San Juan. I fell in love with this show, primarily because of the costuming. She had so much ground to cover, so many decades of research, and brought it all together perfectly. The tie-dye collection, ultra-suede shirt dresses, The Battle of Versailles, Studio 54, Martha Graham’s Persephone – there was so much, and every single costume stood strong. On top of all of the brilliant costuming, Jeriana also worked alongside actor Ewan McGregor to teach him the ways of the designer, coaching him through the process of becoming Halston

Halston – Courtesy of Netflix

This is Jeriana’s year in my opinion, but I am still in love with every other nominated show in this category – literally, all of them were amazing. It’s a tough call!

Thank you all so much for joining me! I can’t wait to see how this all plays out!

Vote For Your Favorite Period Costumes Below!

2021 Emmys Roundtable – Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes

Spencer: Hey Team! Thank you so much for being here. There is SO much great costume design in the Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes category this year. On a personal note, this is always my favorite category, so I am just beyond excited. Let’s go around and talk about your favorites, and why! Let’s start with Candice!

Candice: I loved Lovecraft Country. Dayna Pink’s costumes are genius. It was the only reason I paid for an HBO subscription. 

WandaVision was another favorite of mine. I usually am not a fan of the ’70s, but I am obsessed with Geraldine’s 70’s ensemble from episode 3. However, I loved it even more after listening to Spencer and Elizabeth’s podcast. I never noticed the subtle hints through costume when I watched it each week. I had many “Oh My, how did I miss that” moments when listening to the podcast.  

Umbrella Academy is a top favorite of mine.  The oddball characters were brilliantly executed. I need every costume designed for Kate Walsh, the Handler, in my closet now. Christopher Hargadon did a great job!

Spencer: Candice, I couldn’t agree more. All of your picks were so fun! Now I would love to hear from Elizabeth. You and I share a great love for Fantasy/Sci-Fi! What were some of your favorites this year?

Elizabeth: Hey everyone! My personal favorite this year has to be WandaVision. While it’s not a classic Sci-Fi show in visual terms, the costumes in WandaVision help tell a complex story of how we process grief. In its nominated episode, Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience, Wanda is in the denial stage of her grief and is creating her idealized version of the perfect 1950’s sitcom. The costumes are soft with full fluffy skirts, frilly aprons, and feathery lingerie create a cocoon for Wanda, sheltering her from her grief. Mayes C. Rubeo truly turns emotions into costume and I love that about WandaVsion

WandaVision – Courtesy of Disney +

Spencer: Such a great point Elizabeth. WandaVision was filled with so much symbolism.

For me, I am a HUGE fan of Dayna Pink and her work on Lovecraft Country. This was by far one of my favorite shows of the year, and I thought Dayna did such an incredible job. Dayna not only mastered the 1950’s period costume, but she also had to work with lots of time traveling – exploring the 1920’s, The Korean War, The Kingdom of Dahomey, and the future! Not to mention all of the horror elements that led to much aging and dyeing of costumes. I would personally love to see Dayna win this year’s award.

However, we all know I am a huge nerd. I LOVED WandaVision – it gave me so much life. I also was obsessed with the second season of The Mandalorian. Shawna Trpcic has such an exciting task, bringing to life so many characters we love in animated worlds such as Ahsoka Tano or bringing back huge fan favorites such as Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker. This is a tough category.

Spencer: Thank you both for joining me! Before you go, do you have any good sci-fi /fantasy shows or films to recommend?

Candice: I recommend and loved The Nevers. It is period mixed with SciFi. The Victorian-inspired costumes and setting are as intriguing as the storyline. I want to rewatch The Witcher before the premiere of Season 2. I love Motherland: Fort Salem on Free Form. The story of witches is told from a different angle, witch militia, working with the military and against other witches. Stranger Things season 1-3 if you haven’t watched it and have to wait an eternity like the rest of us for the next season. I am currently watching and enjoying Fantasy Island. Each guest who visits the island learns the fantasy they want is different than what they need. 

Elizabeth: I can not recommend Doom Patrol enough! It’s SciFi and superheroes dialed to a hundred with a great balance of comedy and drama. Also, the costumes are diverse and interesting in every episode.
Spencer: If you are not watching What We Do In The Shadows, you are seriously missing out. The new season is out, and costume designer Laura Montgomery is doing a fabulous job! Check it out!

Vote For Your Favorite Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes Below!

Looney Costuming with ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ Costume Designer, Melissa Bruning

When the opportunity came to me to interview Space Jam: A New Legacy costume designer, Melissa Bruning, I immediately said yes! Look, I grew up on the first Space Jam. I remember often camping out in the backyard as a kid. My father would always wheel out the tiniest tv with a VHS player, leaving it up to my brother and me on what movies we would watch. My choices were always The Fifth Element (one of the greatest films of all time) or the original Space Jam with Michael Jordan! So obviously, when Space Jam: A New Legacy came out, I was stoked!

I get it; when you think of Space Jam, costume design probably wasn’t the first thing to cross your mind. Rabbit season, duck season, basketball, Martians, Tweety Bird… what role could costume design really play in this film? In this week’s episode of The Art of Costume Blogcast, Elizabeth Joy Glass and I sat down with costume designer Melissa Bruning to talk about her work on Space Jam: A New Legacy.

Melissa told us her immediate response to the initial outreach over being costume designer of Space Jam: A New Legacy was “hell yes!” Imagine the opportunity! While she was, of course, excited, there was a task ahead. This task would be pretty daunting for any costume designer, giving the “Toon Squad” basketball uniforms a modern redesign. I asked Melissa about this task and her relationship with the animators. “They were my best buddies,” says Melissa and continued to say the main concern was that “not only would the uniform [have to] look good on Lebron, it had to look good on the toons.”

Looney Tunes in new uniforms by Melissa Bruning - Space Jam: A New Legacy
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

Melissa had to take a lot of things into consideration when creating the concept. While “Daffy Duck could pretty much wear anything, same with Granny,” not all of the Looney Tunes look great in whites or orange. Remember, the Looney Tunes play basketball in the crazy, video-game-like world of the Serververse… so it is very dark with bright neon accents. With that being said, Melissa and the team settled on the blue color with a new, modern twist of the classic Warner Bros. circle. The new uniforms incorporate all of the same elements of the traditional uniforms while breathing a new modern life into them.

Images of Tune Squad uniforms.. Illustration by Christain Cordella. Photos Courtesy of Melissa Bruning

There were many fun costumes we saw on screen, such as Lebron James appearing in the crazy world of “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “The Matrix,” and the 1942 film “Casablanca.”

Costume Concept Illustrations for the various looks of LeBron James by artist, Christain Cordella

There were costumes made for so many other of our favorite movies and television shows. But one that got away still hurts my heart! Elizabeth and I thought to ourselves, wouldn’t it be cool if we saw Lebron James as a Game of Thrones character? Turns out, the costume was made, but it didn’t make it on screen. My heart! “It was a replica we had made of The Hound from Game of Thrones. It was amazing. We did three fittings in it, and it was heavy as hell,” said Melissa Bruning. Elizabeth and I both screamed, “OH MY GOD!”.

LeBron James in armor inspired by Game of Thrones. Illustration by Christain Cordella. Photo Courtesy of Melissa Bruning

Imagine reading on the script as a costume designer,  ‘all of the Warner Bros. villains show up to watch the game’. Where do you even start? Melissa told us she “tried to clear about 250 different categories”. If you look closely, you’ll see Batman villains, Lord Voldemort, The Wicked Witch of The East, Baby Jane Hudson, and Pennywise the Clown from “It.” I could write an entire article on all of the characters seen in this film. “I had one separate costume shop and one separate assistant who, for about 15 weeks, was just making background,” said Melissa Bruning.

The wonderful Don Cheadle played Al-G, a rogue A.I. The costumes on Don’s character were some of the more fun costumes we saw; Elizabeth even mentioned they were her favorite!  While you might think costuming Looney Tunes would be the more difficult part of the job, Melissa had a different idea. “I think that the Al-G clothes were the hardest of the movie. What does an algorithm wear?” Melissa decided to focus on things that would make Al-G “shiny,” concentrate on circuitry and sparkle, like the sparkly tracksuit. But also, Al-G adapted to the different personalities relevant to the situation, such as a studio head or a Hall of Fame coach. “He would do whatever was the most pleasing for whoever was looking at him,” said Melissa.

Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

The costume design process behind Space Jam: A New Legacy was incredibly fascinating. For more behind-the-scenes details about the film, please enjoy our interview with costume designer Melissa Bruning. She goes into detail on her ideas behind the uniforms, working with Lebron James, and all of the crazy cameos that took place!  That’s all folks!

Now available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube, or wherever you get your podcasts!

Costume Design at the Emmys – The Art of Costume Roundtable

Spencer: Hi everyone! Thank you for being here. Congratulations on joining The Art of Costume team!  With everything considered, It’s been an excellent year for costume design – specifically in the world of television. The Emmys are right around the corner and there are so many excellent designers nominated within the costume design categories. I know I can speak for all of us when I say each and every one of these designers are incredibly talented and all just as deserving of an Emmy this year. First I would like to hear from each of you why you wanted to join the team and have there been any shows this year that have left an impression on you? Csilla, why don’t you go first?

Csilla: Thank you, Spencer. I am currently studying costume design, and I wanted to join the team to be among other like-minded people and share our love of costume. Euphoria has been on my mind ever since I first watched it. The whole concept and visual world of the series feel very close to my heart. Unorthodox hits on a different emotional level. I spent the first few minutes concentrating just on the costumes of the show. I was uncertain what period this story was taking place in, and it made the whole concept of the isolation so striking. The wedding scene was so beautiful, uncomfortable, and terrifying to watch. I am a huge fan of both of these series. 

Spencer: I totally agree with you Csilla. Especially when it comes to Euphoria-that show was so good I still find myself thinking about the costumes, colors, makeup, music… everything! Elizabeth, how about you?

Elizabeth: I studied costume design in college and I also joined the Art of Costume team to share my love and admiration for costumes with others. This year’s nominees are incredible; there were three that stood out to me, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Carnival Row, and Unorthodox. The costumes brought you into worlds that we don’t typically see or create a new one in Carnival Row’s case. 

Spencer: It’s so good to have you with us Elizabeth. Candice, turning it over to you.

Candice:  I have always loved costume design and used to scrapbook every magazine article about costume designers I would come across. I wanted to join the team to share my love of costume design, like Csilla, with like-minded people. Schitt’s Creek was amazing and as I re-watch the series I fall in love with the costumes even more. Carnival Row was visually stunning and while watching that series, I remember just saying out loud to myself just how much I loved the costumes each episode. The episode from Killing Eve that was nominated was my favorite episode in terms of costumes from the entire season. Of course, I also want to recreate every look from the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.

Spencer: I couldn’t agree with you more when it comes to Schitt’s Creek, but we will get into that a little later! Last but not least, Jada I would love to hear from you.

Jada: It’s so important to surround yourself with people who can challenge and push you to try new things and be the best that you can be. That is what The Art of Costume does! I’ve learned so much from the team and can’t wait to see what’s in store. My connection to costume design is that it’s been a part of me ever since I was younger. I went from making my own Halloween costumes to being on the theater costume crew. Ironically this has been a great year for television especially since most of us have been quarantining and were able to binge-watch so many series over the last few months. Even though I haven’t seen some of the shows nominated, the costumes from Euphoria, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Pose, and Schitt’s Creek has definitely left me intrigued and wanting to binge all of them! 

Pose, Season 2

Spencer: Thank you Jada, and thank you to all of you for being here. I can’t tell you how happy I am to be having this discussion with each of you. We really have created a great team, and I am so thrilled about our future together. Well, let’s get started then! We are going to go through each of the four costume design award categories. First, let’s talk about the Outstanding Period Costumes category. What a fabulous lineup of shows! The Crown, Hollywood, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Mrs.America, and Pose. Any thoughts?

Elizabeth: I started and finished The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel this year and couldn’t believe I had waited so long to watch it. The story of Midge Maisel trying to shake conventions of the fifties to live her own life is fascinating and engaging, but the costumes bring you into her world. With many period pieces, the costumes can act as props to tell you when and where you are. But with Mrs. Maisel, the costumes are a huge part of what brings you into her world with eye-catching designs and bright colors that tell you everything you need to know about that scene and the characters in it. 

Candice: I loved the Old Hollywood take on the 1940’s costumes in Hollywood. The color palettes and silhouettes of the era that were used made the entire season visually stunning. The attention to detail on recreating as close as possible the historic events that are infused into the story-line as well as designing the fictional narratives still staying true to the era and glamour of that time. The ’70s is usually my least favorite era, but the costumes in Mrs. America have made me reconsider that particular stance. 

Jada: Although I haven’t seen The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel I have read about it, including Candice’s article on the costume design, and must I say that the costumes are absolutely marvelous! The 1950s-1960s era of fashion is hands down my favorite era of all time and Donna Zakowska does a fantastic job of bringing that to this show. I love how the costumes are so vibrant and lively. You can really tell how much thought and creativity goes into each one of the looks.

Spencer: Lots of love for Donna Zakowska and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in this group. I love it! Personally, I had two favorites this year, The Crown and Pose. I thought the costumes for The Crown this season were just incredible. Amy Roberts did a wonderful job. I can go on and on about the perfection that was the wardrobe for Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret. I think that was the best part of the whole show honestly! Then, of course, I love Pose. Analucia McGorty blew me away once again with the costumes for Pose. They remain true to the NYC Ballroom scene of the early ’90s, yet they always feel new, exciting, couture, and inspiring.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Now it’s time for the Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes, my personal favorite. Carnival Row, The Mandalorian, Westworld, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Watchmen. Does anyone have any favorites?

Elizabeth: With Carnival Row, being an original screenplay with no source material to compare it to, costume designer Joanna Eatwell helped create a whole new world. The look is entirely original with rich colors and attention to unique details while still grounded in reality with silhouettes influenced by late-Victorian and Edwardian fashion. 

Candice: I agree with Elizabeth. I loved Carnival Row’s mix of period pieces and fantasy. It did a great job of cohesively blending the designs and species of the characters. When it is a fantasy show, you do not have to be historically accurate in the period pieces used and I love how they incorporated the Edwardian Fashions. The Handmaid’s Tale’s costumes evoke such strong emotions with the colors and design. 

Jada: I spent most of my childhood time playing Stars Wars Battlefront with my cousin. With that being said The Mandalorian would have been one of my top choices, but I’m going to go with The Handmaid’s Tale. I love how iconic the red cape look is. There’s so much research that goes into the costumes in this show to display the character’s emotions. Even the smallest of details add so much meaning.

Spencer: Jada we totally got to link up and play some Star Wars Battlefront sometime. I am the best pilot in Pasadena *laughs*. This category is also another hard one. I am undecided once again, between Westworld and The Handmaid’s Tale. Shay Cunliffe had the incredible task of not only dressing a futuristic, more fashionable world- she also had to turn back time and develop costumes for an entire simulated world based upon Nazi-occupied Italy during World War II. From beginning to end, the costumes for Westworld are just…beyond. Then there is The Handmaid’s Tale, designed by one of my favorites, Natalie Bronfman. The costumes of The Handmaid’s Tale are imperative to the story. I love the costumes for this show so much because they are so symbolic, through their silhouettes, colors, textures. The Handmaid’s Tale serves as a masterclass when it comes to storytelling through costume design.

Westworld, Season 3

Moving on to Outstanding Contemporary Costumes. This is the most packed category of them all in my opinion. Euphoria, black-ish, Grace and Frankie, Schitt’s Creek, Killing Eve, Unorthodox, and The Politician. I mean, there are so many good shows!

Csilla: For me, Euphoria stood out the most. There was an amazing collaboration between the costume and makeup department, they truly created something unique and the whole show played on a different, fresh perspective. The stories of these teenagers were beautifully present through the evolution of their styles. I really enjoyed this stylized version of contemporary fashion. I loved every frame of that show, so fingers crossed for them!

Elizabeth: Every nominee in this category is incredible. However, the costumes of Unorthodox caught my eye immediately. With so much of the story taking place within a New York City Hasidic community where the way of life is vastly different from most viewers. While it could be hard to bring people into that world without exposition; however, Unorthodox manages to do just that. The costume is a huge part of this, with no detail of the community’s stringent dress code or its religious significance overlooked. This accuracy tells you immediately who the people in this community are and what is important to them.   

Candice: This is a hard category for me because I loved the brilliance of Schitt’s Creek and how the costumes truly defined the characters. Unorthodox allowed us to see into a community that we normally would not be allowed access. The details that went into making sure that the Hasidic Jewish community was represented correctly while still working to convey a visually compelling story is a true testament to the costume designer’s talent. I love the character’s costumes in Grace and Frankie and how each one has their own distinct style but they still blend together in this hodge-podge of a group that wouldn’t normally gather together except for their circumstance and family. The Politician truly redefined the “Power Suit”. Black-ish is iconic and whenever I watch the series, it makes me wish I could be as cool as costume designer, Michelle R. Cole, and the characters she designs. 

Jada: This category is so hard because each show brings something new and interesting to the table. Black-ish introduces heavy topics yet always brings comedic relief. Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda’s chemistry in Grace and Frankie is everything I need and more! However, my vote goes to Euphoria. I love the idea that Euphoria challenges societal norms in fashion. The costumes are so aesthetically pleasing with a striking balance between fantasy/illusion and contemporary design. You can’t forget the makeup looks! They’re so bold yet deep and convey messages about each character’s feelings and personalities.

Spencer: Okay I can hardly wait to talk about Schitt’s Creek. Schitt’s Creek is one is of my favorite shows. The costumes play a large role in that choice. Debra Hanson, the costume designer for Schitt’s Creek, has such an eye and really brought these fascinating characters to life. I am such a fan, and I personally would love to see the finale season of this show celebrated at the Emmys. I also want to mention costume designers Claire and Lily Parkinson who served as costume designers for The Politician. I will forever be obsessed with the colorful wardrobe created for this show, specifically for characters Dede Standish and Hadassah Gold (Judith Light and Bette Midler). They deserve awards for those costumes alone! Finally, Euphoria was beyond fantastic. The costume design of Euphoria by Heidi Bivens captured the street style trends of today’s youth so perfectly. Years from now when e are looking back at this time, we will refer to Euphoria to explore fashion trends of the decade and I assume these costumes will be setting trends for the years to come.

Schitt’s Creek

Finally, let’s move into the Outstanding Costumes For A Variety, Nonfiction Or Reality Program. This category includes Dancing With The Stars, Drunk History, The Masked Singer, RuPaul’s Drag Race, and Saturday Night Live.

Jada: I’ve watched Dancing with the Stars and Saturday Night Live ever since I was young. I love how fun, expressive, and representative Rupaul’s Drag Race is. One of the major parts of the show is the costumes, which makes it an even tougher decision. But if I had to choose, I would vote for The Masked Singer. The time and effort put into each and every one of these one-of-a-kind costumes is extraordinary. Plus the ability to make each of the costumes ready to perform in takes a lot of talent. Their hard work has definitely paid off.

Candice: It is truly fascinating, how the Dancing with the Stars’ costume designers can create such beautiful costumes that have to work on a dance / technical level in such a short period of time and how those costumes perfectly convey the contestants’ themes before a note of music or dance step is even performed. However, I did love Drunk History’s episode Fame, as it was one of my favorite episodes. The simplistic design of the unitard costume representing, Masterpiece, the poodle,  worn by Ken Marino, and the Catwoman scene was comedic gold.

Spencer: I always have a special place in my heart for RuPaul’s Drag Race and the work of Zaldy Goco. However, this year I have to agree with Jada on this one. Marina Toybina’s costume design work for The Masked Singer is beyond impressive. So much work goes into these costumes. These characters that Marina has had to make are so creative and innovative, then she takes these unique ideas and turns them into fully functional performance-based costumes. So much technology is infused within them. The textiles are extravagant. Everything about these costumes just brings me such joy. I am in awe and I think it would be so deserving of Marina to take home the Emmy this year.

The Masked Singer

 Well, team, this has been so fun! Thank you again for joining me. I am so blessed to have you all apart of the team, and I look forward to the great work we will do together. Most of all, thank you to the readers for following along with us. We are beyond thrilled for all of these talented costume designers and are cheering on each and every designer nominated this year. See you all at The Emmys!


Thank you to The Art of Costume contributors, Csilla, Elizabeth, Candice, and Jada for joining me. Get to know the extended team by clicking here!