When buying for the show, do you shop by character or do you shop by item?
It goes both ways, like I’ll just see something and think that is Jessica or that’s Donna. Then there’ll be other things like this I bought with that beautiful grey dress and I just wanted something rich and beautiful to wear with it. So this popped up and I said, “Hey! Let’s get that one!” And then other ones. I just collect and they’ll end up on somebody later. Like this one I bought a few couple of years ago and just started using it on Gina. It’s so beautiful, look at the insides because it’s all ribbon in there. It’s just gorgeous.
For me luxury items support the middle class. And so economically and worldwide, I think it’s a beautiful thing that luxury is something that we’re promoting to support the middle class to make it stronger, and society stronger, and saving artwork.
Is there a designer you lean towards more typically or a designer that never fails you?
No because they change so much. Like Gucci, I just pulled out some old Gucci from two years ago and I realized that year I was using so much Gucci because it was just right for the show. Now it’s gone very hippy and so I can’t. Dior I insanely love. That I would say the new designer brought in a lot of younger, trying to get younger clients in and so the hemlines became too short. The designs were beautiful, but the hemlines became too short. If I could afford it I’d buy two and put them together and make them longer but that wasn’t always.
Giambattista Valli, love for quite a few years and he loves the show. But this again it’s all art pieces and belong on a 12 year old. [laughing] But J. Mendel was very strong this year and for when I went to New York on a buying trip and I was really struggling to find good stuff. And so I hit the J. Mendel store, their flagship store and I was like, “I’ll take that, I’ll take that, I’ll take that, I’ll take that.”
What kind of budget do you get?
I get a good budget. I didn’t start the budget because I came in on the fourth episode so it was already established from a previous designer. But I would say it’s the best one I’ve ever worked with. And I think they accommodate that because they show the wealth of that class through the women. And when I first started the first year, the dresses I bought for $2,000 are now easily $4,000-5,000, that’s how quick over the last five years that it’s just climbed up, absolutely crazy. So then you buy pieces from LANVIN which you know you would think that LANVIN is expensive but I think this was around $2,500 or something.
And as an example I put these together. This was a short sleeve LANVIN … short sleeves are good sometimes so I put this on.
So is your job very similar to that of a fashion magazine where you have to pull a rack of clothes for one actress or model and have them just try it on and whichever one works is it?
I would say that I’ll pull a rack, but I’ll pull one and start collecting two. If I’m, just out even for a day player, because I probably dress 90% of what goes on camera. So if I’m out looking in different stores and you see something unique and just start collecting.
What has been the biggest, because earlier we were listening to the actors and stuff and they were talking about script changes and stuff like that, so what has been the quickest thing that you’ve had to? When did you find out and then when did you get everything?
I found out on Wednesday.
And it’s filming today? [this interview happened on a Friday, just to give an idea of the turnaround time she was working with.]
Found out on Wednesday, had the fittings on Thursday, yesterday, and it’s being altered.
So a day to pull everything together?
A wedding together.
So is it all bought or is it borrowed as well?
I don’t like to borrow because that’s the one thing I don’t have – the power to owe people things. And it gets too complicated.
So how big is your team?
I have a great team of 10. And then extra when we have huge days. Like today we’ve got two new units, but the core team is 10. I have the best seamstresses. I’ve ever worked with, and my mom is a seamstress so it’s like she’s so … We were doing the wedding dress fitting here with the wedding dress seamstress and they’re like molasses for one thing. We’re like, “Come on, we gotta get out and get it on.” And then it’s like, “No we can’t do that” and I’m like, “Oh, we can. We can do that.”
But normal people, even for bridal you’d think they would change anything to make a bride happy or content so we’re actually getting it. They’ve made the alterations but we’re getting it and we’re going to re-alter it because they couldn’t. There’s one thing they just couldn’t and I was like, “Oh we can do it!”
And what happens when the season is over? Are you working for next season or …?
Oh yeah I’m always daydreaming about it and thinking, especially for Gina, because as you guys know she’s always called herself a show pony. She wears fashion insanely well and can translate it, so again, I’m really trying to work more and more. It’s about cross marketing. So the more I can have a content of designers working with designers that have their stuff in stores, and if I can do that beforehand so I can get it on the show and do late work to get it on the show while it’s in stores, it’s quite difficult. So we can just bring those two worlds together hopefully sooner than later and stronger and stronger. It already is moving in that direction.
Is there a show right now who’s fashions you really admire?
I’m a period girl. I watch period television so “Penny Dreadful” who I love. Contemporary pieces, I don’t watch a lot of contemporary TV which is sad because I know I wanted to start watching “Scandal” because I know they’re compared to us. And sorry I love “Vikings.” [laughing] Any of those you know “Da Vinci’s Code” they do beautiful work.
Stay tuned for the remaining interviews. If you missed the previous ones, they are linked below for easy access.