From Blood-Red Gowns to Bloody Suits, These New Series’ Costumes Deserve Emmy Consideration
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is twirling offstage and “The Crown” finally got to The Revenge Dress, so it has not exactly been a low-key television season when it comes to costuming. (Not to mention the genius Easter eggs hidden in Tanya’s costumes on “The White Lotus.”) But no one is surprised when shows with fabulous costumes continue to exhibit their skill at crafting fabulous costumes that serve as eye candy and character development. Here are five series that premiered during the 2022-2023 season that deserve attention from the 2023 Emmys for their costumes.
The latest addition to Taylor Sheridan’s “Yellowstone” universe is a fascinating study of a society in transition from the rural world of “1883” to the more technologically oriented America that will see the Dutton family arriving at their home in helicopters on “Yellowstone.” Costume designer Janie Bryant straddles both worlds impeccably, with clothes that tell us which side of the battle between tradition and modernity each character falls on; her designs also add to the series’ epic sweep and study of class differences, as she creates wardrobe for an ensemble that includes struggling indigenous students, daring international adventurers, upper crust society ladies, and a wide array of cowboys. It’s an impressive collection of outfits as beautiful as they are expressive of character. —Jim Hemphill
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“The Diplomat” (Netflix)
Ambassador to the U.K. Kate Wyler’s (Kerri Russell) journey was told at least partially through her growing comfort in more than just black suits and comfortable shoes, and her fashion was written into the scripts from the beginning. But what Roland Sanchez archives is much more than a political “Now, Voyager” of exerting confidence through a red gown. Looking at a cast of characters made up mainly of politicians’ administrative staff (and a few preening peacocks), he and his team found ways to instantly convey character through clothing choices as functional as a dress shirt and tie or a sensible tweed jacket. Contemporary costumes can be hard to impress with, but one of the joys of “The Diplomat” is feeling instantly oriented thanks to its canny combination of sharp writing, dry wit, and pitch-perfect character development. Not to mention the absolutely smolder of seeing David Gyassi’s Dennison in three-piece suits being very British and reserved — initially, at least. —Mark Peikert
“Interview with the Vampire” (AMC)
One of the perks of the framing story of AMC’s “Interview with the Vampire” is its ability to decades-hop, and Season 1 takes full advantage to trace the relationship of Louis (Jacob Anderson) and Lestat (Sam Reid) across several fashion eras of the 20th century. But costume designer Carol Cutshall does a great job of always drawing them together and above the feverish rush of the denizens of New Orleans. There’s an angular, rigid, sharpness to how Lestat wears his clothes that is nothing short of predatory, while a lot of the internal conflict within Louis is made visible through the Harold Lloyd cosplay he dons as a budding journalist and the more rich and vampiric attire he wears out. “Interview with the Vampire” is a great example of period clothing that never overwhelms the frame but always has something sly to say about the characters. The costumes even help us get caught in the decadent rush of moving in the night — the blood of the living looks all the brighter when splashed on our vampires’ cooler-colored clothes. —Sarah Shachat
Tim Burton’s go-to costume designer, four-time Oscar winner Colleen Atwood (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” and “Chicago”) has already won the CDG Award for Netflix’s “Wednesday” with co-designer Mark Sutherland, which makes them serious Emmy contenders (submitted in the contemporary category for Episode 1, “Wednesday’s Child Is Full of Woe”). For the titular teen outsider (Jenna Ortega) who wields her psychic powers at Nevermore, the costume designers creatively played with black-and-white in different patterns and textures for a modern look. The idea from director Burton was to convey everyday goth. Her dress for the white-themed school dance is black, of course, but it’s made of nylon and tie-dyed with brown so it catches the light. Meanwhile, Atwood dressed the Nevermore students in purple and black stripes and gave Morticia’s (Catherine Zeta-Jones) iconic, hourglass-shaped black outfit a softer look with a new neckline and side vents. —Bill Desowitz
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