Costume Designers Dish About Chuck Bass and Don Draper

“To me, to pick the right blouse with the right sensibility feels in some ways like art. I’m an artist, but I’m painting with clothes.”

That’s totally the sort of obtuse thing Karl Lagerfeld would say, but it’s actually a quote from Eric Daman, the costume designer for “Gossip Girl.” Good, because we’d expect nothing less than putting Michaelangelo-esque precision into dressing Chuck Bass!

The New York Times’s Television section [interviewed costume designers from hit shows like “Gossip Girl” and “Mad Men” and shook them down for some secrets. Our favorites after the jump…

  • “Gossip Girl”

    The late philanthropist/socialite/moneybags Brooke Astor inspires Blair Waldorf’s preppy pearls (Blair would love that!), while Daman said James Bond, Steve McQueen and Oscar Wilde are the inspirations for Chuck’s suits and swagger.

  • “Mad Men”

    Katherine Jane Bryant, costume designer for “Mad Men,” employs all kinds of sneaky tricks for the men of the Sterling Cooper ad agency. Don Draper is intentionally plain in order to convey an aura of mystery, while Bertram Cooper, the senior partner, wears “four points of silk print fabric peeking from his breast pocket like a king’s crown” to convey that he’s the big cheese.

  • “The Tudors”

    Costume designer Joan Bergin turns to rock ‘n roll when gussying up King Henry VIII: her inspiration is to make Henry look like “the Rolling Stones entering a room.” Ah, that explains why they both elicit the “I’ve got to rip your clothes off” feeling.

  • “Pushing Daisies”

    Robert Blackman, the costume designer of “Pushing Daisies,” received a “strict style bible” upon joining the show and learned an executive producer would go crazy if he used the color blue!

  • “The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency”

    Many of the costumes worn by Precious Ramotswe are visited by an “aging artist” who provides a treatment to make the clothes appear more lived-in and older. “For me a costume shouldn’t look like a costume, it should look like something that’s part of someone’s wardrobe,” said costume designer Jo Katsaras.