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Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design Opens at FIDM Museum

By Cat Brosius and Michelle Smith
Published: Wednesday, July 29, 2009, at 02:56PM
Project Runway by Leanne Marshall Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Exhibits in "The Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design," opening to the public on Wednesday, July 29, at the FIDM Museum in Downtown Los Angeles.

Now in its fourth year, FIDM Museum's "The Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design" salutes the work of Emmy-nominated costume designers and costume supervisors. Featuring outfits from shows such as "No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency," "The Tudors," "Grey Gardens" and "Dancing with the Stars," the show provides a rare chance to get up close and personal with the designs.

The show opens to the public today, but on Friday we made the long trek across the street in our high heels to preview the show and speak to a few of the designers featured.

Jo Katsaras is the costume designer for "The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency." The show was set in Botswana, and Katsaras stayed there for six months to experience the culture.

Upon her arrival to Africa, Katsaras expected to see varieties of unique and colorful patterns. She was surprised to find that the typical garments were monochromatic, so she decided to go with her original vision. Now, Katsaras has been nominated for the Outstanding Costumes for a Series Emmy Award.

This passionate artist’s main piece of advice for young designers is to stick by one’s intuition. Her Golden Rule is, “If I don’t see the images in my head when I first read the script, I don’t do the project.” Her philosophy seems to have worked out pretty well so far.

Star-struck, we found ourselves going behind the scenes of the TV series "Dancing with the Stars" with costume designer Randall Christensen. Did you know that in a matter of about 72 hours, every sequin must be in place by the time the dancers perform on national television?

These designers race against the clock in order to achieve the impossible—fantastic, sparkling perfection. After 10-20 minutes of frenzied discussion with each couple, the designers barely have time to sketch before doing their first fitting. Christensen was a dancer himself and has been in the design industry since 1986. The most rewarding part of his career is seeing the very stars he watched grow up dance in his designs.

Overall, the gallery is impressive and stunning. There is so much intricate detail that goes into each garment that you are not aware of while watching television. As Jo Katsaras eloquently states, “Costume design is bringing characters to life.” If you are in the Downtown Los Angeles area and you have an interest in fashion, we recommend that you take a look at the FIDM Costume Design Exhibition for yourself.

FIDM Museum and Galleries / 919 S. Grand / Ground Floor, Enter off the park / Wednesday - Sunday, 10am - 4pm / Show runs until September 6, 2009


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