Chat with Lisa Frucht Costume Designer for The Bold Type
My business Peggy Li Creations has had a long relationship with TV and costume designers. I thought it was time to get to know a little better some of the amazingly talented and hardworking people bringing fashion and character magic to your screens. I'm also thrilled to announce that season 3 of The Bold Type will include Peggy Li Creations jewelry, click here to shop all the looks!
I fell in love with The Bold Type from season one - in the tradition of Sex and the City, the show is about three young women navigating their love and work lives in New York city, working for fictional fashion magazine Scarlet (the show is based off the life of real-life magazine editor Joanna Coles). My favorite part of the show is the friendship of the core girls, Kat (Aisha Dee), Sutton (Meghann Fahy) and Jane (Katie Stevens). Of course the wardrobes these gals wear is amazing, but another reason why I wanted to do this Q&A is that costume design is as much a part of creating characters as the actor and script and director. It's an art form that when done right, often seems seamless (think period costumes or sci-fi - if you believe the world, the costume designer has been a part of that). Lisa Frucht took over the costume design from Frank Flemming at the start of season two of The Bold Type and she was kind enough to take the time to answer some of my questions. She also shared some of her season 2 inspiration boards for each character - enjoy!How did you get started in costume design?
I was a Costume Supervisor for many years, dealing in the logistics of running the set. A Costume Designer that I had worked with multiple times offered me the opportunity to become his Assistant Designer on his next project. We had always had a good creative relationship but this was going to take it to another level and I jumped at the chance. Like my whole career it was something out of the blue that presented itself. I never sat down and mapped out this path but once I made the move I knew it was something I really wanted.Many times in new TV shows, the costume design of the pilot is done by someone else before the show goes to series. How do you approach taking on a show mid-series?
Taking on a show that originated with another designer requires finesse. As a creative person with your own ideas you want to have a chance to infuse those and not just be executing another designer’s vision. But you also realize that perimeters have been set and characters have a framework so unless the producers request it, you aren’t going in to reinvent the wheel. The trick is not to have any creative changes be too jarring to the audience. You want them to be an enhancement not a distraction.The Bold Type is set in New York City and the world of fashion. Does that bring certain challenges to your design?
Having New York City and the world of fashion as the backdrop of the show can be a challenge because the audience has a high expectation of what that world is. So many people are tuned in to fashion, style icons and the latest trends because of social media so I have to represent not only the latest trends but also keep on top of what is coming. It keeps you on your toes.
The characters of Jane, Kat and Sutton are distinct personalities. How would you describe the style of each character?
Sutton’s style comes from a place of having an eye to put interesting combinations together. It ‘s never going to be on outfit she lifts straight out of a magazine. She has the intuition to find good pieces from all different resources and make a great look from them. One of my all time favorite combos from Season 2 was the denim overalls that we found in a thrift store and a Carven striped shirt with the high ruffle neck.
Jane’s style has elements of embellishment and leans towards luxe fabrics like silks and satins. Her strength always shines thru whether she is wearing something super feminine or something a bit more edgy. I think she is the character that is most influenced by what she sees in magazines and on runways. One of my favorite outfits from Season 2 is a Saint Laurent sheer black blouse with a Courreges metallic patterned skirt.
Kat pushes the boundaries. I approach her as having a broad style. She is not afraid to try interesting silhouettes or patterns. She can be earthy and throw on an organic looking sweatshirt, a high waist jean and a funky oxford or she can go funky in one of my favorites from Season 2: a Comme de Garcon cardigan and an Issey Miyake pant. I think there is a sense of adventure in her dressing.
How much of your design is fantasy/aspiration versus wanting to show a realistic wardrobe for the audience?
In a series like The Bold Type the costume design is definitely influenced by aspiration. It is very much about setting style goals. A story point has been established that the Scarlett fashion closet is accessible so we push the boundaries of what reality is for these young women. There is always a mix of aspiration & reality. There are story lines and character moods that require a more toned down or realistic approach as well. On every project you are guided by the tone set by the creators/producers.
In working with you, I discovered that actress Aisha Dee does not have pierced ears. Neither do I! How do you tackle this challenge when accessorizing for Kat?
An actress, especially a young woman, that doesn’t have pierced ears is a challenge. In department stores the options tend to be conservative and boring. You want to be able to accessorize to complement the character’s style. As a designer I love problem solving so I started thinking about how I could convert pierced earrings that I liked into clips and my assistant and I set out to research accessory designers who included clips in their offerings. It’s amazing what you can find when you have a specific need.
Your Instagram (@costumeinspiration) is filled with images of iconic film stars and women of different eras. Is there a particular fashion period that is inspiring you at the moment? Why?
At the moment I am really inspired by more natural looks, a chicness that comes from simplicity. That exists thru all decades and it requires a style confidence that intrigues me and I aspire to personally.But I can never get enough of the 1930s. That is my happy place!
I can’t be too specific but Season 3 will bring some changes for our ladies. Their experiences from Season 2 have influenced them and what goals they choose to pursue for themselves moving forward. The true essence of each of their looks will not change but we were able to add some new layers to reflect how they have grown. And it wouldn’t be The Bold Type without events and we do have some really fun ones in Season 3 that were super creative to design. Stay tuned!!
Bold or dainty?
Check out The Bold Type which airs on the Freeform channel. Season 3 begins March 9!
Thank you Lisa!