Chat with Rachel Kunin costume designer for Jane the Virgin
As the final season of Jane the Virgin comes to a close, I wanted to reach out to the costume designer for the show, Rachel Kunin. I've loved the mix of color and patterns in the costumes on this show and wanted to know more about the thinking behind the scenes. I was especially curious about the looks for Jane, who is a girl-next-door and always wears practical yet feminine and flirty dresses and easy Mom-on-the-go outfits and Petra, a statuesque beauty with power sheath dresses and the now famous shorts for work!
I was lucky enough to have Rachel use a few of my jewelry pieces on the show for Gina Rodriguez (Jane) and Yael Grobglas (Petra) and even had the chance to meet Rachel one summer in Los Angeles. Thank you Rachel for taking the time to answer a few of my questions!
1) How did you get your start in costume design for television?
I started as an intern in Roger Cormans costume dept. It was a great way to get my feet wet.
2) Please tell us a little bit about your process of designing for a character.
I think about the psychology of the character. I want there to be a reason a character would wear each piece they have on.
3) Jane the Virgin is set in Miami as a hyper real, bright, colorful world. Does this make it harder/easier to design for?
Both. Harder to keep up with the fantasy look and easier because most things can be edited out.
Jane wearing My Moon and Stars Necklace.
4) You use a great mix of high end and more accessible designers. What are your tips for building an affordable wardrobe?
Buy pieces that will work for a few years at least. I’m not a fan of fast fashion but understand if it’s a must. Best way to build an affordable wardrobe is to buy wisely rather than impulsively.
5) What have been some of your favorite looks for Jane?
I've liked some of her date looks a lot. Soft fit and flare dress with a denim jacket. Always reads very JANE.
6) What have been some of your favorite looks for Petra?
All of Petra looks quite frankly. I love her slim business dresses. On some they would go evening but she’s able to pull them off at work.
Custom costumes and color! How I'll remember Jane the Virgin. Petra wears my Simple Circle Earrings.
7) You recently did the costume design for the movie Five Feet Apart starring Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse, congratulations! How is designing for a feature film different from working in TV?
Oh I loved designing FIVE FEET APART. The pace of filming a movie is very different than in TV. I’d have to say the biggest difference to me is knowing your full arc in a movie is a special treat after designing TV so much.
8) What are your favorite sources of inspiration when approaching fashion and costume design?
My mood board was my biggest source of inspiration. Other than that, Jennie the show runner and the actors who all bring these characters to life.
9) This is the final season of Jane the Virgin - how do you imagine Jane’s fashion would continue to evolve past the show?
I imagined a natural progression and evolution as anyone in real life would experience.
Jane in my Opal Cluster Earrings
When it comes to jewelry…
- Gold or silver?
- Diamonds or pearls?
- Bold or dainty?
Depends on the character! For me personally- real only. All of the above so long as it’s real. For characters though, the options are wide open until you start analyzing why, where, how... etc...
Thank you again, Rachel, for giving us a little insight into your work for Jane the Virgin! The costumes always made me feel HAPPY. It was a groundbreaking show and will be missed.