From 1920s to the Future: Lovecraft Country Costumes are a Feat of Fashion

From 1920s to the Future: Lovecraft Country Costumes are a Feat of Fashion

The days have become shorter, the nights have been longer, and temperatures, hopefully, are starting to fall as summer has turned into autumn and we are preparing for all the squash spice stuff to reign supreme. While autumn fashion is a favorite with Who What Wear editors and readers, there is a seasonal trend that we often disagree with: the re-reflection of all things fun while we are preparing for Halloween .

Although some horror enthusiasts are already planning their appearance for October 31, I prefer to celebrate in a more subtle and sustainable style by loading my streaming queue with the old favorites and new finds. At the top of my list right now is Lovecraft Country a horror-drama series written by Misha Green, which premiered last year on HBO. The 10-episode season was nominated for a slew of Emmys, including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Lead Actor and Actress in a Drama Series, and, of course, Outstanding Fantasy / Sci-Fi Costume, which honored the designer of costume Dayna Pink .

Pink – who started as a stylist for boy bands and ruined the world of costume design with a little help from Tenacious D – deeply cares about this project, stretching her creativity to the fullest. In important scenes spanning from the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre to a distant future where humans conquered the galaxy, Lovecraft Country is truly vast.

The building around the world alone is scary, and throwing historical events, shape shifts, and space travel into the mix (with hundreds of artists in the background) seems really terrifying — but not to Pink and on his team. They combined historical research with modern-day design, aging techniques, and fabric extraction to create a truly rich fantasy world filled with memorable, sometimes scary characters.

[19659014] Despite all the incredible elements of the series, the horror is especially touching when rooted in events in history. The show follows Freeman family members and their friends as they travel to 1950s Jim Crow America to find a man and end their magical heritage.

With most of the show taking place in the ' 50s, one would expect to see the usual fan in fashion: saddle shoes, poodle skirts, and pearls. But typical of the horror genre, the displays are not what they see in Lovecraft Country both literally and melodic. Lightning may strike, but this show is light-years away from Grease .

Contemporary music inspiration score each stage (think: “Clones” by Tierra Whack and “Rivers” by Leon Bridges), Pink and her team took some liberties with their costume design, preferring to use new materials, fine jewelry , and sophisticated accessories to decorate the characters in this ensemble cast, including Leti Lewis (Jurnee Smollett), Montrose Freeman (Michael K. Williams), and Ruby Baptiste (Wunmi Mosaku) to name a few. “One of the most amazing things about designing this show is the fact that we have space to root ourselves in time and then pivot to add some modern elements, so &#39 ; t we were never tied to the exact moment, "Pink explained. "We used classic ' 50s lingerie and silhouette but spoke to elements of fantasy by using current fabrics and touches, giving it its own look."

When asked to choose a favorite design, Pink laughed. With most of the costumes his team created from scratch (only a few items were actually vintage pieces from the period), it was almost impossible for him to choose just one. But the focus on the two characters, sisters Leti and Ruby, clearly has some showstopper. "[Mosaku] is fun to dress up," Pink snapped. "We loved creating all of her looks, from the blue dress to the block party-my favorite-to the red-shorts dress, which was actually suggested by Misha, the director." Also, Leti’s equestrian dress with pussy-bow blouse is particularly memorable. Pink stumbled upon the patterned silk in a fabric store and immediately knew it was right for the staff and the particular scene.


The dress code, however, posed another challenge. Since men’s fashion is less trend -driven than women’s, it takes the keen eye of a stylist to get the look right. Fortunately, that’s Pink’s strong suit. A lover of men’s fashion, Pink has been working with Will Smith and Steve Carell for many years and understands the nuances of style that help cultivate a sense of time and place. For example, Atticus "Tic" Freeman (Jonathan Majors) had just returned from the Korean War and possessed not only the tough stance of a soldier but also his trusty, armored boots. “All Atticus was born for me when I saw his seafoam T-shirt,” Pink recalls. "It's simple and seasonal and the most beautiful, soft shade. I know it's going to be the soul of her wardrobe, and it is."

In contrast, Montrose, Tic’s secret, solipsistic senior, holds herself with a different sense of self -awareness and swagger.Pink and her team used stressful techniques to make her wardrobe look this character dressed up and dated, playing a lot of proportions and fits.Of course, we both agree that Williams can wear a sack of potatoes and is quite captivating on-screen.

Speaking of sacks of potatoes-sincerely-this ramshackle fabric became the inspiration for the costumes of two of the best characters in the entire show: Topsy and Bopsy. Modeled pagk after Topsy, a slave child in the controversial novel in 1852 Uncle Tom ' s Cabin this duo emerged from a physical copy of the book to torture Atticus ' s younger cousin Diana “Dee” Freeman, who is already grieving the murder of her friend, 14-year-old Emmett “Bobo” Till, an event that refers to the real-life lynching of a young man with the same name and age in 1955.

Wearing sad silk doll clothes printed with potato sack logos, striped knee socks, and red or white canvas sneakers, the malevolent spirits it consists in a caricatural minstrel style and moves with eerily coordinated physicality. These truly terrifying children convey Dee’s innermost fears about growing up in this time of intense violence and outright isolation. If this episode, “Jig-a-Bobo,” doesn’t send chills down your spine, nothing.

When designing costumes that were not only time appropriate but also historically true, Pink and her teams that respect the real events reflected in the show. “Those were the moments where we stepped back and tried to do justice to our research because that’s where the aide should have needed the costumes,” he explains. "We had enough other moments to add our own spice, so we purposely stepped back for the funeral of Emmett Till and Tulsa Riot."

There are many instances of uncomfortable duality in Lovecraft Country both physically and metaphorically. In a costume design trick and special effects, character Ruby Baptiste literally transforms from a vibrant Black woman to a tough and calculating white woman. I won’t go into it for you, but to say that this is a real deed for Pink and her team is to put it mildly. “Both [Mosaku] and Jamie Neumann are incredible muses when it comes to the Ruby / Hillary transformation,” Pink shares. "We approached the character Hillary as Ruby's interpretation. How would she dress if…? And then we put the clothes on Jamie, she automatically changed into the character we imagined."

Pink's amazing work is unmatched (fingers crossed she won an Emmy), but remember: Costume design is just one element of strange and scary world Lovecraft Country . Unfortunately, the entire series is available for streaming on HBO, so you can catch up before the big TV night … and then watch some historical documentaries if you’re willing to be really scared.

Up Next: Vintage Fashion Lovers, Rejoice: Netflix's Firefly Lane Is A Blast From in the Past

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