Variety’s Night With Artisans: Hair, Costume Designers and Makeup Heads On Immersing Viewers Through Craft

Variety’s Night With Artisans: Hair, Costume Designers and Makeup Heads On Immersing Viewers Through Craft

“Apples Never Fall” costume designer Allyson B. Fanger said with her job on the Peacock drama is completely based in story, propelling narrative through costuming.

“I love, love working with families because you need to find the common thread of the family and keep it consistent and yet find the individuality within each character,” she said. “That was really easy to do.”

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Fanger joined “The Masked Singer” costume designer Steven Lee, “We’re Here” costume designer Marco Morante, “The Morning Show” costume designer Sophie De Rakoff, “Lessons in Chemistry” hair designer Teressa Hill and “RuPaul’s Drag Race” makeup department head Natasha Marcellina in a Makeup, Hair and Costume Design panel for Variety‘s A Night With Artisans. The panel was moderated by Variety‘s Senior Artisans Editor Jazz Tangcay.

Hill explained the importance of wardrobe, hair and makeup to a visual story, especially one that switches between decades like “Lessons in Chemistry”: “And sometimes the audience doesn’t necessarily notice it, but we help transport them with hair, makeup and wardrobe into the decade.”

Lee, who is now the show’s lead costume designer discussed stepping in as department head and following in Marina Toybina’s footsteps. On the top-secret singing competition show, celebrities face off in elaborate costumes with full-face masks in order to hide their identities. Lee discussed having to work without a script and how costumes needed to tell the story.

“You really have to create a story through the costumes,” Lee said. “Sometimes I’m like, ‘What character are we making? I don’t know.’…Everything’s custom-made. We have to blend and meld between the specialty costumes that make the mask.”

De Rakoff, who was worked alongside Reese Witherspoon as a costume designer since “Legally Blonde,” said her goal in the third season was to elevate Witherspoon’s character Bradley: “She’s not the basic bitch that she was in the first season, so she’s come up. It was putting all those things together in the way that worked for the character, for Reese, physically and for the look of the show.”

“We’re Here” is a reality television series on Max that follows drag queens as they travel across the United States to small towns and invite residents to participate in drag shows. Morante explained that sometimes, traveling to small cities across the country is often a scary experience.

“It’s no easy way to put that,” Morante said. “You feel the otherness that you embody the minute you get off the plane. And what you see on the show is real. They really don’t want us there. We do see pictures of them sneaking around our hotels, and it’s a scary thing, but it’s also an incredibly validating thing to be able to be that person in someone’s life, to be that person that reaches out their hand and helps someone across the pond.”

Watch the full panel above.

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