Filed in: Costume Design, Crafts, Featured
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The Marvelous Style of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

June 13, 2019 | By

After the austerity of the 1940’s war years, the 1950’s were “one of the most important periods in women couture clothes,” maintained The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel costume designer, Donna Zakowska. “This was such an exciting moment for clothing.”

Books and magazines, like Vogue and French Vogue, formed the basis of the research into New York fashion of the period. Having fun with color was also a concept Zakowska worked with in the costume design, beginning with the pink coat that exemplified Midge’s idea of the world at that moment.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, season 2

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Season 2

“When I use pink, it is a little bit of an echo of certain emotional things for Midge. Her memories and stuff like that,” explained Zakowska.

Some accessories, such as the bags, were collected, but ninety-five percent of the clothing in the series was designed and built in order to get the perfect fit and the vibrant colors that could not be gotten with vintage clothing. During those years, aprons were another common clothing item for women. The costume designer felt they were in themselves a creative expression that qualified as art.

Must have accessories of the era included hats and gloves. Zakowska acquired a collection of hats from a man in Long Island. In addition, her mother had “masses of hats,” some of which she actually used on the show, although Midge’s hats were designed and built.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Season 2

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Season 2

“It’s one of the hardest things, designing a hat, especially some of those shapes. It was a thing. Women really loved their hats. Also, there were more milliners, people who could build your hat, which is something we barely have now,” shared Zakowska. “They [hats] are like little sculptures…quite beautiful. They took care of them in hatboxes. Gloves, aprons, hats. That sort of epitomizes the fifties.”

The costume design was quite a large project because the show explored different worlds – downtown, the beatnik world, the university, Paris and the Catskills resort. Zakowska takes all the different locations and the types of people who inhabit them very seriously because she considers “extras a little bit scenic. They create the background, the environment for character.” Specialty characters, like in the dance numbers, are designed, but on lower level extras, she controls the palette and chooses certain types of clothing so that each scene has individual qualities.

Zakowska loves the pink coat, the blue nightgown and the Paris look, but she is especially proud when all the costume design elements come together in the collaborative environment of a series with great writing and a team of artists contributing their talents to create an award-worthy show.

Donna Z and Dancer on the set of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Season 2

Donna Zakowska and Dancer on the set of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Season 2

Zakowska has worked on 18 episodes of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as well as films such as The True Adventures of Wolfboy (2019) and Gringo (2018) prior to the show. She has won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Costume for a Miniseries, Movie or a special and a Costume Designers Guild Award for Excellence in Period Television among others.

 

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