From Lady Mary’s embroidered dresses to Jon Snow’s fur-trimmed capes and Snow White’s fairytale gowns, this year’s crop of Emmy-nominated wardrobe designs are a telling example of Emmy history — the Academy loves period and fantasy costumes.
The 2013 Emmy nominees in the category of Outstanding Costumes for a Series are Boardwalk Empire, The Borgias, Once Upon a Time, Downton Abbey, and Game of Thrones, all shows that are set in the past, or, in the case of Once Upon a Time, in another world. In fact, this year’s nominees is the same group that went head-to-head for the costume Emmy last year. (GoT costume designer Michelle Clapton took home the award in 2012.)
Why are costumes from shows set in modern times often left out of the running?
“[It's] really hard for people to understand how intricate, precise and detailed [contemporary designs] can be because we wear them every day,” Tom Broecker — the longtime costume designer for Saturday Night Live who also worked wardrobe magic on season one of House of Cards — told EW at the opening of the FIDM Museum & Galleries’ Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design exhibit in July. “Contemporary costumes are seen as more mundane because they lack the majesty of period clothes.”
Which costume designer should win the prize for Outstanding Costumes for a Series at the Creative Arts Emmys this Sunday? Cast your vote in the poll below.
The period costume trend also holds true when it comes to the nominations for Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie or Special. Just ask Ellen Mirojnick, who scored an Emmy nod for creating bedazzled capes for Michael Douglas’ Liberace — and Matt Damon’s thong wardrobe — for the HBO miniseries Behind the Candelabra.
“It the most intimidating assignment because you look at the work that was created for Liberace and it’s staggering, the amount of effort, time and money that was put into it,” said the designer, who was tasked with re-creating some of the legendary performer’s most iconic stage looks. “There is that wonderful expression that Liberace uses that he lifted from Mae West, which was, ‘Too much of a good thing is wonderful.’ The challenge was to get it right. Is this too much? Not enough? We never knew.”
Mirojnick’s work is up against the period costumes from American Horror Story: Asylum, The Girl, Killing Lincoln, Parade’s End, and Phil Spector.
Which costume designer should win the prize for Outstanding Costumes for a Miniseries, Movie, or Special? Cast your vote in the poll below.
The 2013 Creative Arts Emmys will air on Saturday, Sept. 21 on FXX. The Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design exhibit is on display at the FIDM Museum & Galleries in Los Angeles until October 19.
– reporting by Archana Ram