Costume designer Lou Eyrich has labored alongside Ryan Murphy for twenty-four years. In that point, she has dressed a few of the most spectacular tv of the final twenty years, from Glee and Pose to American Horror Story and The Politician. You’d suppose she’d have run out of how to costume Murphy’s signature baroque, over-the-top productions by this level—however her selections proceed to thrill and delight.
Take her and Murphy’s newest manufacturing, for example. Feud: Capote vs. the Swans affords a peek backstage at notorious author Truman Capote’s relationship with the “society swans” of Manhattan’s Higher East Facet, and trend performs greater than only a supporting function. As we watch New York transition from the Nineteen Fifties into the Nineteen Eighties, these pleasant ladies of the 1 % stay steadfastly dedicated to maintaining appearances the best way they all the time have. Completely coiffed hair, purses extra pricey than the common American mortgage cost, and sure, even gloves are part of their on a regular basis routine—quiet luxurious lengthy earlier than “quiet luxurious” would enter the lexicon. There’s a scene the place the ladies attempt to buy gloves at an upscale division retailer, solely to be advised by a younger affiliate that gloves have been discontinued. The horror!
We caught up with Eyrich to be taught extra about how she introduced the notorious Swans to life, and what it was wish to costume an all-star solid of iconic actresses within the course of.
There are plenty of Twentieth-century trend icons represented in your principal solid—and amongst the actresses, too! How would you describe the general “look” of the present?
In plenty of reveals, your focus is in every single place, as a result of there’s a lot to see, it’s virtually sensory overload. However with Swans, we actually used a clear palette. We didn’t do plenty of prints. Like precise swans, the costumes have a chic grace. This was a time when ladies actually dressed to go away the home. They had been the influencers of that interval.
How did you do your analysis?
That is my twenty fourth 12 months working with Ryan. The method all the time begins with Ryan—he’ll listing books and films that he needs us all to learn and watch. We speak concerning the tone and colour palette. I spoke with our director Gus Van Sant and the author, Jon Robin Bates. I additionally was taking a look at Swans: Legends of the Jet Society, by Nicholas Foulkes—this big espresso desk ebook that breaks down the jet set. All of us agreed on this traditional model. Ryan wished to remain very true to the many years—from the Nineteen Fifties via the Nineteen Eighties—and to point out how society began altering and loosening up, whereas the Swans didn’t. They sort of stayed of their enviornment whereas the remainder of New York began doing disco, then punk.
How a lot of the costumes had been constructed versus sourced?
We constructed fairly a bit. Possibly 40 % was constructed, as a result of I actually do love to search out and use the classic.
So how did you discover the best items?
We employed this fabulous researcher, who did a giant dive for us into which garments nonetheless existed, like on the Costume Institute on the Met. She was capable of get into the archives and ship us footage of what was there and truly worn by [Calista Flockhart’s and Chloë Sevigny’s characters] Lee and C.Z., and that helped us department out from there. Then we put boards collectively for every character and despatched them off to our classic distributors. We got here throughout one vendor, for example, who had an enormous assortment of Courrèges. One other had plenty of Mainbocher. For jewellery, we labored with the positive people at Verdura, they usually have plenty of archives of [Diane Lane’s character] Slim, [Naomi Watts’s character] Babe, and C.Z., and are actually educated on the jewellery of the jet set.
Appears like a ton of classic. Had been there any favourite diamonds within the tough that you just discovered?
The tough half was that every Swan has a colour palette. Our Babe doesn’t put on plenty of black, so we would search for one thing and discover it within the excellent camel colour—however then camel is extra C.Z.’s colour. For Babe, we did discover this superb three-piece Invoice Blass tweed coat with a giant fur collar—though we do fake fur, so we changed the fur. We additionally had a wonderful YSL hat that Lee wears to a funeral scene. And we additionally discovered these attractive Lanvin earrings and pendant. Little issues like that may make my day—these items are stunning and don’t exist anymore and are beautiful, so I get excited.
Engaged on this present should have been a classic lover’s dream.
It was. However the tough half was, you’d suppose there was a really large finances. Nevertheless it was very exhausting to maintain it in test with this many Swans. It’s a giant solid, with plenty of modifications. And it’s not simply the outfit, but it surely’s the hat, the jewellery, the gloves, the footwear, the coat, the sun shades. It was tough to maintain that steadiness.
Many of those actresses are trend icons in their very own proper. Had been they collaborative?
I had labored with greater than half of them already, so I wasn’t completely intimidated—however each considered one of them is collaborative differently. We’d speak earlier than every becoming.
With Chloë Sevigny, I’m working along with her now on Monsters: The Lyle and Erik Menendez Story, and I’m all the time in awe each time she walks into the room. She’s acquired such model. She’s extra methodical in fittings. Naomi Watts is playful in fittings, like, “Let’s do this! Let’s do this!” However Chloë is extra like, “I feel this works,” and she or he’ll pull out the precise skirt and the precise cashmere sweater. She simply is aware of trend rather well and is aware of designers rather well.
Diane Lane, poor factor, she was concurrently taking pictures a present in Italy or Boston, I feel, and she or he needed to fly out on Saturdays, so we’d do these six-hour fittings round her schedule. It’s extra methodical along with her, which is superior—“This works on me, this doesn’t.” Calista Flockhart, it was my first time working along with her, and she or he is only a ball. She would stand within the becoming and say, “Simply costume me.” She’s simply blissful to be on the social gathering, and we had plenty of enjoyable.
Tom Hollander [who plays Truman Capote], once we began out, he was fairly slim and slight, so Ryan wished him to placed on some kilos. We did our first fittings, then he went away—and 6 weeks later, he had placed on some weight, so we needed to begin throughout. And it’s Russell Tovey, who performs a closeted banker—he had plenty of studied opinions. His character doesn’t have a lot model till he meets Capote, so he begins with this concept of being conservative and uptight, after which when he hangs out with Truman, he begins to put on extra enjoyable fits.
Did all of this classic make you nostalgic for a sure means of dressing?
Ryan was obsessive about costumes and historical past. He loves ladies in lengthy gloves. Gloves began declining in reputation within the Nineteen Sixties, however the Swans stored sporting theirs. Ryan included a scene the place they go to a division retailer, they usually’re on the lookout for the glove counter, and a younger retailer affiliate tells them it now not exists, and the women are aghast.
Do “Swans” nonetheless exist at this time?
I feel so, however that is simply me guessing right here. [Now] the mindset isn’t just to maintain the husband, throw fancy events, and make handwritten seat assignments and sustain appearances. At the moment we now have extra “celebrities,” however these ladies wren’t doing it to be in style—it was simply their way of life they married into or had been born into. It was all about yachts and going to estates, but it surely wasn’t being placed on Instagram for everybody to see. Possibly the closest we nonetheless have is a Martha Stewart—inventing and reinventing herself, however has that very rich way of life.
This interview has been condensed and edited for readability.
Todd Plummer is a Boston-based author who covers model, leisure, and journey. He’s a graduate of McGill College and Saint John’s College College of Regulation.