“Glee” costume designer Lou Eyrich woke up Emmy nominations morning to see how the show fared, but was “in disbelief” when she learned she received a nomination herself.
“The very first thought was, ‘Ugh, what am I going to wear?’,” she tells Zap2it. “That was the first thing I did too. I texted [show creator] Ryan Murphy,’What are we going to wear?'”
The success of “Glee” in its freshman season translated into 19 emmy nominations total, with Eyrich and Marisa Aboitiz nominated for best costume design alongside the costumers for “The Good Wife,” “Mad Men,” “30 Rock” and “The Tudors.”
Eyrich discusses the Emmys and looks back at some of “Glee’s” standout style episodes:
How did you celebrate your nomination?
Lou Eyrich: A bunch of us went out for dinner, and one of the makeup girls threw a cocktail party for all of us too. It was really fun.
Why do you think that the “Glee” fashions have resonated with the Academy and with fans?
Eyrich: I think it’s a new and fresh show, something people can be excited about. There’s so many diversified characters — there’s not a lot of that on TV right now — so that’s caught people’s attention. Also there’s the theatricality of the show. There’s just a lot of costumes in an episode.
Speaking of “Theatricality,” the was the name of Lady Gaga tribute episode, what were the challenges of costuming for that?
Eyrich: It was a little complicated because we had such a short time to do it all in and because we had to do the boys in KISS [costumes]. It was a lot to do. We also still had all the other costumes for another episode. It was also very hectic, and that’s when the whole cast out of town for Oprah [Winfrey] and the White House, so hardly had any time for fittings. I didn’t want to just copy KISS and Lady Gaga. We wanted the fashions to be inspired by them, so it was a little more tricky just to come up our own versions without directly copying.
How did you do the outfit with all the clear bulbs on it?
Eyrich: They were plastic spheres and then just a wonderful artist that painstakingly sewed them onto a bustier.
What about the “stuffed animal” dress that Rachel wore?
Eyrich: Our wonderful tailor Sarah went to a garage sale one weekend and purchased a whole lot of mini stuffed animals. And then she sewed them all onto a dress.
What costume designs are you most proud of from this past season?
Eyrich: I think I’m personally most proud of the Madonna episode (which she had submitted for Emmy consideration). It was a lot of hard work, but I was happiest doing that whole episode, not just the costumes, but everything: the direction, production design, hair and makeup. We all had a lot of fun doing that episode, so I think it’s a mixture of my fond memories and the costumes and how we were all excited about it. So there’s a lot of emotion and pride in our work.
What do you think about your competition? They all present such different work from yours.
Eyrich: Isn’t it fun? I think it adds such variety to it. For me I have such respect for period shows like “The Tudors.” Also, I think they’re so difficult. I remember the first couple times watching “The Good Wife” and thinking, “Wow, these costumes are really great.” I thought they did a really great job of making it feel real, making Julianna Margulies look so good and realistic. I don’t watch “30 Rock so I can’t really comment on it, but I know it’s a hugely popular show. “Mad Men” I think it’s brilliant. I think they do a really good job. I just love watching that show.
Are there any other shows you watch that you think has great costuming?
Eyrich: I hardly get to watch TV. The only two shows I watch are “Mad Men” and “True Blood,” and I think Audrey Fisher is amazing. I thought for sure I’d see her nominated.
Are you going to prepare a speech in case you win the Emmy?
Eyrich: I learned after the Costume Designer’s Guild Awards to definitely have a speech prepared at the last minute. I heard it was bad luck to not have a speech. I have no idea who’s going to win. To myself I’ve already won because I never in my life dreamed I would be nominated.
One last question: Where do you get those great cardigans for Emma (Jayma Mays)?
Eyrich: It’s a collection from all over the place. We’re big fans of Kate Spade. They do some great little cardigans, so a lot of her stuff comes from Kate Spade, Anthropologie, J. Crew, a couple from Forever 21. We scan the city for little cardigans. She’s also very petite, so it’s hard to find. Whenever we’re out shopping, we keep our eyes out for cardigans and we then embellish them with pins or flowers or whatever we can find.
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Photo credits: Getty Images, FOX