When costume designer Susanna Puisto was brought onto the ABC drama ‘Body of Proof’ this season, she began using color to make sure Kate Murphy (Jeri Ryan) had a look all her own.
“There wasn’t enough definition in the characters,” Puisto says. “Jeri should be a Hitchcock blonde. Dana (Delany, who plays Megan) gets the jewel tones, and Jeri gets the creams, the grays, the pale pastels, some muted colors. There’s very much a separation in the colors so they are their own characters, very distinct and defined.”
Puisto’s goal when dressing Kate is to achieve a classic, timeless look.
“Kate is a classy lady,” she says. “Her style is very easy and simple. She is not trying too hard. I think she’s a woman who knows what works for her, and she’s very comfortable in her style. I want you to be able to watch the show 20 years from now and she’ll look fresh.”
Fans of the show who aspire to dress like Kate should know that nothing is off the rack.
“Everything is tailored within an inch of its life,” Puisto says. “We wanted to introduce more color but couldn’t find the colors we wanted to start making blouses for her. The stores don’t refresh their stuff fast enough for us. It’s really fun to make our own tops and pick the fabrics. We have a couture seamstress, and it’s really cool for the actors to have something custom-made. I consider this a fashion show. The fans love it. We really go the whole way. We’ve had pants made for Jeri without a waistband and pockets so they fall nicely. It’s very well thought out what she wears and well-planned.”
Puisto offers some examples:
“I have to be really strong about not letting these characters fall into each other’s world. Even when you look at their racks in the trailers, it’s very obvious they’re two different characters. I call it my Rubik’s Cube, getting the actors dressed for scenes. If Dana is in a dress, Jeri will be in slacks or a skirt. It’s like a puzzle, and I see where they need each other. It’s quite the operation. It’s easy to make mistakes if you are not careful.”