As costume designer for the CBS period series “Vegas,” Kathleen Detoro is a big fan of online marketplace Etsy. It has proved to be a gold mine for one-of-a-kind vintage pieces for leading lady Carrie-Anne Moss, who plays district attorney Katherine O’Connell, and the rest of the cast.
“You can search for anything on Etsy,” she tells Zap2it. “I’ve been purchasing from them and there are different antique vendors all over the world … It’s a good thing for the company and the show. [The vendors] will tell you the story behind it and it’s more personal and really a nice thing to help the economy and the show and get these beautiful items that we use. And guess what, they were also all made in America. I also like that very much. I feel good about doing it.”
Detoro enjoys having a wide range of characters to dress, from regular people to showgirls and gangsters, and she also shops for period clothes at Palace Costume, Western Costume and CRC [for military uniforms] in Los Angeles. When there is time, she designs and builds costumes if a special color or silhouette is desired, like the green dress she made for Katherine to wear to a gala in the pilot. All the shoes the women wear are period as well.
“They are good sports about it because they don’t fit the same way contemporary shoes do,” she says. “I bought a lot from Etsy from the late ’50s. They are in great shape and very worn in, which made it possible to wear them all day long. We aren’t used to wearing the pointy toe any more, and it makes you walk and stand a different way. Carrie-Anne wore brown alligator shoes in the pilot 15 days straight. We were shooting in New Mexico out in the desert and we pretty much wore through them.”
Katherine doesn’t wear too much jewelry as a DA, but she does have a large selection of earrings in jewel tone colors and a special ring that Detoro found for Moss in a Santa Monica antique store.
Here are some of Detoro’s favorite looks:
“This is the dress that I had made to order for the pilot for Carrie-Anne … Green was a very popular color from that period of time. John Hayles at Universal, who did the ‘Matrix’ movies with Carrie-Anne, is the cutter/fitter. The vintage brooch is from an Albuquerque antique store and the earrings are vintage, too. The look is reminiscent of Elizabeth Taylor in her films in that period of time. Elizabeth had that perfect hourglass figure and Carrie-Anne looks great in that silhouette. I did “Breaking Bad” for five years in Albuquerque, so I know all the vintage stores there. We beaded that bodice because it was such a pretty accent for that dress. Beading and that jewelry — I call it self-illuminating because it sparkles and gives more light.”
“Everyone loves this one. That is a vintage period two-piece knit set from company called Serban. I found that piece at Palace Costume and it has rhinestones around the neck. Carrie-Anne looks like she should have lived in that time period because the clothes fit her really well. She is wearing a vintage turquoise ring because she personally loves turquoise and I searched for it for her. Actors, when they have that bit of method to them, like to create that back story. It was very hard to find a turquoise ring set in gold. We are so used to seeing turquoise set in silver and when it is set in gold it is so beautiful. She was so excited when she saw it and she wears it all the time.”
“That one is a vintage Kimberly knit dress from the late ’50s and it’s from Palace Costume and we just tried it on a lark because she is mostly in suits and the network just loved it. It’s a raspberry or fuschia color, just a beautiful color on her. We use jewel tones because you want your leading lady to pop in the frame of the show. Her skin is beautiful with the dark hair and blue-green eyes — again the Elizabeth Taylor look. These are great dresses that travel well and don’t wrinkle, which is always great for us on the set.”