Being able to reprogram other people’s minds to get what you want quite naturally results in a killer wardrobe for Nina Theroux, played by Laura Mennell, on Syfy’s original series “Alphas.”
“Anything is covetable,” says costume designer Susie Coulthard. “Whatever she wants we have to buy for her, so I can put a lot of budget into buying her amazing designer outfits. She is a little bit of a chameleon, so she changes quite a bit throughout the show. In every scene she tends to be wearing something new. I can shop all the covetable items of the season, and she is so beautiful it’s like dressing a model.”
Coulthard describes Nina as “dark and subversive,” and that’s reflected in the outfits selected from designers Phillip Lim, Givenchy, Preen, Jean Paul Gaultier, Isabel Marant, Stella McCartney, Helmut Lang, Alexander Wang, The Row and Victoria Beckham. She also likes to support local designers, including Barila, Samantha Pleet, Luna & Curious of London, and Clinton Lotter.
The challenge comes from mixing high-end fashion with highly stunted storylines.
“They’ll be falling off buildings and into water, which I hate having to deal with and informs what they are wearing,” Coulthard says. “They have to have long sleeves or a wet suit on underneath, but we try to work around as much as we can. We have a great team in the office here who make the doubles and triples of the clothing if we can’t afford to maybe buy five Helmut Lang jackets. We’re on such time restraints — we are turning an episode every seven days. It’s all hands on deck most days here.”
Coulthard discusses a variety of Nina’s looks:
“She is wearing a Barbour of London jacket, a typical British country jacket. They wanted to feel very practical because they know they are going into forests, and she still looks really stylish in it. It’s belted and nips in at the waist, so it gives her a good shape. The jeans are Citizens. She only wears Citizens and J Brand — anything supertight and superskinny.”
“This was a really dark episode where she goes on this spiral out of control, so we used a lot of leather. The dress is by Mason, and it’s actually pleather. We were going to use a dress by The Row that was $4,000, but we wanted to see more skin. She has got the figure for it, so we may as well. The bracelet you can’t really see is an amazing pewter skeleton bracelet by Bjorg, a Norwegian designer.”
“This is a Helmut Lang jacket, a really soft leather. What I loved about it is that it has a drapey feel. It is very well cut to the body. She always needs something that drops below the waist because her legs are so long, so she doesn’t look disproportionate. Also the color. I don’t want to use too much black; the grays and dark blues are really good on her. Those are Helmut Lang leggings, and the bracelet is House of Harlow.”