Fans of “Gilmore Girls” are excited by creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s return to series TV with “Bunheads,” and costume designer Brenda Maben is happy to be working with her again.
“I love the writing first of all,” she tells Zap2it of working on “Bunheads,” which is about a Las Vegas showgirl who relocates with her new husband to a small town and ends up teaching dance alongside her mother-in-law, Fanny (Kelly Bishop).
“I worked on Gilmore for all those seasons, and it was the writing that attracted me. I like the fact that in “Bunheads” and “Gilmore Girls” the characters are interesting. They are real, they have depth to them, they are not ordinary. They are developed slowly, which I find interesting, too.”
That development includes the personal style of the characters.
“When Michelle (Sutton Foster) came from Vegas, she only had the clothes on her back and a couple of things she had thrown in her bags,” Maben says. “Sasha (Julia Goldani Telles) is a little more upscale, Ginny (Bailey Buntain) is vintage, Boo (Kaitlyn Jenkins) wears dresses a lot because, of all the girls, she really wants to be a prima ballerina so she is always in a state of readiness. Melanie (Emma Dumont) is very good at dance, but she also likes to skateboard, and she has these long, beautiful legs, so we try to emphasize her legs a little more with shorts, etc.”
“Bunheads” shoots in Los Angeles, and Maben says she shops everywhere from thrift stores such as Silver Lining and Goodwill to Nordstrom’s to little boutiques Johnny Was and Minnie T’s in Venice.
Here are some examples of the range of costumes Maben supplies for “Bunheads”:
“The showgirl costume we rented from Las Vegas. We had all the showgirl costumes shipped in and retooled them. We added feathers and sequins, but we needed a base. The costume bottoms shouldn’t move. It’s a very specific cut to the bottoms and the bra, and the headpieces are constructed almost like helmets with straps that you can’t see. We added lots and lots of feathers and gloves.”
“This skirt I really love. When you see that dance, it’s really beautiful. I got it at Danny’s Warehouse, which is where the manufacturers dump their overages. We get a lot of the warm-up clothes from there. It’s fitting Sasha has that on because it sort of goes from dark to light, which is what she wanted to relate. It’s one of Fanny’s darkest days, but eventually she is going to have a lot of light and happiness in her life again.”
“Michelle is in work clothes moving into the guesthouse in this particular scene. Dancers always are wearing something constricting when they dance, so when they aren’t, they just want to be a little more comfortable and informal. I’ve been brand-hopping for jeans. We’ve gotten jeans from Anthropologie, Page and Hudson, and Gap Body for the tops.”