When you need a leather and copper bikini, especially one with magical powers, you just can't pop down to the local mall.
When that sort of wardrobe is needed, Alexandra Welker, costume designer of the NBC Friday fantasy "Grimm," creates it.
"TV is usually a styling job," she says to Zap2it. "There is a lot of shopping and alterations. I get to design and build a lot."
"The idea is that there is a creature world that surrounds the human world," she says. "Most of the time the human world is oblivious to this, and the main character, a homicide detective in Portland, will see people turn into things, and he learns this is a gift the family possesses. Their role as Grimms is to seek out and destroy. And as a cop, how does he fulfill the Grimm destiny at the same time as staying true to the ethical, moral policeman?
"From a design standpoint we are trying to make our creatures in human form look as real and normal as possible," Welker continues. "And when they morph, they are still in human clothes, and every so often we get to do more creative costumes."
Danielle Panabaker plays Ariel Eberhart, a dragon creature who gains power from copper. Welker made the leather bikini, skirt and jewelry. "I researched dragon images from around the world," she says. "The influence there is a very Celtic warrior." The bra is covered in leather scales and copper. The belt is copper, and her suede boots have copper in the bindings.
La Llorona is based on Mexican folklore and was played by two actresses in this. Welker explains that the myth had Cortez's mistress drowning children. In the pristine version, people are entranced by La Llorona's beauty. Welker researched a 16th century dress, used a commercial corset and layers of chiffon and fit it over a wet suit because the rivers in Portland are pretty cold. "Alexander McQueen was the direct inspiration for dirty La Llorona," she says.
The dapper fellow is Baron Samedi ( Reg E. Chathey) of Haitian voodoo, who can put people into deathlike trances. "He is a bon vivant," Welker says. "I had the challenge of creating an outfit for our baron because he appeared in several connected episodes, and we cast an actor who is 6 foot 3, in an outfit that includes a top hat and doesn't make him look like a mime on the loose." The three-piece suit had tiny skull buttons, and Welker made him a greegree Voodoo necklace.
Shohreh Aghdashloo plays a Gypsy who helps Adalind regain her witch powers.
"It was a fun chance to step out of my Grimm palette and mix textures," Welker says. "Shohreh brought some of her own antique jewelry. And she is wearing everything from Free People to Nordstrom Rack. It is really all in how you put it together."
Photo/Video credit: NBC
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