Kathy Bates is a woman beautifully at ease in her skin, which is flawless, and in her clothes, which are pretty.
For those who limit fashion to teenagers in junior sizes, Bates, as the title character in NBC's Harry's Law, sets a new standard.
She plays a lawyer who sabotages her career as a patent attorney. After two near-death experiences in a day (the show doesn't begin as credibly as possible), she sets up shop on the seedy side of town.
"There are a lot of women out there like me," Bates says of her character, "a lot starting over."
The first major decision regarding Harry's look was allowing Bates to keep her hair gray.
"I wanted to go with my own gray hair," Bates says. "A wig didn't seem right to me. I let myself go gray. I got tired of fooling around with it."
The gray fits Harry's no-nonsense personality perfectly.
Bates acknowledges, "it makes us look older. There is a real stigma attached."
Yet no one could argue that Harry is anything but polished for court.
Harry initially wears a lot of suits for court, and most of those are Marina Rinaldi. She also wears dress pants from Blanque. Her blouses are from Citron and Eileen Fisher.
"As the character becomes happier, we got her out of the more formal suits," costume designer Lisa Eisler says. "Whenever she is in court, because she is still a lawyer, she has to be in a suit. We've gone with a softer fabric to be who the character wants to be."
Harry earns a lot of money, so Eisler shops for the character at Saks, Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, and buys many items online.
"Not many stores carry above a size 14," she says. "That's a normal size. If I want to find something in a 0, I can find 15. If I want to find something in 18, it's so difficult. It's become very skewed as to what real people wear, and what size they are."
Though Bates sets up her law practice in an abandoned high-end shoe store (that's the credibility problem again), neither the actress nor her character totters about on impossibly high heels.
"Those days are over for me, I'm afraid," Bates says.
"The best brand that works for her is Clarks, especially for being on set," Eisler says. "She is on her feet a lot."
Harry's raincoat is from Eileen Fisher. She wears opulent jewelry; Alexander McQueen, Chanel and Van Cleef & Arpels necklaces and earrings.
She wears rings from Vivienne Westwood and Dior. And Harry has pieces from Los Angeles jewelry designer Kate Lindsay.
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