Lyn Paulo of Scandal

Tuesday, March 04, 2014 Sarah Unes 0 Comments

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As part of my final major project, I have been researching the impacts of popular TV upon fashion choices and purchases. Of late, a growing number of costume designers have been picked up to collaborate with fashion brands, take Mandi Line of Pretty Little Liars and Aeropostale, Janie Bryant and Banana Republic and Gossip Girls Eric Daman and DKNY. Now more than ever we are streaming and watching shows that are becoming more and more fashionable. In order to research this further, I contacted Linda Kearns of New York's leading costume talent agency Matchbook Company, who (very kindly) forwarded some of my questions to Lyn Paulo, costume designer of Scandal and Shameless : 

Who has been your favourite character to dress to date?

LP : I have had so many that I loved to dress, Ray Liotta on Smith, was amazing as was Alison Janney on The West Wing, but obviously at the moment I would have to say that Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope is the most fun and the most interesting to create.

Do you ever have an idea if a look is going to be particularly popular with audiences ? 

LP: I love it when the looks are popular with the audience, but that issue is not something that I concern myself with.  My process is about creating a believable character through costuming and thinking about the popularity with the audience is not on my radar. 

How do you begin to research for a character? Is this a long process?
There is just never enough time for as much research as I would prefer and each show and circumstance is very different, but I do love doing research. I spend a lot of time at the beginning of each new project looking at the history and the current look of each possible character's look. For instance I am about to start work on a project that is about the world of chefs, which of course I know nothing about, so I am currently ordering every catalogue I can find that carries kitchen wear...additionally I am talking to several people who work in that world.

How much input do directors/producers have in terms of costume choices?

 I work in a medium that is collaborative, and I welcome the input of the directors and the producers who are involved, their input actually helps me to formalize the look, additionally you get a sense that you are on the right path if you can get an answer or a positive response from a director. I find it very difficult when you are working in a vacuum, where there is no free flow of information. Therefore for me personally it is essentially to have many discussions about each character so that we get it RIGHT and so everyone is happy with the outcome.

Has social media impacted your work at all?

 Yes, although not on a creative level, I love interacting with the audience and I know that social media will become more and more important as time goes on....