By Frances Sola Santiago | September 21, 2021
Costume Designers Are Stars On Social Media.
So Why Aren’t They Being Paid That Way?
It’s been 73 years since the first Oscar for Best Costume Design was awarded. Back then, the category was divided into two awards — for black-and-white and color films — with Roger K. Furse winning the former for Hamlet and Dorothy Jenkins and Barbara Karinska taking home the gold statue for Joan of Arc. While their names went down in history, these costume designers did not enjoy the celebrity of today’s pros like Sex and the City’s Patricia Field and Gossip Girl’s Eric Daman.
“People didn’t know who did the costumes [for films and TV],” says Salvador Perez, president of the Costume Designers Guild, an organization founded in 1953 to protect costume designers. “They’d know what the costume was and who wore it.” Over time, with the help of more televised award shows like the Golden Globes and the Emmys, as well as social media, this has changed.
In particular, over the last 18 months — in large part due to the pandemic putting a pause on celebrity outings and runway shows — audiences have turned to their favorite on-screen characters for fashion inspiration. Take, for example, Netflix’s Emily in Paris. Following the premiere of Season 1 of the Lily Collins-starring series, brands like Ganni, Marc Jacobs, and Kate Spade, as well as items like bucket hats and berets, saw a boost in sales thanks to Field’s costume work. Other shows like this year’s Gossip Girl and the forthcoming Sex and the City reboot And Just Like That… have prompted a similar reaction, not only resurrecting trends but also inspiring fan Instagram accounts dedicated to ID-ing the items worn onset before the shows even air.