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The Costumes In The Series Pilot
Heather Pain was the costumer designer for the series pilot. She told herself : ‘How do you create characters that are going to stand up over time? What if the characters go outside? How can we replicate the costumes if they have stunts?’
Heather Pain‘s first step was rigorous research, as showrunners Joe Port and Joe Wiseman wanted each character to be faithful to their time period.
To create the characters costume, Heather Pain took inspiration from people from the same era as the characters. “I looked at what they wore and tried to figure out what it was about their clothes that would stick in somebody’s mind, and then I approached my characters that way, What would be iconic for this person?”.
In the case of Danielle Pinnock’s Alberta, that meant pearls, feathers, and dazzling colors; Bessie Smith was also an inspiration for creating Alberta‘s costume.
For the aptly named Flower, Sheila Carrasco is dressed in a macramé top, peasant skirt, and tinted glasses. Janis Joplin was an inspiration for creating Flower’s costume.
For many of the ghosts Heather Pain had photographic reference points, but for characters whose deaths were further in the past, she had to work to maintain authenticity. “Obviously there were no cameras around in the time of the Lenape character [Sasappis], so I had to really dig deep. I contacted a couple different tribes in Oklahoma to ask them questions, I read a plethora of books, and I talked to Jacqueline West, who designed the costumes for ‘The New World.’ It was challenging creating that character for television, because everything had to be natural fabric — there were no wovens back in that time — and sometimes they wore very little clothing.”
“Whenever I begin work on a costume, I always look at the production design. What is the setting? Where are they going to be? In this case the house was really traditional with dark wood and deep earth tones.” That meant Heather Pain could use certain colors to make characters like Hetty, the lady of the manor, pop against her surroundings. “Hetty was in teal, and then it was important to me to bookend that with Alberta and make her really strong as well. I came to her color by playing off of Hetty ’s costume, and then I wanted Flower’s dress to be a pattern with colors that tied everyone together.”
The show’s leads, Samantha and Jay, required a more conventional contemporary approach, but Heather Pain was no less rigorous in her thought process regarding these characters than she was with their deceased roommates. For Jay, her starting point was his career as a chef. “When you look at people in general, I often feel that whatever their profession is has a standard look. A banker is going to dress different than a florist… it’s almost like everyone has a sort of uniform. So for Jay, I looked at different chefs and what they wore and tried to give him clothes that would make him seem more casual and at ease.” For all of her characters she creates a specific color palette, both to help differentiate the actors from each other and because “in life, people tend to stick to certain colors.”
The Costumes In Season 1 (since episode 2)
The pilot of ‘Ghosts‘ was filmed in Los Angeles in December 2020, then the shooting was relocated to Montreal when the series was ordered in May 2021. That’s why, from episode 2, it was Carmen Alie who took over and took care of the characters’ costumes for the rest of the first season. If you have the eye, you can notice that some details are not the same (including costumes, jewelry, shoes, hair etc.)