“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” Season 5 Costumes Span the Decades
Costume designer Donna Zakowska will accept her third Emmy for the fifth and final season, in which Midge dresses as a star through the decades.
Costume designer Donna Zakowska was totally unprepared for the jumps that took place in the fifth and final season of Amazon Prime’s “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Stand-up comic Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) finally became a star in 1961, but we’re interrupted by a glimpse into the future at the end of her story. Because of this, Zakowska was concerned when the scripts first came out from showrunner Amy Sherman-Palladino and executive producer-writer Dan Palladino.
“I was wondering how it was going to work, the idea of these flash forwards,” the two-time Emmy winner told IndieWire. “It was really quite drastic to suddenly project who Midge and (manager) Susie (Alex Borstein) were 30-40 years after we met them. It’s hard to really portray that, and luckily we had a really good prosthetics team. I was just trying to think about what happened and what that means for the clothes and the characters and sticking to the different time periods?”
Four of the first five episodes refer to the ’80s to resolve several personal conflicts in Midge’s life, particularly a bitter feud with Susie sometime in the future.
In Episode 1 (“Go Forward”), we learn that Esther (Alexandra Socha), Midge’s brilliant daughter at MIT, is in therapy to overcome her mother’s problems. In Episode 2 (“It’s a Man, Man, Man, Man World”), Midge recounts her successful career and failed love life on “60 Minutes.” In episode 3 (“Spellings and Distortions”), Midge is smitten when she sees Ethan (Ben Rosenfeld) living in an Israeli kibbutz with a fiance she didn’t know about while on her way to a charity show in Tel Aviv. And in Episode 5 (The Pirate Queen), Midge visits her ex-husband Joel (Michael Zegen) in prison and complains about their poorly dressed daughter-in-law.
Unsurprisingly, Midge’s wardrobe still exudes a sense of style and theater that’s typical of every decade (including Brigitte Bardot-influenced French coats). But his favorite color is still red. In fact, Esther can’t help but wear a red MIT sweater over her rebellious Ramones tee. In another flashback, Midge vividly captures the moment, wearing a classy red sequined dress for a “60 Minutes” interview, a peach Bedouin-inspired dress and turban (looking like “Lawrence of Arabia”) in Israel, and a navy blue dress for Joel’s prison visit.
What stands out, however, is the eye-catching red dress Midge wears on her first day as a writer for the comedy show ‘The Gordon Ford Show’. Her swingy plaid skirt, cute tie and sailor cap indicate that she wants to break the glass ceiling of the Reid Scott-hosted talk show.
“Red is usually a very strong color for Midge, and I call this red sailor dress,” Zakowska said. “That’s why the whole image of the sailor cap is incorporated. I really had the feeling that he was embarking on a new journey. It started with the shape of the hat and what would work here. There was something very right about the costume. But it had to have a big whimsical, adventurous aspect to it.”
In keeping with its importance, the red sailor suit is quite constructed: First, Midge likes to pull it out in a “60 Minutes” segment and explain its significance; then we learn in flashback that Midge was inspired to wear it by Susie. Finally, in a bravura subway chase, Midge crashes into an old season 4 train (Milo Ventimiglia’s Sylvio) and darts from car to car in an attempt to escape the past. He is overwhelmed by the sight of colorful passengers, but no one else dares to wear red.
“In a way, the subway cars were like a little piece of theater and a little bit like a dance that he was doing,” added Zakowska. “And as it moves from car to car, it has a circus quality to it. And that was the other thing about the sailor cap. Sometimes I thought of it as a circus train.”
Philippe Antonello / Prime Video
As for the dazzling array of clothes in the series, it was all part of the spectacle. But the description in the script started with a woman wearing a Chanel suit, which turned powder blue in the episode. “So the idea is that you both recognize — oh, wow, that’s a pretty expensive thing you’re wearing,” she said. “It was a stop-gap moment for them because you rarely see people in Chanel suits on the subway.”
In episode 4 (“Susan”), Zakowska was pushed into Broadway musical mode for the industrial show’s elaborate “Waste Management” skit, where Midge awkwardly plays the role of narrator dressed in floppy green overalls and an orange-trimmed hat. to repay a debt to Susie’s mob connection.
“I went back to the original hygiene research, but made it quite oversized, so it was very clownish and musical,” Zakowska said.” And it was important that every character and color was very specific, because the city is very happy. , very colorful, very pleasant, especially when contrasted with the trashy girls. How to make trash clothes? So I found all kinds of plastic and weird papers and basically built this myself because it’s hard to describe to someone. And my assistants found different versions of bubble wrap and tin foil that were much more reflective and much more interesting to see under the light.”
The musical sequence proved ironic because after finishing “Maisel,” Zakowska designed costumes for her first Broadway musical: an adaptation of “New York, New York,” based on Martin Scorsese’s film starring Robert De Niro and Liza Minnelli. .
“Who knew at the time that I was actually going to do a bigger version in the Broadway musical? So it went well,” he added.
The first five episodes of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” Season 5 are now available to stream on Prime Video, with new episodes every Friday.
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