How the New ‘Dynasty’ TV Show Will Bring Drama Through Fashion

dynasty cw 2017 costumes
A still from The CW's "Dynasty."
Courtesy of CW

A modernized version of the 1980s hit prime-time soap “Dynasty” is back. Old fans and new will follow the Carrington and Colby families as they feud over fortune, this time in the city of Atlanta. Will this be the new “Gossip Girl?”

Footwear News caught up with the show’s costume designer, Meredith Markworth-Pollack, ahead of the Oct. 11 premiere to discuss the series’ style. (Her other design credits include The CW’s “Reign” and “Hart of Dixie.”)

Dynasty A still from The CW’s “Dynasty.” Courtesy image

How much inspiration did you take from the original “Dynasty?”
“We definitely wanted to acknowledge the iconic-ness that the original brought to ’80s fashion, but we also wanted to make sure all of the looks and the feel of the show could stand alone. Nolan Miller was the designer and iconic on his own. He did a line of his own gowns, and he had several lines of jewelry, and we’ve used some of his pieces. I binged the original [show] and took away some staples that I thought I wanted to incorporate — some of those being shoulder pads. Lucky for me, I feel like the ’80s are having a revival in fashion. Also from the original were matching sets and suiting for  women. There are a lot of designers playing with that right now. Even similar tonal ensembles we’ve been [incorporating].”

How important is footwear in the show?
“Shoes are really important. We don’t always get to see them in TV. I love dressing both women — Fallon and Cristal — their styles are so different. Fallon is more flamboyant and bolder. We used these amazing Prada feather shoes. Cristal’s style is more subtle. She’s into the earth tones, nudes and blushes. Christian Louboutin is always showing up, and same with Jimmy Choo. I’ve used a ton of René Caovilla. When the girls see I got them a pair, they’re, like, stuffing their feet in them. They love them. We use a lot of Gucci shoes. I also like to spend our money locally in Atlanta, and there’s a wonderful bespoke shoe company called Cobbler Union. The men love it.”

Dynasty A still from The CW’s “Dynasty.” Courtesy image

What brands did you lean towards?
“Compared to what these people would really be spending, it’s always a challenge and its part of the hunt. I’ve been sticking with high-end designers including Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Balmain, Alexandre Vauthier, Mugler, Roland Mouret. Ralph Lauren Purple Label and Armani for the men.”

How does it compare to “Gossip Girl?” (Markworth-Pollack was the assistant costume designer on the former CW show.)
It’s the same creators and it’s setting up two strong female leads. But it’s a different world, time and story. To me the comparison is just two very strong women with two very different styles. It’s going to be fun for the viewers to connect to them and their style and figure out who they relate to more — similar to Blair and Serena [from ‘Gossip Girl’].”

Dynasty Fallon and Cristal from The CW’s “Dynasty.” Courtesy image

How costume design has changed since you started?
“I was thinking about how times have changed. ‘Gossip Girl’ was 10 years ago and I was the assistant designer. It was before Instagram. Now, it’s all so instant. [Finding costume credits] is much more accessible. I get direct messages on Instagram wanting to know where I got certain things. That was never an option before. Even if you were a “Sex and the City” fan. I never would have thought of being able to contact Patricia Field and ask, ‘Where did you get SJP’s purple dress?’ I know it’s important to women. They want to emulate the look and I think it’s great. I feel like 10 years ago people didn’t even know what a costume designer did or was and now it’s been put on the map. The knowledge and the wherewithal is great and I welcome it. Actors are involved. The three of us have a great relationship. We are constantly on Instagram sending each other ideas, I mean daily,  and it’s become such a great way to share and get inspired.”

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