TV Critics Choice Nominees Announced: Which Show Has Best Shoe Style?

The nominations are here. The TV Critics Choice Awards announced their list, with HBO shows “Justified” and “Olive Kitteridge” leading the competitive pack. Right behind the leaders fell shows like “The Good Wife” and “The Americans,” both with four nominations.

These bids are obviously acting related, but here at FN we are of course looking at the fashion and footwear, too. The Best Drama Series category includes the following hot shows:

  • The Americans (FX)
  • Empire (Fox)
  • Game of Thrones (HBO)
  • The Good Wife (CBS)
  • Homeland (Showtime)
  • Justified (FX)
  • Orange Is the New Black (Netflix)

We spoke to the costume designers of “Orange is the New Black” and “The Americans,” about the shoes featured on the shows.

Jenn Rogien, costume designer, “Orange is the New Black”

Samira Wiley
March 2015: Wiley, a star on “Orange is the New Black,” wearing Christian Louboutin sandals to the GLAAD Awards.
CREDIT: Getty Images.

We mostly see the characters in orange uniforms, but what about the footwear looks?                                            

“There is a pair of standard-issue boots that we purchased from a prison supplier. The actors are very divided: Some of them love the boots’ clunky and powerful feel and others hate them for the same reason. It’s funny to see the range of reactions because it’s a real prison boot.”

The show also features flashback scenes. Is this your chance to showcase other shoe brands?                                    

“My philosophy is that costumes are built from the ground up. We had a few flashbacks in the first season where we used out-of-season Manolo Blahniks we found at DSW for Piper. She had a lot of money then and it was the right shoe. For her contemporary life, we ended up using a lot of Frye. This season, there is a whole shoe moment with Lorna [Yael Stone], but I’m not going to talk [too much] about it.”

What about the non-inmates on the show?                                                                                                                      
“Fascinatingly, Larry [Biggs] has a huge shoe closet. We feature casual to dressy looks, from Cole Haan to Ralph Lauren. Fig [Alysia Reiner] has some shoe moments come up too. She was always in an elegant shoe. Inmates are stripped of wardrobe as a means of self expression, and she’s oblivious to that. We find out more about her past in season 2, and that’s always reflected in her shoe choices.”

Jenny Gering, costume designer, “The Americans”

Met Gala Red Carpet Shoes
Keri Russell wearing black strappy Giuseppe Zanotti sandals at the 2015 Met Gala.
CREDIT: Getty Images.

What is your method for handling period footwear?

“It’s very important to me that things are accurate. Starting at the low end, we use Candie’s and basics like Sperry Top-Sider; Ferragamo and Brooks Brothers for men’s shoes; and Charles Jourdan, Joan & David or really elegant, high-end fashion brands like Coach. We also have a great relationship with vintage stores and will keep backup modern shoes on the side.”

How does the show’s active plot play a role?

“We’ve discussed this at length. [The characters] don’t have to constantly be in sneakers and ready to roll. Elizabeth [played by Russell] can fight off an army in 5-inch heels. Keri and Matthew’s costumes differ very much when they are parents or [in disguise] as different characters. If I know they are going to be in a stunt and doing a ton of running, I won’t put Keri in heels. That would just be mean.”

The Americans Keri Russell Matthew Rhys
Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys in “The Americans”
CREDIT: Courtesy of FX.

Any set secrets to share?

“A lot of times Keri will try on a costume, and the shoes come in and make or break [the outfit]. It seems like the last touch, but it’s such an integral touch. She’ll try on shoes and do a little dance before the mirror and say, “I love these, I would wear these now.” What a shoe can do and how you carry yourself, it’s timeless.”

For a look at the full list of nominees, check out Deadline.com.

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