Worn with: C by Bloomingdale’s beret
There’s nothing quite like paying homage to your favorite store by wearing pants embroidered with its logo…
Worn with: Marc by Marc Jacobs bag
Fred Perry Large Mod Check Sport Shirt - No longer available
Worn with: Mariclaro bag
If you’ve ever read Fashion of Glee, then you’ll have some idea of the magnitude of the Glee closet. But how do the clothes make it from department stores to the wardrobe department? We sat down with Christann Chanell, one of the amazing Shoppers at Glee, to chat about buying clothes for one TV’s most fashionable shows:
FASHION OF GLEE: How did you get started in costuming?
CHRISTANN CHANELL: I first fell in love with fashion at a very young age, being inspired by what I saw in magazines. I often watched films on mute to just look at the clothing. I began a beautiful journey working in commercials, music videos, film and television… every project is different and that is what I love about the world of Costume Design. Bob Blackman is the costume designer for Season 5, and it is such a joy to work with him. He is so dedicated to his craft and it shows in the way he communicates his vision to our team.
What does a typical day in the Glee costume department involve?
It usually begins by reading the script for the upcoming episode, doing some research, getting creative notes from Bob and going out and conquering the world. My co-shopper Nikki Fallenstein and I [are] committed to… making sure that every item we procured was character specific. We always keep in mind the character, vision, actor, script notes and our wealth of shopping knowledge to keep our side of the Glee department well oiled and fully functioning.
Days include going to department stores like Barneys, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s for certain characters, and then smaller boutiques to find interesting pieces to add to the characters’ ensembles.
Over the years, I’ve developed relationships with the stores and sometimes it comes in handy when you get last minute casting and I have to dash out and do a quick pull and head back to the office for a fitting. No day is ever the same, but that is what makes our jobs so interesting. Staying inspired, knowing what new designers are out there and seeing what can work for a character is one thing Nikki & I always do.
You have to come up with new outfits for an entire ensemble of characters every week; where do you keep getting inspiration from?
Since this is the 5th season, the characters have pretty well established looks and it’s always fun to keep up the look and introduce new designers to the show. There are so many shows shopping and pulling from the same stores, [so] Nikki & I strive to bring in what we think is interesting and cool. I often read blogs and other fashion websites for inspiration and keep my eyes open for interesting and emerging designers. Often times, there isn’t much room to request specific items from public relations firms, but when we do have the opportunity, it’s rewarding.
Do you think your personal style influences the costumes you create?
My personal style is my personal style, it’s my own and it’s individual. What I like may or may not work for a character and that is where the line needs to be drawn. Shopping for characters opens up my imagination. They have specific color palettes, and silhouettes and this allows me to run free (well, within the parameters of budget and time) with what I shop for.
What has been the most surprising thing about your job?
The most surprising thing about my job is that it’s ever changing. With technology, social media, how fast fashion moves, I have to stay in the know. Staying in touch with popular culture, news, events and fashion is what makes this job rewarding. When I am able to translate the vision of my Costume Designer into clothing…it’s rewarding!
To get the whole low-down on how Glee costumes are created, make sure to check out Fashion of Glee’s two-part feature, ‘From Store to Screen’.