Open Mic

Costume Designers Guild Awards: Hollywood Dresses Up to Honor Those Who Dress Up Hollywood

Hillary Atkin Posted February 23, 2012 at 12:10 PM

It's the one night of the year when costume designers in film and television get more glory than the actors who wear their creations in an event that has a rep for being loose and rollicking, the Costume Designers Guild Awards.

Actress Jane Lynch, outfitted in a stunning long red gown, ably hosted the 14th annual edition of the gala awards ceremony, held Tuesday night at the Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom, which was packed with well-dressed attendees.

Lynch has close ties with a double honoree of the evening, “Glee” costume designer Lou Eyrich, who was awarded with trophies for Career Achievement in Television, presented by Ryan Murphy, and for Outstanding Contemporary TV Series. The actress recalled their initial encounter for the Fox show.

"The first fitting, she gave me an off-the-rack Adidas track suit. She had ripped it apart. But I am so hard to fit, she (Eyrich) just said, 'We're going to have to make them for you.' Now I have 35 custom track suits in my wardrobe closet. And you won't rip that track suit off my body until it goes into the Smithsonian," Lynch told the appreciative crowd. "That's the magic of costume design."

Eyrich reflected on her career, which began in 1988 when she was a production assistant on a music video, then worked on a movie with Prince in her native Minneapolis before beginning television costume design with the WB show "Popular" and moving on to work with Murphy on his acclaimed FX series "Nip/Tuck" and then on to "Glee."

"I've learned to handle everything with grace and a sense of humor," Eyrich said. “Costume design is like falling off a cliff and you have actors that need to be dressed by the time you hit the ground."

In the contemporary television series category, she competed with the costume designers from "Modern Family," "Revenge," "Saturday Night Live" and "Sons of Anarchy."

Viewing the recap reel of the year in design, it was easy to appreciate the artistry in shows ranging from "Downton Abbey” to ”Pan Am,” “Boardwalk Empire" to "the Kennedys" and films including "Hugo," "The Help,” “The Iron Lady," "The Descendants," "Bridesmaids” and "Moneyball” that were showcased.

In the period/fantasy television series category, “Empire” and ”Pan Am” competed with "Game of Thrones," "Once Upon a Time" and "The Borgias," with John A. Dunn and Lisa Padovani taking the prize for their 1920s period costume work for the large ensemble cast of HBO’s "Boardwalk Empire."

The awards ceremony was sponsored by Lacoste and Disaranno, which each presented honors, to Kate Beckinsale and Marlene Stewart, respectively, and studded with actors of the nominated programs as presenters, including Katey Sagal, Penelope Ann Miller, Amber Valletta and Madeleine Stowe.

But it was Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood and his longtime costume designer Deborah Hopper who stole the spotlight as they were honored for their 20 films during 28 years of collaboration.

Marcia Gay Harden introduced them, and noted Eastwood’s early contribution to the concept of his clothing in the Sergio Leone spaghetti Westerns where he played the Man With No Name. “That iconic serape, Clint came up with that idea. Sergio not only approved the olive green poncho, that serape was never washed, never even dry-cleaned, and with each film ... it became a darker shade of olive,” she said.

Actor Ken Watanabe made a surprise appearance to honor the two as well, having worked with them on “Letters From Iwo Jima.”

Eastwood charmed the audience by noting that he never subscribed to the auteur theory of film -- that he considered people on his productions a platoon and a company, with Hopper playing a key role. "I feel lucky every minute," she said, alluding to one of his iconic movie lines.

It was a feeling that swept through the ballroom.

For a complete list of winners, please click here.