Creating the fashions for "Glee"

  • Article by: SARA GLASSMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 15, 2010 - 11:42 AM

Native Minnesota costumer Lou Eyrich outfits the cast.

The source of style on "Glee" is costume designer Lou Eyrich, who grew up in New Ulm, Minn., where she graduated from high school in 1977. After college, Eyrich worked at Ragstock before finding her way to Hollywood, where she created looks for movies ("Running With Scissors") and TV shows ("Popular," "Nip/Tuck"), before landing at "Glee," which just won her a Costume Designers Guild award. During a break from shopping and shooting, she called us from her home in Los Angeles.

QIn high school, did anything foreshadow your career?

ABack in New Ulm, I cared a lot about the way I dressed, but I never thought it would be my profession. I made my own clothes, but I don't think I stood out.

QYou were in glee club. Anything else?

AI was in glee club, theater, choir, band. I think I was sort of a geek. Our glee club was the Payne Street Singers, because our school was on Payne Street. We made our own costumes -- peachy satin blouses and black skirts. It was so much fun. I can't remember if we really were good or not.

QHow did you end up in L.A.?

AA movie came to Minneapolis and the costume designer [Carol Ramsey] was from there. I'd just finished doing a Prince movie ["Graffiti Bridge"] and tour. I got hired, but was low on the food chain so I worked hard. I thought, "This is what I want to be when I grow up." When the movie ended, [Ramsey] said, 'If you ever come to L.A., give me a call and I'll hire you.' On Jan. 1 in 1991, I packed my stuff in a U-Haul and worked with her on a ton of movies.

QWhere do you shop for the "Glee" characters?

AYou decide where would they have the money to shop in Ohio. For the jocks and Puck, they would shop at Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Gap, Target and sports stores. For Emma, we go Anthropologie and J. Crew and then add necklaces and bracelets. I've used vintage pins that I got at the Corner Store [in Minneapolis]. Rachel wears clothes from J.C. Penney, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Target and J. Crew. We mix it up and pair it with a penny loafer, bright knee-high from Target, a way-too-short skirt from Forever 21 and a knit cardigan from a thrift store.

QWho's the most fun to dress?

AEmma and Kurt. He never, ever repeats and you get to push yourself creatively. He's a perfect doll to dress because he'll try on anything.

QHow do you style the musical numbers?

AThe kids wear jeans and T-shirts in matching colors. We started the trend to show the difference between New Directions and Vocal Adrenaline. The rival glee club always has expensive matching outfits with Betsey Johnson dresses. New Directions can't afford those costumes, so they wear T-shirts cut for those characters. For their performances at the White House and on "Oprah," it's 12 different versions of burgundy sweatshirts and T-shirts with jeans.

QWhat about Sue's signature tracksuits?

AIt was creator Ryan Murphy's idea to always have her in tracksuits. We started out with Adidas, but Jane Lynch is so tall that it was hard to fit her length. When we shopped for men's, they were too baggy. So now we make five an episode. We try to use matching sneakers. We have two big bins of them.

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177

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