Costumed in Color: Why this (mostly) middle-aged cast makes me happy to be alive

For the most part I’m happy I don’t have the good kind of cable TV, because otherwise I’d never leave the house.

At times, though, I realize my deprivation means I’ve missed a show that everyone else has been merrily watching for eons. Which results in a frantic search to see if said show is available to rent via DVD, followed by watching past episodes in decadent binges, succeeded by invariably falling asleep when my greedy little eyes can’t…stay…open.

So it was with TNT’s “The Closer,” which I only just discovered in any but a vague, pop-culture sense. And 4 seasons into it, I am really questioning my cable-having so-called friends. Do NONE of them watch this show? Or are they watching it and NOT telling me? Having 160 channels comes with certain responsibilities, people.

Now prior to glueing my retinas to the television screen, I knew enough about “The Closer” to file it away as a police drama where the show’s star, Ms Kyra Sedgwick, had accumulated critically strong reviews for her performance. But as its radio ads made the series sound like a tedious Dirty Harry rip-off, I didn’t delve any deeper.

And NOT ONE PERSON I know said,

Hey Vix—

Have you seen this show about a scatterbrained, floral-print-loving, non-rule-abiding Southern woman who gets hired to run a homicide unit in Los Angeles and ends up kicking serious criminal and office politic-al arse?

“The cast is full of guys over 40 who tend to look like they keep a copy of Color Me Beautiful next to the can, but they are supposed to be in LA, after all. And gee, do they look sharp when they’re wearing ‘their’ colors, so I guess I’m not really complaining.

“Oh, and while I hope I’m not giving anything away, Ms Sedgwick’s ‘Brenda Leigh Johnson’ wardrobe undergoes a gradual makeover and she ends up wearing a lot of ridiculously stunning vintage pieces.

“Despite your past environments and present loves, I doubt you’d like it. I just thought I’d mention it, is all.”

Even if I hated every character, every plot, and every line of the series, I’m confident I’d have to hit mute and watch it play out. Because between the actors, the settings, and the clothing it’s well nigh impossible to escape the pretty.

Permit me to enter into evidence Exhibit A:

…and Exhibits B–RRR (pay particular attention, if you will, to how Lead Costume Designer Greg LaVoi and his team flatter diverse skin tones):

Although I must say I feel very strongly that Robert Gossett (above left and right) looks much more handsome in pale yellow than bright gold—while his colleague Corey Reynolds (below left) REALLY suits the more intense shade.


But I stand by my verdict.

Besides, I often have excellent opinions. Like when I was trying to edit these photos down to fewer than a cornucopia but finally realized, “There’s a reason Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors: it‘s fun to choose a favorite.

As if the bevy of handsomely dressed men weren’t enough eye candy, it’s hard to miss that LaVoi puts Deputy Chief Johnson in ultra-feminine and/or strikingly powerful vintage pieces that are altered to fit Sedgwick’s frame like a proverbial glove—a process he’s kind enough to share on his “Fashion File” blog.

[Nevermind that BLJ would probably hem her pants with duct tape if left to her own devices.]

While I’m sure that anyone competing for Lilli Ann, Irene Lentz, or other superbly designed creations finds Mr LaVoi’s love of vintage unfortunate, the rest of us are blessed. Because his preference means that those of us who enjoy seeing beauties of the past in motion on an intriguing character from the present are in HOG HEAVEN.

However: In an effort to sound 0.0627% less like a slavering fan, I will say that every once in a while there’s an (exquisite) costume in a shade that makes Ms Sedgwick look like she was bitten by a Hep C-infected lowlife.

But generally when the team’s not swathing their star in vintage or accessorizing her with an FBI agent who’s rather easy on the eyes, one spies an awful lot of cashmere in colors that make the actor/character glow.

But please—don’t take MY word for it. Those DVDs aren’t going to watch themselves….

All photos c TNT

PSA #1: As an avid fan of the vintage-focused CoutureAllure, I’ve been lucky enough to benefit from Jody’s generous sharing of her knowledge and abundant advertising collection. Check out her info and images on San Francisco clothing brand Lilli Ann here.

PSA #2: See images and sketches of designer Irene Lentz’s work in this family-member-run effort.

12 Responses

  1. I have never seen the Closer. But I love your wardrobe analysis. You know what show I loved for vintage inspired wardrobe( even though it was kind of costumey) was Pushing up Daisies. I loved the colours and the whimsy. Not much was wearable but it was lovely eye candy.

  2. LBR — There are a few Gruff but Doting Daddy episodes you might have to FF through, but you may want to throw it on your list.

    [And I LOVED Pushing Daisies for all the reasons mentioned and was gravely affronted that the run was so short.]

  3. Hi Vix!
    I don’t get the “good” tier of cable either, but I watch the awards shows so always have an idea of what I am missing. Way in the past it was Sex and the City – and I caught up with it when it hit regular channels in syndication.

    It was really irking me to not be able to see The Closer when I watched Kyra Sedgewick get her award)s), and from the few clips they would play. So! When it came on one of the channels I get this season I said out loud “Yea! The Closer is on and it runs two separate hours together!” and my husband looked at me and asked “What is a closer?”. Oh well, it’s past his bed time anyway. But I have been reveling in this show and was SO excited to read your excellent post about it. 🙂

  4. We are a cable-free zone, and that, together with having previously lived in the UK where many shows arrived later, means that we’ve missed a tonne of good stuff (Lost, Sex in the City, 24…) and are now catching up via DVD too. I’m adding The Closer to my Netflix queue right now!!

  5. Lydia and English Organizer (aka my blogger pal formerly known as Struggler!) —

    I am so glad to have company over here on the hear-about-shows-via-Pony Express bench!

    EO, as a transplant yourself I will be interested in hearing your vote on the series. Let us know!

  6. I started watching it after having read your posting and I enjoy it! At the beginning, the closing went too fast for my taste but it improves in some way. Of course I fell for episode 2 (or was it 3?) where she meets all the aestheticans, stylists etc. and goes through a makeover, ending with the call from her parents who think she’d looked great on TV. I feel like we are the target-group. Yay! Us, focus of interest. Nice! A show designed for our needs. Mr Paula doesn’t mind it, as long as KS does not behave too girly. (shrugging shoulders etc). I only hope this show wont put me on the track “Pushing daises” did: by augmenting my sugar-intake like crazy due to enormous carbohydrate-intake seen on screen 😮
    PS: does it snow by this time of the year in the north-pacific-region? What does your fall look like?

  7. Yay, I’m back!
    We’re now part way through Season 1, thanks to Netflix, and although I’m not sure the costumes in this first season are as stunning as the ones you showed above, we’re greatly enjoying the plot lines and making pathetic attempts to guess who-dunnit before KS does.
    Best of all, it’s hitting the middle ground of “his” and “her” TV preferences, which seems to be getting harder.
    Thank you!!

  8. PS, not quite sure why the leading lady’s character is called Brenda, but I’ll put that down to American name-weirdness.
    After all, you don’t meet many guys in England called Randy. And I guess not too many women here get called Fanny.

  9. Dear Paula and EO —

    More recruits; yea! So glad you both are enjoying it. The Vix Household is coming to the end of the Netflix run (1 disc left, sob).

    EO, the costumes get better, I promise. As Paula noted: transformation of all kinds is a theme that runs through the series. And P—when/if Mr P can’t handle the stereotypical girly parts, tell him there are many ass-kicking moments to come…it terms of outsmarting the wrongdoers.

    ps Paula—snow in the mountains and other PNW regions generally starts in late fall, but my zone is usually spared; think “London” weather and that is our typical climate. However, that “usually” has already been proved false and we are allegedly in for a coooold winter. Cold + sunny I love/can handle; cold + rainy = MISERABLE.

  10. Oh.My.Stars. “The Closer” fans, I am having a starstruck moment!

    Greg LaVoi, mentioned in the post for his (and his team’s) thoughtful and delightful work, stopped by and left a comment!

    [Over on my “About” page, so I’m copying it below.]

    For you lucky cable-having bastards, this season just kicked off. Unfortunately, Greg’s comment sent me Googling and apparently this is the last (15-episode) season:

    I can only hope to see such great collaborative work elsewhere…SOON.


    Greg LaVoi, on December 11, 2010 at 11:28 pm said:

    Just stumbled upon your glorious blog and comments on Kyra Sedgwick and her colorful costumes on The Closer. Thank you for the generous compliments. Keep watching and enjoying for one more season!

    Best–Greg LaVoi (costume designer The Closer)

  11. Love your comments about one of my all-time favorite shows!

    Now, how do I find that amazing burgundy leather blazer she’s wearing in the end of the 12/20/10 episode??

  12. Belated thanks, Lisa!

    If you email Greg LaVoi via his Fashion File blog (the link is in my post), I bet he will tell you where he got the blazer…he actually took the time to give me some LA sightseeing/”The Closer” sights, so your costume question is definitely worth a shot!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s