New TV shows dial up style

Fashion Critic

It's the throwback '60s style as much as the story lines that has made "Mad Men" a success. The AMC series, which enters its fifth season in 2012, ushered in a ladylike trend in fashion that has reverberated all the way to the Paris runways and inspired a collaboration with retail chain Banana Republic, and a book and HSN collection for the show's costume designer Janie Bryant. So is it any wonder that the big three networks are looking for their own fashion gold? Many of this season's new shows, whether they be contemporary or retro, are amping up the style quotient in a big way. Here's a rundown.


"Charlie's Angels"

Thursdays at 8 p.m. on ABC. Premieres Thursday.

Costume designer: Roemehl Hawkins, who started her career as an intern with L.A. designer Richard Tyler.

Setup: This new take on the campy, 1970s action series is set in present-day Miami with three new angels.

What to look for: Fashion from high-end designers such as Chloe, Gucci, Stella McCartney and Alexander Wang; designer name-dropping in the dialogue; and wacky Angel disguises.

Fun fact: Hawkins uses her creative license in an upcoming episode, dressing the Angels in re-creations of prison costumes from the original series.

Biggest challenge: Scoring the hottest fashion items. "That Alexander Wang silver loafer I was following in Vogue for months. When it finally landed in my office, it was like light shining down from heaven on that shoe."

Real-world fashion potential: Good, at least for the kind of women who aspire to look like they live in Miami. "When I was working on 'Desperate Housewives,' I had women from Oklahoma calling my cellphone and asking me what kind of jeans Teri [Hatcher] was wearing," Hawkins said.


"Pan Am"

Sundays at 10 p.m. on ABC. Premieres Sept. 25

Costume designer: Ane Crabtree, also the costume designer for the F/X series "Justified."

Setup: Drama series set in 1963 follows the glamorous adventures of a Pan Am crew.

What to look for: Retro 1960s fashions inspired by everything from the Kennedys to Sears catalogs.

Fun fact: Crabtree based the crew's uniforms on L.A. designer Don Loper's original designs for Pan Am, but she raised the armholes and slimmed the skirts to make them better-fitting. The original Pan Am blue was too gray when they tested it on-screen, so the color was tweaked.

Biggest challenge: Transcontinental story lines -- Rio de Janeiro, Berlin and London in one episode, for example. And finding actors with curves. "I tell the boys and girls, don't work out! A little bit of softness is good."

Secret source: Right to the Moon Alice Vintage Clothing, a 20,000-foot barn full of clothing in Cooks Falls, N.Y.

Real-world fashion potential: Solid. Pan Am bags are already valuable in the vintage marketplace.


"2 Broke Girls"

Mondays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS. Premieres Monday at 9:30 p.m.

Costume designer: Trayce Gigi Field

The setup: Comedy about two girls waitressing in a greasy spoon who strike up an unlikely friendship in the hopes of launching a business. Produced by Michael Patrick King, who brought us "Sex and the City."

What to look for: Girl born broke (Max) in vintage blazers, scarves and copper jewelry from thrift stores and flea markets; and trustafarian gone broke (Caroline) in Chanel, Gucci and Christian Louboutin.

Fun fact: "When these girls go shopping, which they do in one episode, they are not going to Barneys," Field said. " 'Sex and the City' was a fantasy, but this show is about keeping it real. You're never going to see Caroline walking down the street in a tutu like Carrie."

Sources: Lux de Ville, Shareen, Jet Rag and Wasteland for Max; high-end designers for Caroline.

Real-world fashion potential: Excellent. There's something for everyone.


"The Playboy Club"

Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC. Premieres Monday.

Costume designer: Isis Mussenden, a veteran film costume designer whose credits include "American Psycho," "The Astronaut's Wife" and "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe."

Setup: Drama set in Chicago's Playboy Club during the early 1960s.

What to look for: Playboy bunny costumes, swanky '60s club-going clothes and after-hours outrageousness at the Playboy Mansion.

Fun fact: The bunny suits have no stretch, so there is very little room for error -- or a steak dinner. The actresses wear two pairs of pantyhose underneath, one in nude and one in sheer black, just as the original Playboy bunnies did. The bunny tails are made out of yarn.

Biggest challenge: The number of scenes, costume changes and extras. "I have two people working full time for me just collecting vintage clothes," Mussenden said.

Sources: Playclothes and Hubba Hubba in Burbank; Lucky Lingerie Plus in downtown L.A. and Vintage Underground in Chicago.

Real-world fashion potential: Could be. "We're after things that look fantastic today, not clothes that look old, tired and thrift shop," Mussenden said. "We want viewers to say, 'Where can I ever get a pair of pants like that?' "


"How to be a Gentleman"

Thursdays at 8:30 p.m. on CBS. Premieres Sept. 29.

Costume designer: Julie Block

The setup: Comedy about an unlikely friendship between a refined writer and an unrefined personal trainer.

What to look for: David, the well-dressed gentleman, in suits, pocket squares and cuff links by Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, John Varvatos and Theory; and Bert, the gym rat in Adidas track pants, Suburban Riot T-shirts and sneakers. As their friendship grows (and the show progresses) there will be a melding of men's style.

Fun fact: David doesn't own a pair of jeans, according to Block, and Bert's idea of dressing up is putting on Levi's.

Sources: Men's magazines, store catalogs.

Real-world fashion potential: For those who are willing. "For so long on TV, the look for men has been a plaid shirt and jeans," Block said. "It was a look that made its mark, but now more men are more open to having a sense of style."


For The Record Los Angeles Times Tuesday, September 20, 2011 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction TV style: In the Sept. 18 Image section, an article about new fall TV shows and style incorrectly said that "Mad Men" costume designer Janie Bryant had an HSN collection. Last year, Bryant had a collection, Janie Bryant MOD, on QVC. For The Record Los Angeles Times Sunday, September 25, 2011 Home Edition Image Part P Page 2 Features Desk 1 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction TV style: In the Sept. 18 Image section, an article about new fall TV shows and style incorrectly said that "Mad Men" costume designer Janie Bryant had an HSN collection. Last year, Bryant had a collection, Janie Bryant MOD, on QVC.
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