Sunday nights just won’t be the same for the loyal fans of CBS’ popular hit The Good Wife, as the show says goodbye with its final episode. Over the years its two fierce females Alicia Florick, played by Julianna Margulies and Diane Lockhart, played by Christine Baranski, have locked heads, fought cases, gone through scandals, death and the complexities of life. And all this was done in style thanks to the work of costume designer Daniel Lawson. Here he brings us behind the scenes to dish on dressing the stars as the curtain closes for one final time for The Good Wife.
When I started working on The Good Wife I knew that the show had an amazing pedigree: Julianna Margulies, Christine Baranski, creators and writers Robert and Michelle King, producers Ridley Scott/ScottFree Productions and Brooke Kennedy. That being said, I always try to be pragmatic and never put the cart before the horse. The success of the show has been incredibly satisfying as well as thrilling. It’s wonderful to work on a project and put as much energy into a project as we all did on “TGW.” At the end of the day, it’s great to be incredibly proud of your efforts as well as the product.
Alicia and Diane are such strong women. Tell us how it was important to convey this image in their wardrobes.
Conveying Alicia and Diane’s strength was key in the design of their wardrobe. At the same time, it was incredibly important to me that they look appropriate for their jobs, that they look well heeled and stylish, and that they look as feminine as they look strong.
And how has their style evolved over the seasons?
Alicia’s costumes have gone from looking classic and elegant to modern and stylish. As her character became more confident, so too did her wardrobe. By the fifth season, Alicia’s look was more of a head-to-toe ensemble. And by season seven, her clothes were very sophisticated in color, utilizing mostly neutral tones, as well as being more confident in silhouette and shape. Alicia’s wardrobe transitions were subtle but consistent and always underscored the emotional world in which she was living.
Diane’s costumes started out being strong and stylish and somewhat risky – adjectives that described her character as well. I would say that Diane’s looks over the life of the series became more stylish and fashionable as the character felt more powerful and in control of her career and life in general.
Can you tell me about any of the brands that you have worked with in creating the style of these leading ladies
I was lucky that I was able to use practically any brand I needed to help bring Alicia and Diane to life. Some of the most important brands I used for the show included Akris, Armani, Escada, Lafayette 148 NY NY, 35DL (which is my own brand with London designer Andrea Cohen and her brand Number 35), Antonio Berardi, and Roland Mouret.
Are there particular pieces from these brands that really feel “signature” to the particular characters?
I feel that the “signature” pieces are those that were really successful in helping to tell the story while looking superb on the actor. Diane’s turquoise perforated leather suit from 35DL is a major standout piece for me as was her teal jacquard dress with matching coat, also from 35DL. Both looks generated great interest and lots of compliments. Christine Baranski looked incredible in both looks. Diane’s necklaces by PONO by Joan Goodman are iconic Diane accessories; so much so that I now have a capsule collection with them called DL for PONO. The red Roland Mouret suit Alicia wore when she found out she had won the election was a rather successful look for the character. The green and black changeable silk Karolina Zmarlak suit Alicia was wearing when she found out that Will had been killed will always be a favorite for me. I also simply loved the black Martin Grant wool coat that Alicia wore in season 4 with Michael J Fox. The dark stark silhouette against the woods was beautiful and Julianna looked magnificent in it.
It’s hard to strike the balance between looking stylish and professional on a daily basis. Both Alicia and Diane certainly nailed this.
Any tips for the average career woman on how to look stylish and office-appropriate?
Make sure your clothing fits. Set aside money for alterations. Make the clothes look like they belong only to you because they fit you that well. Invest in really good staple pieces that will become the workhorses in your closet. That’s what I did with my characters on the show. I made sure to get quality pieces that I knew would withstand the test of time both in terms of style as well as durability. Accessorize sparingly. Don’t overdo the bits and bobs – have a selective eye. Finally, I suggest mapping out your day and knowing what you are going to be doing throughout the day. Don’t go with a very casual outfit because the first half of your day is laid back when you are having an important meeting later in the day. Make sure your wardrobe is appropriate for wherever your day takes you.
Are there any pieces that the cast members have each really loved and asked to keep?
Yes. I am very proud that my cast loved their clothing on the show. Each person had pieces that they especially loved and wanted to have once the show was finished. It’s a wonderful compliment.
Do you have any particular memories that will stick with you from the show?
Do you have about 3 years for me to answer this one? I have so, so many special memories from “TGW.” It was a spectacular show to work on with the most wonderful people creating great television day in and day out. The show really was like a second family. We experienced births and deaths, marriages and divorces, life’s ups and downs together. I know we will be great friends and coworkers on many future projects together.
Some of my most cherished memories are small and personal, but mean the world to me. I will never forget meeting Jules for the very first time on a photo shoot she was doing for the show. She was as lovely and gracious and professional as anyone would imagine she would be.
I can picture a million different times that Jules would open her door and strike her runway pose when she really loved a look I’d done. That was always incredibly gratifying and thrilling.
Of course, the personal moments are the most important to me. I still have an email from Jules wishing me a happy birthday from the first season. I didn’t even know she knew it was my birthday. That’s the kind of beautiful person she is. Gosh, I’ll miss seeing her. Julianna and Christine have filled my heart with such joy and confidence and friendship. Their friendship with me is a treasure I value like a King does his realm.
Were there any behind-the-scenes wardrobe emergencies you can share with us?
My absolute favorite crisis without fail is the day Christine called me into her room because she hated the fit of her trousers. She just kept telling me how ridiculously full they were in the front and tight in the back and they just looked terrible. I let her go on for a few moments before pointing out to her that she had put her pants on backwards. The tears from laughter were epic!
Now that the show is coming to an end, tell us what is next for you.
I’m so excited to be designing costumes for Robert and Michelle King’s new series for CBS called BrainDead. It will premiere in June. I am also very busy working on the spring/summer collection for 35DL with Andrea, as well as my jewelry collaboration with PONO by Joan Goodman. I am also working with the clothing brand Lafayette 148 NY as well as being the brand ambassador for Dryel, the in-home dry-cleaning product. I was also thrilled to just find out that the Accessories Council is presenting Julianna and I with their “Influencer of the Year” ACE Award in August. How fun is that?