HBO’s daring new show “Lovecraft Country” features fantastical creatures — and the characters who run from them do it while wearing sharp threads.
“I did the whole show in a very dreamy, beautiful palette. When you see the colors, we did really soft pastels — peach, soft blues, yellows and creams,” costume designer Dayna Pink told The Post.
Executive produced by Jordan Peele and J.J. Abrams and created by Misha Green, the 10-episode first season of the horror drama (Sundays at 9 p.m.) is set in the 1950s and follows Atticus Freeman (Jonathan Majors), a bookish young Korean War vet who embarks on a journey in search of his missing father. His uncle George (Courtney B. Vance) and childhood friend Leti (Jurnee Smollett) tag along. On their road trip, the trio encounters the real racial terrors of Jim Crow America, along with more fantastical ones. The latter includes monsters from the works of author H. P. Lovecraft — a notorious racist, as the show acknowledges, but whose pulpy stories Atticus still reads.
Since “Lovecraft Country” combines period-piece realism with more heightened genre elements, Pink was tapped for her sartorial services. She’s best known for being the creative mind behind Ryan Gosling’s iconic suits in the big-screen hit “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”
“I’ve done some period pieces, but my background is more high fashion,” she told The Post. “And so when I read the script and went into the meeting [with the show’s producers], I sort of said, ‘Listen, this is an amazing, beautiful story, and there’s so much history here. If you want to do it to the letter of this time period, I’m probably not the right person. But if you want to do it as it reads — it has amazing modern music and modern elements along with the spirit of the period. We can do a mashup and make it our own, infused with fashion and fabrics that are modern.’ ”
The rest was history, as Pink set about making characters such as Atticus and Leti feel rooted in a heightened version of the 1950s, where magic is real and creatures such as “Shoggoths” go bump in the night.
Pink found some vintage clothes and made others. For instance, she found a 1940s sea-foam green T-shirt that Atticus wears in the pilot from a costume warehouse and then created duplicates of it.
“The first thing I found for the show . . . was just a T-shirt, but it was the softest, palest sea-foam green and perfectly aged. When I saw it, I said, ‘That’s Atticus.’ His whole closet is built around that T-shirt. That was the centerpiece of everything I did for him. The neckline isn’t modern,” she said.
She also took into consideration the fact that he’s coming off a stint in the military.
“There’s a lot of things about his character that came into play, as far as the costumes go. The time period also calls for tucking your shirt in and wearing a belt. The pants were very high, which is not how you wear them today. He wears them almost like an army pant. His shirt stays tucked in, his belt is perfect.”
For Leti, she used her clothes to convey that the character’s a dreamer.
“In Episode 2, there’s a great example where you see Leti wearing this equestrian outfit,” said Pink. “The silhouette is true to the period, but the fabric and pattern are modern . . . Who is Leti, and what is she trying to say? I believe that every day that we get dressed, we tell the world what we want to say about ourselves and how we feel. For Leti, what she wears is her armor. What we see her as is who she wants you to think she is, so everything is glamorous.”
Pink even focused on details as minor as what background extras in crowd scenes are wearing beneath their clothes.
“If we put modern bras on people, you’d notice. The bras were so pointy at that time. There were cone pads that were inserts to create that pointy bustline,” she said. “We had thousands of extras, and every single one of those had a [1950s-appropriate] bra. The base of it is ’40s, ’50s and the little bits are whatever we wanted them to be.”
Pink said she has several favorite pieces, and one is coming up in this Sunday’s third episode.
“It’s this green dress that’s made of fringe . . . We knew what Leti’s action was going to be — there’s something she does wearing this dress. So when I read the script and knew what she was going to do, I built it for that.”
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