Dynasty: Celebrating diversity through style

When The CW’s Dynasty reboot premiered on October 11th, we were introduced to reimagined versions of beloved characters from the iconic 80’s soap opera. The show features stars like Elizabeth Gillies, Nathalie Kelley, Grant Show, James Mackay, Alan Dale, and more. In case you had any doubt, the fresh Dynasty still delivers all the greed, drama, power struggles, backstabbing, and cliffhangers of the original. But never mind the catfights, what about the clothes? 

Since Gossip Girl ended five years ago, I haven’t truly had another stylish TV show to indulge in, till now. I’ve chatted with Dynasty’s amazingly-talented costume designer Meredith Markworth-Pollack, who previously worked on Gossip Girl, Reign (obsessed with the costumes) and Hart of Dixie, on her creative process and everything fashion. Interesting fact? Dynasty is the latest in a long list of television series and films that have embraced faux fur.

What story do you want to tell through the clothing?

In this version of Dynasty, both Fallon and Cristal are businesswomen, each leading their own company. I wanted to explore their work looks and really portray the style of the versatile women that they are. Yes suiting is a big one here but so are looks that maybe our social ideas of being “appropriate” in the work place would disapprove of. I wanted to push these boundaries. I believe the modern woman can be sexy at work if she wants to. She can be emotional, funny and feminine. I strongly feel like the “rules” of dressing for work are on their way out the door. Well, at least when you are you’re own boss.

How does the original show influence you when deciding what the new characters wear?

In my first conversation with the show’s creators and director we agreed that fashion nods to the original were definitely needed, but we shouldn’t feel constrained to re-create the looks or even dedicate it as an homage. Knowing the demographic of CW viewers, we realized most of them wouldn’t even know what the original Dynasty was. And this has turned out to be true. But of course being a Dynasty fan myself, I wanted to respect the iconic 80’s styles that Nolan Miller originally created. So I’ve had fun reinterpreting some of those looks into 2017. The best part of that is the 80’s are having a major come back in fashion right now which has made that task much easier.

So which trends from 80’s would you bring back and which would you rather forget?

I personally love shoulder pads. I think people are still scarred from the 80’s shoulder pad. But I’m loving the new and improved shoulder pad I’ve been seeing in contemporary fashion. It’s much more refined and structured but still’s serves the purpose of empowerment.

Now back to the show. How long does it take overall start-to-finish with dressing everybody and all the fittings?

It’s never ending. I think one aspect of TV that most people don’t understand is that when you’re shooting one episode you’re simultaneously prepping the next. So often there are fittings happening for the next episode in the office, while I’m at the actors trailers dressing someone else for the scene they’re about to shoot. And then we’re shopping, altering, returning, in between. It’s a lot of multi-tasking and it takes a lot of people. We have a team of 10.

What were some challenges you had to overcome, if any?

I think my biggest challenge on Dynasty is making one of America’s wealthiest families look like they’re billionaires on a relatively small budget. But that’s a challenge I enjoy. It’s easy to walk in to a fancy department store and pick out crazy expensive designer clothing. It’s hard to find something comparable with half that budget. I love a good hunt.

Can you talk about each actress and what their costume brought to their specific character?

One of my favorite parts of costume design is watching a character come to life, specifically watching an actor bring that character to life through their wardrobe. There’s always that moment early on in one of your first fittings where an actor will put something on and we all kind of this “Ah-ha” moment. It’s really magical. I think for Fallon’s character played by Liz Gillies, anytime we put on something reminiscent of the 60’s or 70’s we had this “That’s so Fallon” moment. And for Cristal played by Nathalie Kelley, it was probably the white power suits that she’s worn. She felt strong and feminine.

Lastly, I have to ask—what are some of your favorite looks so far?

I love the Gucci pussy bow blouse and matching silk skirt set we used on Fallon. It had a vintage feel with small Gucci logos printed all over. And for Cristal I really loved the silver sequin gown she wore to the 80’s party by Juan Carlos Obando.

You can watch Dynasty on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. on The CW or on Netflix. And keep up with all of the show’s fashions by following Meredith Markworth-Pollack on Instagram @meredith_costumes.

Photo: The CW Network

By Barbora

Slovakia-born, Toronto-dwelling fashion lover. A fashion consultant, freelance writer, red carpet reporter and the creator behind ChiChi.