‘Cruel Summer’s Costume Designer Shares Where She Got Those Iconic ’90s Looks

Period-specific tv is tough. It’s tempting for exhibits to relentlessly lean into the shoulder pads or fringe of their many years, sacrificing authenticity for enjoyable. But there’s one present that understands the project. And in the event you’ve fallen in love with Cruel Summer‘s take on ’90s vogue, you might have one individual to thank to your new obsession: costume designer Taneia Lednicky. Decider spoke to Lednicky about how she navigated the difficult vogue difficulties between Cruel Summer‘s three timelines, the steps she took to make the fashion true to the series’ Texas setting, and — most excitingly — the place she discovered a few of Kate (Olivia Holt) and Jeanette’s (Chiara Aurelia) finest appears.

When Lednicky was first advised that Cruel Summer could be set over three years within the ’90s, she confronted an uncommon problem. “I lived through the ’90s. myself. And what when it came time to go, OK, what’s the difference between ’93 and ’94? I couldn’t have told you,” she stated.

That’s when the costume designer went to work shopping for outdated JCPenney and Sears catalogs, in addition to teen magazines. “I lucked out with beautiful yearbooks from towns around Dallas-Fort Worth because not not only did I want that period thing to be right, but I wanted to keep some Texas flavors here. I feel like that’s something that I do and that’s the reason people come to me sometimes because we want to have flavor but not hit it too hard,” Lednicky defined. “It was really important to go back and look at those catalogs. It looks dorky to our eyes, but if you do enough of that, you create that world. We left out the very ugliest things of that period, I have to say. So that’s what it took for me and then to accentuate differences between the years that were maybe artificial. Some color control, just to help orient us really quickly because color is something, without thinking about it, you could recognize that you’re in another year by colors.”

'Cruel Summer'
Photo: Freeform

Drilling down into that Texas taste required an emphasis on denim. “Everybody has their denim boots and a cowboy hat. Hopefully in every group scene, if you have a lot of background, you’ve got to have at least one cowboy hat in there. We left out the worst fringe and so forth. And there’s some beautiful, beautiful leather belts, trying to keep some of those pieces right,” Lednicky stated.

But what really units Lednicky’s work aside from different costumer designers is the care she places into the acutely aware and emotional vogue decisions of each character. An excellent instance is Nathaniel Ashton’s Ben. Jamie’s (Froy Gutierrez) finest buddy who’s often caught within the center, Lednicky envisioned the quiet follower as somebody who would doubtless be dressed by his dad and mom fairly than have his personal sense of fashion. “I imagined him in his boots that his dad was making him wear. You know, that kind of thing. I have a lot of imaginary conversations in my mind with their environment. Like who is dressing them? It was a big thing on this show,” Lednicky stated.

The intentionality of those appears is particularly obvious relating to Jeanette and Kate. When we first meet Jeanette in 1993, she is the furthest factor from cool. Always clad in tie-dye with crimped hair and plastic jewellery, Jeanette is the proper embodiment of everybody’s most unlucky preteen years. Getting her iconic awkwardness down all began with a silhouette.

Cruel Summer
Photo: Freeform

“We bought a huge amount of things so that we could bring them back and fix them, put them in a wardrobe blender and put the things together. Chiara was so open to all that. Honestly all my actors are so wonderful, and they really let play time happen,” Lednicky stated. “Fittings with them were my favorite, like, just bring in the racks, a to z, and try to find a way. Obviously, they have to fit and not be to this or that. But there’s a moment when you put an outfit together where that third person comes into the room. All of a sudden Jeanette’s there. Honestly, even talking about it sends a signal up my spine, my favorite moment.”

Likewise Kate’s wardrobe, particularly in 1993, needed to mirror her standing as queen bee. “The new ’90s seems more appropriate for Kate because it was important for me that her things always be really fresh looking, part of looking expensive,” Lednicky defined. “So white jeans, we actually had some period white jeans. They had to be pristine and really show her status.”

When requested if she had a favourite piece from the present, Lednicky pointed to 2 articles of clothes she had customized made. The first was an uncommon skirt that was constructed for Jeanette and was based mostly off {a photograph} of three ladies strolling down the road. The second was Mallory’s (Harley Quinn Smith) denim jacket.

True to Mallory’s rebellious and assured persona, Lednicky selected to make her a kind of magpie. Her wardrobe consists of a number of reworked items that had been altered to suit the character’s persona. “We found this really nice, very simple denim jacket and cut the sleeves off and then everybody in the department took a turn taking a scrap and painting some funky stuff on it,” Lednicky stated. “It fit in perfectly with the theme of finding out who you are and identifying yourself and making yourself who you want to be. It was great to play with all the clothes for that. I really enjoyed it.”

Whenever doable Lednicky tried to go for garments and equipment that had been really from the ’90s. Poshmark was a giant useful resource for each her and Cruel Summer’s costume purchaser Brooke Wilson. In addition to on-line buying, the group additionally utilized native outlets within the Dallas-Fort Worth space in addition to a few greater chains. “We took more advantage of Nordstrom. We have some Urban Outfitters, [which] is hot for some of that right now,” Lednicky revealed.

Cruel Summer

But greater than something Lednicky wished her work to mirror the insecurity and panic that comes with being an adolescent. “The whole feeling, it’s all based on emotion with teenagers too. You have to be in your power or oh my god, I’m going on a date and everything that means,” Lednicky stated. “It gave a lot of us a second chance at our identities, I think, when you immerse yourself in the ‘who am I?’ world. It did get a little self reflection out of everyone.”

“I think every high school girl feels really alone and lost sometimes.” Lednicky recalled a lady she grew up with who got here from a rich household and was recognized to be good and fashionable. One day she ended up within the hospital. “She had had some horrible thing that she had done to herself. I understand it better in reflection because, at the time, I didn’t understand how somebody who looked like they had everything could be in so much pain. Sometimes, I wish I could talk to those people again, and myself, to say you’ll find yourself and it will get better.”

New episodes of Cruel Summer premiere on Freeform on Tuesdays.

Where to stream Cruel Summer

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