‘Feud: Bette and Joan’ Costume Designer on Re-creating the Sixties Looks

Everyone loves a good, old-fashioned Hollywood cat fight, which is why Ryan Murphy chose this as the premise for his latest FX installment. “Feud: Bette and Joan” is an eight-part miniseries detailingthe infamous rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford steepedinMurphy’s signature campy style. Jessica Lange stars as Joan Crawford, with Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis.The costumes for the show were apparentlyas complicated and extensive as Davis and Crawford’s feud itself. Costume designer Lou Eyrich says Sarandon and Lange had“23 to 30 changes per episode,” an unusually high numberdue in large part to the many flashbacks and re-creations of the late actresses’ famous flickslike “Sudden Fear” (1952), “Straight-Jacket” (1964), “Lady in aCage” (1964) and of course, “What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?” (1962). Keep in mind that she dressed “26 to 40 other speaking parts” on top of these.Eyrich wasalso tasked with replicatingCrawford and Davis’1963 Oscars looks. Crawford’sgown in particular required a large amount of beading, dipping and dyeing — all by hand.Eyrichthen searched for the right piecesto custom make the matching necklace and earrings. “It was very specific and fine-tuned,” she says of the completed look.Gregory Peckand Joan Crawford at the 1963 Oscars.Uncredited/AP/REX/ShutterstockDavis’ gown, on the other hand, was much more simple; Eyrich says it was fairly similar to re-create the dress Davis wore as Margo Channing in “All About Eve” — a “brown satin with mink.”Throughout the miniseries, Eyrich used differentcolor palettes to distinguish Crawford and Davis’ differing personalities. ShedressedLange (Crawford) in “icy tones — blues and pinks and pistachios” and Sarandon (Davis) in “autumnal colors — rust and persimmon, golden hues, browns, chestnuts.”One particular challenge shefaced was finding the right fabric to mimic Sixtiesdraping. “The wools back then had a lot more weave to it; it wasn’t so polished looking,” she says, adding that the wools of today are “flat,” “shiny” and “stretchy” — in other words, not flattering on-camera.Despite the show’s subject matter, Eyrich says both Lange, whom she’s previously dressed for “American Horror Story,” and Sarandon were a delight to work with. No on-set feuds to see here, folks.“Feud: Bette and Joan” airs on Sunday, March 5 at 10 p.m. on FX.You're missing something!

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