Wardrobe Department: Joseph Porro
The day starts at 8:00A.M. Everyone arrives and we sort through my weekend purchases. Three of us hit the computers and go to the websites I found over the weekend. Orders are placed. Next day air only. Though I have some shoes from Hollywood Bld. that I purchased Saturday, I won't have any "real girl shoes" for the transexual character's first fitting. I don't like this but luckily I scheduled a follow up for the next day. Hopefully his shoes will arrive as promised by 3:00P.M. His next fitting is scheduled for one hour later! I've had some real problems with shipping companies, so this makes me cringe a little.
The atmosphere is very tense because we all know what we're up against in getting the transexual character ready. Everyone takes notes as we go slowly through both characters that are coming later this afternoon. The point is to visualize them dressed in our costumes from head to toe. This way we can see what we are missing. A pair of shoes here. Earrings there. More jeans in smaller or larger sizes. The list goes on. I look at the clock and it's 10:30A.M. Like military units armed with credit cards, everyone including myself dash to all parts of the city for some intense "take no hostages" guerilla shopping!
Everyone drifts in over an hour period around 2:00P.M. Shopping bags are unpacked and hung in characters's sections. I pace around checking each Costumer's purchases seeing if they got it right. Most of it I'm happy with. There are a few disappointments. This store didn't have the right size. Only in this color. The usual. Sometimes the simplest things can be the most difficult to find. Try shopping for a pair of size eleven men's black dress shoes in Hong Kong. It would take ten minutes to find them in L.A. I had to have them custom made there! So you have to go with flow. Always have a plan B!
The first actor arrives. It's the Mother character. She's a forty year old beauty and has a contagious smile. We jump right into it. Margarita, my cutter-fitter, waits outside the dressing room with me as Kathy, my assistant helps her change into her first costume. By timing how long I wait outside I can usually tell how difficult the fitting will be. If it goes fast then I know they are happy with what they are wearing. If I wait a long time then what I chose didn't fit or was the wrong color. Luckily Kathy opens the door and we come in. She looks great. Minor alterations. We start pinning away. Shoes are discussed. Jewelry and Handbag options are shown. We go through her six changes following the same process. In the end the actress and I are very happy. We have the right look for the character. So we all bonded for an hour, and the actress goes off to meet Make-up and Hair to discuss the look from the neck up.
All this time though, I am thinking about the transexual character in the back of my head. What does he look like? Is he built in a feminine manner? I know that what I put him in will be seen across America, and my name goes on it. The major plot point in the script is where we suddenly realize that this character is not a real women but a transexual. It should throw the audience for a loop! This means we have to make him as believable as possible. A real transexual will take hormones for years, have laser hair reduction, and spend up to a hundred thousand dollars in surgery to create the illusion that they were born female. And most times the illusion works. But we only have clothes and makeup and a few hours of fitting time to do the same job. I don't know if we can pull it off unless this is a very feminine young man.
The actor arrives. He has a beautiful face, but the rest is all American male. Time to turn lemons into lemonade. We start in on the intimate apparel first. I have a private meeting and we discuss how to hide that tell tale bulge. I leave him alone and let him put on his lower gear including the hip and butt pads. In we come and help him with the bra and silicone gel breasts that are primary used for cancer patients. The pieces look good.
Now it's on to the outer garments. Two racks of clothes are in the room. Hooker gear and everyday women's clothes. I have to create five changes. So this takes a couple of hours of trying on piece after piece, throwing this out, trying this. We have at the end picked five changes and have a few options. Pieces have been pinned. Extra padding is to be added to his hips. New pieces need to be bought. This is probable the toughest fitting I've done on this show. Our actor to his credit has been a real team player and a really sweet guy. We have several changes worked out and pinned, and a few alternates if needed. We sort through the few racks of clothes, and put up the returns. Everyone is exhausted. The fitting was two and a half hours long. A record for this show! Everyone packs up and goes home.