As a person who is terrified of vampires, there wasn't much incentive for me to watch HBO's vamp-centric series "True Blood" ... well, until I found out about Pam.
Played by Kristin Bauer van Straten, the nearly 200-year-old vampire is the epitome of tacky-meets-classy style. She's tall, lanky, evil and has a truly lethal fashion sense that sees her frequently sporting latex dresses and Juicy Couture tracksuits. All-in-all, Pam's wild outfits were enough to get me hooked to the show, which ended its six-season run Sunday night.
To commemorate her craziest looks, I hopped on the phone with the show's costume designer Audrey Fisher, who spelled out exactly how she made Pam look so #flawless all the time.
The starting point for Pam's fetishistic outfits was obviously Fangtasia, the vampire nightclub Pam co-owned with her maker Eric Northman (played by Alexander Skarsgard). "Pam really wanted to be the madam of Fangtasia," Fisher explains. "She really understood the power of that image and wanting to be the proprietress of this establishment – and, of course, she was a [real] madam at the turn of the century – so she sort of looked at being the boss of Fangtasia as playing a role to really draw the customer in. That was really the basis for our Fangtasia looks; we went for really extreme, very vampiric, you know, like Vampire Barbie."
Among Pam's most memorable Fangtasia ensembles were a couple of Asian-influenced latex numbers with peek-a-boo cutouts that were pretty, uh, eye-popping, to say the least. "We imagined that she loved the era when she was a madam and all those elaborate costumes that she wore, so that was a place we riffed off of for her Fangtasia looks. We called them 'work looks', and we had a name for each look, like we called that one her 'Empress look' and the one shoulder glitter dress was her 'Lady Gaga look.'"
Of course another huge characteristic of Pam's wardrobe was that she often coordinated with Eric. "They’re definitely trying to project a sort of sexy and unified image that’s a little scary, very seductive … I was definitely always thinking of them as a unit," explains Fisher. From their coordinating black leather looks to their disco-vamp Fangtasia outfits, the two of them looked the picture of a goth Barbie and Ken.
As for Fisher's fave Pam and Eric moment, that would be the picture at left, where the duo wore matching YSL and Versace ... well, sort of. "He’s wearing this, I think it’s Versace, grey, slim suit that’s a little bit iridescent. And actually that jumpsuit – I basically saw that YSL jumpsuit but I couldn’t afford a YSL jumpsuit for the show, so we made it and I altered it a little bit," confides Fisher. But then YSL called her up, "[they] actually called me to say 'Hey, we see you used the jumpsuit, that’s so great,' and I had to say, 'Well, actually I was deeply inspired by your YSL jumpsuit, unfortunately I couldn’t afford it, but I did my best to do a rendition of it.' I was worried, but they were actually really gracious and sort of flattered more than anything so that was nice."
Longtime fans will probably remember Pam for her "off-duty" looks as much as her Fangtasia ones, including her pink tracksuits and Chanel suits. "In her off-time we imagined that she really liked glamour comfort clothes, like the Juicy tracksuit," says Fisher. "We imagined she had a sort of Upper East Side lady look when she was in her off time, so that’s where the Chanel suits come from, too. So if she needs to do something that’s not Fangtasia-related, she’s in a little tweed outfit, or she’s in a Juicy tracksuit. And then when she’s working she turns up the high power vamp vixen look for her customers."
But perhaps the best tidbit I learned from Fisher was about Pam's personal shoppers. "It’s so crazy that we have all these backstories, but we do. I imagine that she has shoppers, stylists in all the major hubs that are sending her clothes from New York, Paris and London that she can get a shipment a week and then picks and chooses what she wants, because she’s stuck in Shreveport. She definitely has people working for her who ship all this stuff in." (It's like a Trunk Club for foxy vampires!)
And while saying R.I.P. to "True Blood" is pretty sad, we'll always have Pam's stellar fashion to look back on ... and, you know, emulate on Halloween. So, who's down to be my Eric?