Along with big-name designers, sartorially skilled celebrities and models, costume designers have proven themselves as viable partners in successful fashion collaborations. Past examples: the Banana Republic "Mad Men" collection with Janie Bryant and The Limited Collection Inspired by "Scandal" by Lyn Paolo, which both ran for three consecutive deliveries. These partnerships are relatively safe, as retailers need look no further than social media for confirmation that fans not only enjoy watching shows like "Mad Men" and "Scandal" but also want to dress like their favorite characters Olivia Pope and Joan Holloway.
The latest fashion collection to make inspired-by-TV style available to the masses features a quartet of costume designers from shows that might be on your must-watch list: Bryant, of "Mad Men" and now "Hot & Bothered," Dan Lawson of "The Good Wife," Jill Ohanneson of "Revenge" and Lori Eskowitz-Carter of "Hot in Cleveland." The designers, all represented by the same agency, are partnering with — and appearing on — HSN to showcase their original designs in a collection appropriately dubbed "From The Set."
For those of you who are more experienced in online as opposed to on-air retail therapy, here's the way HSN works: The designers will appear live on Thursday's "The List with Colleen Lopez" from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. With 30 minutes each, Lawson will sell very Alicia Florrick and Diane Lockhart-esque coats and blazers, Ohanneson will pitch on-trend ponchos, Carter will plug athleisure tracksuits and Bryant will pay homage to "Mad Men" with leggings.
"The collection was inspired by the perfect pair of 1960s cigarette pants that I designed for Christina Hendricks who played Joan on 'Mad Men,'" Bryant explains. "I wanted to incorporate the perfect fit and body contouring of this sexy vintage style of the '60s with the body transforming abilities of modern fabrics." The entire collection's offerings are also accessible in price point: from $79.90 for Bryant's Joan-inspired leggings to $279.90 for Lawson's faux-fur coat.
It was a no-brainer for HSN to partner with The Matchbook Company, the agency that represents over 30 top costume designers from TV and film, for the inaugural installment of "From the Set."
"Storytelling is the foundation of all that we do at HSN," says Katherine Davenport, vice president of apparel for HSN. Matchbook Company Vice President of Branding and Communication Linda Kearns agrees. "HSN is all about story-telling, plus sharing style tips and functionality with their viewers," she said. "Our costume designers tell a story through wardrobe and dress characters of different shapes and sizes every day."
Of course, as they say, the proof is in the pudding — or in this case, the numbers. According to data collected by the Matchbook Company, when Gilt ran a Banana Republic x "Mad Men" sale in 2011, it sold out of one top style within 15 minutes and the entire stock within 24 hours. Plus, Matchbook's Kearns says The Limited's "Scandal" collection was a hit. "We were told that the collection exceeded the first month's projections in the first week," she says. "Working with costume designers of popular TV shows and movies is another way for brands to bring in new shoppers and generate excitement with existing customers, too."
Kearns is also hoping that this installment leads to a full-series pickup, so to speak. "We hope this first show with Janie, Jill, Dan and Lori will be a great success and that the 'From the Set' collection continues with additional looks from these costume designers and new designers each season," she added. (Cookie Lyon-inspired matched sets by Paolo Nieddu, please.)
Although, that means the usually behind-the-scenes costume designers now have to hone their front-of-the-camera skills to shoot their live segments Thursday night. "I've been preparing to go on live TV by doing lots of deep breathing," said Eskowitz-Carter.
"From the Set" will air on "The List with Colleen Lopez" on Thursday, Oct. 22 from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET.