How the 'Fuller House' Costume Designer Brought the Tanners into 2016 - Fashionista

How the 'Fuller House' Costume Designer Brought the Tanners into 2016

Mary Kate (yes, Mary Kate) Killilea also talks about how she would have dressed the Olsen Twins as grown-up Michelle.
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"Maybe Michelle will visit next time." Photo: Michael Yarish/Netflix

"Maybe Michelle will visit next time." Photo: Michael Yarish/Netflix

The latest reboot of '90s TV favorites, "Fuller House" premieres on Netflix this Friday, Feb. 26. The extended Tanner family is back, but with a twist. This time around, eldest daughter D.J. (Candace Cameron Bure) is the head of the household with middle sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and best friend/'90s fashion icon Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) moving into the San Francisco Tanner family home to help widowed big sis take care of her three sons. Of course, the original adults, dad-turned-granddad Danny (Bob Saget), comedian Uncle Joey (Alanis Morissette ex, Dave Coulier) and a mullet-free Uncle Jesse (a frozen-in time John Stamos) and Aunt Becky (Lori Loughlin) make regular check-ins on the second and third generations.

Cameron Bure took some time out of the business in the early aughts and fully returned with the ABC Family gymnastics series, "Make It or Break It," where she first worked with costume designer Mary Kate Killilea. (Considering her first name, Killilea was pretty much destined to work on "Fuller House," right?) "I brought on Mary Kate to be the costume designer on the show because I love her," Cameron Bure told me backstage at the Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection runway show during New York Fashion Week, and the feeling is mutual. "We have a really really nice friendship and working relationship," the costume designer agreed.

"We wanted it to be realistic," explains Killilea about her costume concept for the Tanners in 2016. She met with each of the actors to discuss their character evolutions, including their present-day professions in the series. D.J., a mom of three, is working as a veterinarian and preparing her Tinder swiping skills as she re-enters the dating field — and yes, Steve Hale, (Scott Weinger) is back — but, like those guys at your high school reunion, he is less follicularly blessed. "[D.J.] is a modern mom and that's pretty much where we went with her," Killilea says. "She definitely has this great sense of style, which is completely what I've stolen from Candace." 

Jodie Sweetin as Stephanie and Candace Cameron Bure as D.J. Photo: Michael Yarish/Netflix

Jodie Sweetin as Stephanie and Candace Cameron Bure as D.J. Photo: Michael Yarish/Netflix

Stephanie is a jet-setting DJ (as in disc jockey, not Donna Jo), so Killilea had fun infusing some festival inspiration into DJ Tanner. (See what they did there? Ed. note: I truly hope this is a real person's DJ name.) "I, myself, attended Woodstock back in '95 or '94," laughed the costume designer. "Some of Stephanie's stuff is a throwback to these festivals that are also very common now, [like] Coachella, but back then it was Lollapalooza... " And I always thought accessories queen and print mixing pro Kimmy Gibbler was the original hipster

Speaking of, the endearingly pesky neighbor has become a party planner, obviously, with an on-and-off caliente husband (kind of bringing "Joy" flashbacks) and feisty daughter, Ramona. "One of the first things I thought of when I got the job was, what am I gonna do with Kimmy Gibbler?" laughs Killilea, who enjoyed the help of a Kimmy-inspired Pinterest board presented by a totally game Barber. "One of the big things: When she was a kid doing 'Full House,' Kimmy kind of was the butt of the joke a lot and we didn't want the joke to be at the expense of her and that was the big difference [in her costumes.]"

Kimmy, still rocking some aggressive accessories. Photo: Michael Yarish/Netflix

Kimmy, still rocking some aggressive accessories. Photo: Michael Yarish/Netflix

"Kimmy is still very quirky, but in an updated kind of way," says Cameron Bure. "I think Mary Kate had the most fun styling her character." As she should. Killilea scoured Etsy, Modcloth — where she scored a pair of "cool shoes" with aquariums in the heels — and vintage rental houses for Kimmy's eclectic, '90s-inspired pieces. Look out for throwbacks to young Kimmy, like the bacon-and-egg knit scarf in the trailer, a donut purse and Rubik's Cube bag. "She has fish earrings," Killilea laughed. "Sometimes during our live tapings, the clothes that Kimmy Gibbler would wear would get their own applause when she'd walk into the room," laughed Cameron Bure.

The parentals were just as eager to get back into their old costumes. As in, their actual old costumes. John Stamos (whom I'm convinced shares a vampire lair with fellow backwards-aging superstars Rob Lowe and Jennifer Lopez) brought in select pieces that he wore as Uncle Jesse in the original series. "He literally has the jacket from the pilot of 'Full House,'" Killilea says. "He was so enthusiastic and wanted to just nail it and at his expense. John's a super stylish guy and I was a little worried that he'd want to be John Stamos and not Jesse. We used almost all of his stuff because there's no way I could replicate it." So that pec-hugging bowling shirt that Uncle Jesse wears to breakfast isn't a Ben Sherman plucked from the department store rack. It's Stamos's circa '90s shirt tailored and refit in a "more modern" silhouette. And don't worry; Coulier brought back Uncle Joey's mid-'90s, loudly printed short-sleeve button-downs to wear as well.

Uncle Jesse shows his 20-year-old twin sons how a MAN wears a bowling shirt. And Uncle Joey embraces the pajama trend. Photo: Michael Yarish/Netflix

Uncle Jesse shows his 20-year-old twin sons how a MAN wears a bowling shirt. And Uncle Joey embraces the pajama trend. Photo: Michael Yarish/Netflix

Sadly, baby sister Michelle — now The Row designers Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen — won't be making an appearance in "Fuller House." But as widely reported, the show goes full meta, making references to Michelle being too busy with her successful fashion career in New York to visit. But that doesn't mean Killilea didn't have them in mind. "I definitely had [an idea of how I wanted to dress the Olsen twins as Michelle] because I had not known whether or not they would be returning when I took the job," she says. "I was looking forward to pulling in a real New York sensibility to them."

"She would have been our little fashionista," Killilea adds. "And I think what would have been funny is that I think that Stephanie would be dressing a little younger than Michelle would have been. I think Michelle would have had her maturity in New York and Jodie [as Stephanie] would still be like one of the kids and I would have liked to have had a lot of fun with that." Well, there's always hope for "Fullest House."

Yup, still got it. Photo: Michael Yarish/Netflix

Yup, still got it. Photo: Michael Yarish/Netflix

Follow Mary Kate Killilea on Twitter @1mkk. The first season of "Fuller House" premieres on Friday, Feb. 26 on Netflix.

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