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Behind the Scenes of 'The Mindy Project,' 'Supergirl,' 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' and More Fall TV Costumes

Including "Elementary" star Lucy Liu on Dr. Watson's wardrobe evolution and why "Arrow" is embracing the long-sleeved look again.
Beyoncé has nothing on Rebecca Bunch and her ladies. Photo: Robert Voets/The CW

Beyoncé has nothing on Rebecca Bunch and her ladies. Photo: Robert Voets/The CW

The fall TV premieres keep right on coming with the October debuts — which could also be called the badass women list (Supergirl, Dr. Mindy Lahiri, Dr. Joan Watson... ), more superheroes (Superman, Arrow, The Flash and villains!), family dysfunction, er, dynamics ("Jane the Virgin," Shameless," "Fresh Off the Boat") or shows that are just plain hard to explain ("Westworld," "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"). But let's just have nine costume designers — and one series star — tell us about what new looks and story lines to expect this season. 

Shows are listed by premiere date below and (check the galleries for super-fun extras).


With "Game of Thrones" heading into its penultimate season, it sounds like HBO found its successor with "Westworld," a sci-fi-Western thriller. In the dystopian future, rich One-Percenters live out their fantasies in a virtual reality-esque Wild West theme park by interacting with robots, including fresh-faced Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and madame Maeve (Thandie Newton). In short: stunning costumes, suspense, violence and orgies, HBO style.

For the "Westworld" period looks, costume designer Ane Crabtree looked to '60s Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns, early 1900s imagery and the runway. Coincidentally, as she was prepping the series, fashion experienced a "Victoriana meets Western gunslinger" moment via Stella McCartney, Chloé, Marni and Valentino. For the future-dwelling 99-percenters staffing the underground park and its wealthy patrons, Crabtree took inspiration from the Bauhaus movement, '60s Italian and French cinema and '90s Prada, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan. (Trish Summerville designed the pilot.)

But don't think of "Westworld" as some bosom-heaving period piece with damsels in distress."The cool thing about 'Westworld' is that the women are always as strong as the men," Crabtree says. "That hopefully will come across in the costumes and in the fashion of it."

"Westworld" premieres at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2 on HBO. Follow Ane Crabtree on Twitter at @anecrabtree and Instagram at @anecrabtree.


The Gallagher family is experiencing some role swaps this season — or in Frank's (William H. Macy) case, an entirely new "family" named after (and dressed like) his real one. Although, the off-the-rails patriarch goes a bit too far with the "new Fiona" wearing more, um, revealing clothing that his daughter, the "real Fiona" (Emmy Rossum), would never wear. "This being a very obvious insult from Frank to Fiona," Lyn Paolo explains via e-mail. 

Fiona stays gainfully employed and appropriately dressed at Patsy's Pies while she attempts to update the staff uniforms. "Which may or may not go down well with the ladies who work at the diner," Paolo hints. As brother Lip (Jeremy Allen White) confronts newfound (sorta) sobriety, his wardrobe reflects his struggles. "Lip will be less self-aware about how he is dressing, there maybe subtle hints of how Frank dresses layered into Lip's look," Paolo says. "This is in an effort to remind the audience that Frank too, at one point, was the bright young thing in his family and he went down a path that lead him away from what could have lifted him out of the Gallagher world."

"Shameless" season 7 premieres at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2 on Showtime. Follow Lyn Paolo on Twitter at @LynPaolo and Instagram at @LynPaolo.


Season five of the other Sherlock Holmes series, in which Watson is a Joan (and played by Lucy Liu, yeah!), kicks off with a "Silence of the Lambs" type set up and a continued style evolution. "[Joan is] becoming a little more mature and businesslike," says Liu about conceptualizing the character with costume designer Rebecca Hoffherr. "She's more comfortable in her environment and more confident on how she can contribute to any case now."

Originally, Watson wore casual, printed dresses, trendy coats and ankle booties to establish a fish-out-of-water look at crime scenes, alongside a natty Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and a suit-wearing Detective Bell. Now, Watson fits right with in her own tailored suiting and a masculine-meets-feminine "uniform" of high-waisted pants, crisp button-downs and cute little ties. "We really loved the idea of 'Network,'" says Liu, who recently collaborated with Bruno Magli to co-design the women's shoe relaunch. And Watson is known for pretty stellar footwear, even when she's chasing down suspects. So will Liu break the fourth wall and have Watson wear a pair of Liu x Maglis on the show? "It would be great if she could because they are super comfortable," she says.

"Elementary" season 5 premieres at 10 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 2 on CBS. Follow Lucy Liu on Twitter at @LucyLiu and costume designer Rebecca Hofherr on Twitter at @rebeccahoffherr.

"The Mindy Project"

Last we left Mindy (Mindy Kaling), she was caught between now-engaged ex Danny (Chris Messina) and chlamydia contagion Jody (Garrett Dillahunt). And one thing we love about Mindy is her consistent inability to make the right decision ("Hamilton" tix, anyone?). But her wardrobe is evolving. "It used to be Banana Republic, J.Crew and C. Wonder," says costume designer Salvador Perez. "Now it's Prada, Marni and so much custom-made."

So look out for a custom charcoal wool double-breasted jacket and skirt set for when Mindy "runs into an old beau on the train." (Pastor Casey?!) Perez is also raiding Farfetch for color and print-happy, European market pieces from Dolce & Gabbana, MSGM, Peter Pilotto and Mary Katrantzou. 

Adding to Mindy's quandary: new pediatric nurse Ben, played by hunky Bryan Greenberg, who went kind of method with his character's wardrobe. "I'm a working-class guy, I'm not a clothes whore. I buy my jeans at Costco," says Perez, mimicking Greenberg's directives. 

"The Mindy Project" season 5 premieres on Tuesday, Oct. 4 on Hulu. Follow Salvador Perez on Twitter at @MrSalPerez and Instagram at @SalvadorPerezCostumes.

"The Flash"

The Flash/Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Kid Flash/Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) possibly discussing the benefits of full-cowl versus half-cowl. Photo: Katie Yu/The CW

The Flash/Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Kid Flash/Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) possibly discussing the benefits of full-cowl versus half-cowl. Photo: Katie Yu/The CW

A couple consequences from "The Flash" speed-running back in time to change the future: Cisco (Carlos Valdes) is an evil Elon Musk and Wally West (Keiynan Lonsdale) is now meta-human Kid Flash. For his yellow and magenta starter costume, Maya Mani — super- (and villain-) suit designer for "The Flash," "Arrow" and "Legends of Tomorrow" — pared it down. "'Flash' costumes tend to be a bit simpler [than 'Arrow'], she says. "There's not as many bits and bobs." Although, she stuck with the scarlet and yellow color palette and airbrushing a that finished touch.

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The major difference: a half-cowl, made by Bill Terezakis. "I love the way it frames his face and supports his jaw," Mani says. "And Wally West is not Flash yet, right? He's a kid."

"The Flash" season 3 premieres at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4 on The CW. 


Perhaps the brisk Star City weather is taking a toll, but Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) is back in long sleeves. But it's not for coverage. "We decided to add a bit of tech to the right arm," says the show's costume designer Mani. "More or less like a GPS or a map or just a screen he can refer to. It's one of Cisco's pet projects." Oooh, cross-over teaser?! 

Arrow (or Star City Mayor Oliver Queen, by day) does have new villains to attend to, including the masked and hooded Prometheus, who kinda looks familiar. "We were looking for almost a reverse Arrow [look]," explains Mani. She created a reptilian-like mask out of textured leather for "a rough and well-worn look." To update the also-vigilante Ragman, Mani looked to the comics — and high fashion, including Margiela and Rick Owens. "[It's] a garment that still looks like a pile of rags without literally being a pile of rags," she says. "It still has some style to it." 

"Arrow" season 5 premieres at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5 on The CW. 


Along with joining the rest of the Greg Berlanti/DC Universe on the CW, Supergirl/Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist) gains an assist from her cousin, Superman (Tyler Hoechlin), who we've seen in many iterations (including the most recent big screen "Batman v. Superman.") To integrate this Kal-El into National City, costume designer Kiersten Ronning kept his color palette consistent with Supergirl's, but with subtle differences, including slight shading on his "S" glyph. "He's been Superman longer and his costume comes from planet Krypton, while hers is made on earth," Ronning explains. "I wanted his to feel a bit aged." His cape also rests over his shoulders, secured with gold clasps, unlike Supergirl's tucked-under effect. "It looked a bit more regal," she says.

While Kara's supersuit, designed by Colleen Atwood, remains the same, her work wardrobe adjusts, reflecting her promotion at CatCo. While a bit "less girl-y," her look still retains that crisp preppiness. However, the IRL move from Los Angeles to Vancouver did impact Ronning's shopping options, but there's always Canada-based Club Monaco. "I'm trying to adapt," Ronning says. 

"Supergirl" season 2 premieres at 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 10 on The CW.

"Fresh Off the Boat"

Louis Huang (Randall Park), Emery Huang (Forrest Wheeler), Jessica Huang (Constance Wu), Eddie Huang (Hudson Yang) and Evan Huang (Ian Chen). Photo: Bob D'Amico/ABC

Louis Huang (Randall Park), Emery Huang (Forrest Wheeler), Jessica Huang (Constance Wu), Eddie Huang (Hudson Yang) and Evan Huang (Ian Chen). Photo: Bob D'Amico/ABC

It's 1995 and the Huang family heads to Taiwan. But despite the overseas travel, they're still keeping to their signature styles. "We just turned the volume up a little bit," says costume designer Debra McGuire. "[The boys] had ties on. They looked like secret agents." Eddie (Hudson Yang) is still repping in his hip-hop gear and tees, including "really great Fubu shirts" and period correct Nike Airforce 1s. "We're really lucky because the world is looking like the '90s right now," says McGuire, who's very familiar with the era since she also costume designed for "Friends."

The '90s trend also benefits Orlando real-estate mogul Jessica (Constance Wu), who not only wears vintage, custom designed wrap dresses and high-waisted shorts, but also retro-inspired pieces by Reformation and Christy Dawn. 

"Fresh Off the Boat" season 3 premieres at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 11 on ABC.

"Jane the Virgin"

Alba (Ivonne Coll), Xo (Andrea Navedo), Jane (Gina Rodriguez) and  as Rogelio (Jaime Camil) await Michael's fate. Photo: Michael Desmond/The CW

Alba (Ivonne Coll), Xo (Andrea Navedo), Jane (Gina Rodriguez) and  as Rogelio (Jaime Camil) await Michael's fate. Photo: Michael Desmond/The CW

Michael's (Brett Dier) life hangs in the balance and Rafael (Justin Baldoni) is still unwittingly married to now-not-evil Petra's evil twin, Anezka (Yael Groblas). But whatever, because, after two seasons and a pregnancy, Jane (Gina Rodriguez) will lose her virginity. Will her style change? "It does and it doesn't," Rachel Sage Kunin explains via email. "Jane's personality hasn’t changed." Although she is is willing to take more fashion risks and "her sex appeal has risen." 

To fill Jane's slightly sexed up (but still very Jane) wardrobe, Kunin looked to accessible labels like Naked Zebra, Keepsake, Lovers + Friends, Stylestalker, Splendid and Eva Longoria for The Limited. "Eva directed an episode of the show this season and she introduced me to her line," says Kunin. She also keeps Jane's clothing budget realistic to the character, from $50 pieces from Kohl's and Target to $250 on "specialty" splurges. "I also love that Jane isn't afraid to wear something twice," she says. Kate Middleton would approve.

"Jane the Virgin" season 3 premieres at 9 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 17 on The CW. Follow Rachel Sage Kunin on Instagram at @RachelSageKunin and Twitter at @RachelSageKunin.

"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

As New York transplant Rebecca Bunch (creator and writer Rachel Bloom) reaches a new level with a now-single Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III), she's also settling into West Covina — sartorially, anyway. "She's falling into sort of a surf, mall, Coachella [style]," says costume designer Melina Root. "She's discovering all these clichés about the way people dress in California." 

But that's Rebecca's real life, as opposed to those amazing fantasy musical numbers, inspired by everything from Backstreet Boys to Astaire to Beyoncé's "Lemonade." Root referenced the "bordello" scene with Rebecca surrounded by her ladies, all in white dresses. But, "instead of having these sexual overtones, they're all on their cell phones," she says. There's also the "anthropomorphic cactus dress" seen in the season-two trailer. "It's a representation of how even a tiny bit of attention or a tiny bit of what she perceives as love from Josh, she can live on that for weeks or days." 

"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" season 2 premieres at 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 21 on The CW. Follow Melina Root on Twitter at @melinaroot1 and Instagram at @melinarootcostumedesigner.

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