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Claire Parkinson (‘The Politician’ costume designer): ‘I get to recycle clothing’ from timeless periods [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]


“Creating a show that is really timeless means I get to recycle clothing,” reveals “The Politician” costume designer Claire Parkinson. For our recent webchat, she continues, “I search at a lot of vintage stores and high end designer consignment stores for this show. It’s not all new clothing. It’s very much clothing from many different time periods. This clothing is not all found in a mall or a store. It’s dug around in vintage stores, costume houses and online, to find special things that makes it feel really unique and timely.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.

“The Politician” is a Netflix comedy created by Ryan Murphy that follows Payton Hobart (Ben Platt) in his quest to become President of the United States. The first season saw Payton navigate the class presidential politics of St. Sebastian High School. In season two, he runs for a state senate seat in New York.

Last year Parkinson picked up her first Emmy nomination in the Contemporary Costumes category. The designer explains, “Ryan Murphy created such a heightened aspirational world for sure, but it is grounded in reality for parts of each character. Something really wonderful was collaborating with the actors to help them find out who these people are. Whether that’s inspired by icons from the 70s for McAfee (Laura Dreyfuss) or very presidential for Payton. In the fitting that really comes to life. The best part of my job is when an actor leaves a fitting and is like, ‘thank you, I really figured out who this character was.”

For the second season, Bette Midler became a regular member of the cast. Parkinson admits, “She has such a strong sense of style herself. We decided we wanted to design a lot of her looks. So we sourced fabrics and sketched shapes for her. We made a beautiful eggplant purple organza shear trench coat with a matching hat, some turquoise jewelry and a matching skirt. And she was sitting across from Astrid (Lucy Boynton) who was wearing this huge extreme puffy sleeve. Looking at each other — two strong women with strong silhouettes.”

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