Costume designer Beth Morgan flexed her muscles to keep the show’s fashion grounded—despite its being set in the decade of more is more. For the characters’ street style, Morgan looked to magazines, family photos, and two 1985 films, A Chorus Line and Girls Just Want to Have Fun. As Morgan explains, the women of GLOW “maybe don’t have the means to get amazing things, but they have the creativity and the grit to put great stuff together.” That creativity also manifested in the wrestlers’ dazzling DIY costumes. Here, Morgan breaks down four of the knockout looks.
To create an ensemble fit for a soap star, Morgan took inspiration from divas like Dolly Parton and Cher — then packed their glitz into a costume compact enough to hide under street clothes. Details like gauntlets were scrapped; jewelry was retooled to work for both outfits. What’s left is a shimmery leotard with a heavy bodice reminiscent of armor. “She’s our hero,” Morgan says. “She’s America.”
ZOYA THE DESTROYA/RUTH
Morgan imagines Method actress Ruth researching her villainous Russian alter ego as if she were “doing a Chekhov play.” Her wool coat is the type Ruth could track down at an Army-Navy surplus, but once it comes off, looking “like a badass” is still top-priority. The high collar on Zoya’s leotard mirrors a soldier’s collar, while her sleeves evoke gloves tough enough to withstand a Moscow winter.
Like the terry-cloth jumpers she wears to work out, Cherry’s gold bodysuit is a callback to a decade gone by. “She’s locked in her heyday of the mid-’70s blaxploitation,” Morgan says. “It makes her feel like she’s from another time from some of the girls.” Fashion, after all, traveled more slowly in the days when GLOWbot was the height of technology.
SHEILA THE SHE-WOLF
Unlike her fellow wrestlers, Sheila wears her identity—and costume—in and out of the ring. “It’s all hand-knit pieces interwoven with fur and then put on a corset, and then I hand-stitched over it,” explains Morgan, who worked hand-in-paw with Rankin on the look. “We made sure to leave some pieces, like it’s not finished. Like she hasn’t totally finished her transformation.”