After two years of assisting Lou Eyrich — who is now creating nun habits and 1960s separates for season two of American Horror Story — costume designer Elizabeth Martucci stepped into the lead role in Glee‘s wardrobe department just in time to give Rachel and Kurt their New York City makeovers. In a piece originally published before the season 4 premiere, EW caught up with Martucci to find out how she’s taking the duo’s looks in a new direction, where she finds fashion inspiration, and what it’s like to shop for a living.
For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did Lea Michele and Chris Colfer have input on how their character’s style would change once they moved to New York City?
ELIZABETH MARTUCCI: I always enjoy hearing the actors’ thoughts, it’s a collaboration. I’ve been with the show since the second season, so we’re not starting fresh. We have relationships and there’s already trust there.
NEXT: Rachel’s New Necklace…
One of the things that doesn’t appear to have changed is that Rachel still loves a signature necklace.
Rachel has an iconic necklace each season — we’ve been using necklaces from jewelry designer Ryan Ryan since the second season — in the past we’ve done an ‘R,’ ‘Finn,’ a star and an apple. Lea and I were discussing where the storyline was going and she hit on Carrie Bradshaw’s ‘Carrie’ nameplate from Sex and the City. We made a version of that for Rachel, it’s a fun character piece for her move to New York City.
NEXT: Kurt Goes Vogue…
Kurt was already wearing McQueen and Gucci back in Lima, what does he wear to the offices of Vogue?
Kurt has always been fashion-forward, but his Vogue [internship] is something we can really have fun with. We dressed him in Balenciaga, Hugo Boss and Dior and also brought back pieces like his hippo brooch to remind him of where he’s come from. These Paul Smith pants have a shark tooth print on them. When he’s at Vogue, he’s swimming with the sharks.
NEXT: Bringing Back the Beret…
Unlike Kurt, Rachel isn’t into contemporary style. How does her retro look change?
At the beginning of season 4, we see an updated version of Rachel’s classic season 1 style. A little bit of East coast prep with the berets and knee socks and other fun elements. Part way through the season, she gets some help and her style really starts to shift.
NEXT: Uptown Girl…
Who’s the good samaritan that helps Rachel update her wardrobe?
When Kurt gets his internship at Vogue, he has a style intervention for Rachel. That’s when she really embraces New York City and her new life as a young adult. Her outfits become more sophisticated and body-conscious. Once she makes the transition, you’ll see her wearing edgier clothes from lines like Trina Turk, Rag & Bone and Alexander Wang.
NEXT: Under the Influence…
Other than the script, what inspired Kurt and Rachel’s new looks?
Little things can inspire a great costume, so I keep my eyes open everywhere I go. I haven’t been to Fashion Week in a while because the hours and the pace of [working on Glee] are so demanding, but I definitely watch the shows online. I also follow fashion blogs like The Sartorialist to keep me current.
NEXT: Fashion Finds…
Does staying current mean that you get to shop a lot?
We shop a lot. Department stores like Barneys, costume houses, vintage shops like Decades and The Way We Wore, we run all over town. For special scenes, we’ll borrow gowns from designer showrooms, but for the most part we make or buy everything.
NEXT: Kurt Suits Up…
What’s one style rule men could learn from Kurt?
Kurt is more sophisticated than in previous seasons. He’s starting to grow up and trying to find his place in the fast-paced fashion world. Fit makes such a difference in clothing, so having the time to fit and tailor it properly really sells the clothing and makes [the wearer] look great.
NEXT: Bright Lights, Big City…
People say that New Yorkers wear too much black. Will Rachel’s new wardrobe be less colorful?
With a transition to a big city it’s natural for an artist to assimilate into their surroundings. Rachel has been dreaming about living in New York her whole life, so she’s bringing her fashion A-game.