The doctors of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital trade their scrubs for formal attire when they attend a glitzy fundraising gala on the 200th episode Grey’s Anatomy (tonight at 9pm EST on ABC).
“It’s a feast for the eyes. It pulls us out of the standard Grey’s [where] sometimes you’re on the edge of your chair hoping someone will survive. It’s colorful and full of movement,” costume designer Mimi Melgaard told EW. “The fans will like seeing their favorite character doing something different and being in a different environment dressed up. Who doesn’t like to see someone dressed up?” How did Melgaard prepare the characters for the rare black tie moment? After reading the script and talking with the series’ creator Shonda Rhimes, the designer and her wardrobe team went shopping. “I’ve known most of these characters for ten seasons. I considered, ‘What would they buy?'” Melgaard explained. “I stayed true to the characters, but it also had this lightness to it. It was different since it was such a monumental time in our show.” Melgaard said the cast members also enjoyed the experience. “I think everybody really loved their dresses. There were other dresses from the fittings [that didn’t end up on the episode] that several of the actresses ended up buying for themselves.”
What will happen to the gowns and tuxes when the party is over? “It’s all under lock and key right here [on the set]. You never know when we’re going to do a flashback,” Melgaard explained. “We also have occasions where somebody needs a tuxedo. So the boys’ tuxes can get used again. [There are] big walk-in closets for each character.”
Click through the gallery to see what Meredith, Derek, Callie and more characters will be wearing on tonight’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy.
Dr. Callie Torres (Sara Ramirez)
“Sara’s dress was an absolute bell-ringer as soon as she put it on,” Melgaard said of this one-shoulder gown from Tadashi Shoji. “It fit her perfectly. Usually, we alter everything — even the scrubs and lab coats — but when we put this dress on Sara, it was flawless. Her character is trying to get her life back on track and she just glows in this dress.”
Dr. Arizona Robbins (Jessica Capshaw)
“We had a couple of dresses we loved, but we just kept going back to the fullness of this dress. We just loved the idea of how drastically different it was from her normal stuff,” the designer said of this strapless gown by up-and-coming designer Misha Nonoo. “Later, when she’s sitting down in it, it consumes her. We loved that.”
Dr. Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo)
“I try to keep both Meredith and Derek in classic, timeless looks,” explained Melgaard. “When you’re watching the show ten years from now, they’re still going to look on trend. They’re classic with a little east coast preppy mixed in.” As for Meredith’s lacy Gucci gown, “When she put that dress on, we all were like, ‘Wow!’ There are some moments every once in a while where you’re like, ‘Bam. This is it.'”
Dr. Derek Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey)
In addition to looking dapper in a John Varvatos tux, Patrick Dempsey proves to be a man of many talents. “He’s a very good juggler. I couldn’t believe it,” laughed Melgaard. “He could do all sorts of tricks. He looks like he’s been juggling for a long time. Oh, that Patrick Dempsey!”
Dr. Cristina Yang & Dr. Owen Hunt (Sandra Oh and Kevin McKidd)
Dr. Yang wears a Nicole Miller dress to the gala. “Sandra’s character definitely has a sharper edge. It’s unassuming, but expensive,” Melgaard explained. Dr. Hunt wears a tuxedo by Hugo Boss — Dr. Karev and Dr. Avery wear tuxes by Zegna and Ralph Lauren, respectively. “Ten years ago, there were two kinds of cuts of tuxedos — double-breasted and single breast. Now all the designers have their own lines of formalwear, which really helps because everyone’s body is different. Now it’s awesome to go suit shopping because there are so many choices.”
Grey’s Anatomy airs tonight at 9pm EST on ABC.