Dolly Parton pulls at your Heartstrings
“For me, writing songs is like making my own little movies with my guitar,” Dolly Parton says in the introduction to an episode of Dolly Parton’s Heartstrings (out Nov. 22), a Netflix anthology series based on that very idea. Each installment was inspired by a different track from Parton’s prodigious songbook, from the heartbreak of a pregnant teen in “Down From Dover” to the desperation of a woman threatened by that auburn-haired vixen “Jolene.”
(Pictured: Ginnifer Goodwin in “These Old Bones.”)
Inside Dolly's closet
In addition to having a role in “Jolene” (pictured), Parton appears as herself at the top of each episode to offer songwriting insight — and, of course, a whole lot of sparkle. Designer Robért Behar dressed the icon for her introductions in a series of showstopping looks. “The inspiration is the song,” Behar says of the designs. “It’s trying to put clothing on her words.” His efforts resulted in a wardrobe as varied as Parton’s long career, but all fulfilling one crucial requirement: “As long as it looks like Dolly!”
For period-piece episodes, Behar took inspiration from the historical settings to inform the design of Parton’s modern look. To open ‟Sugar Hill,” the singer is 19th-century sweet in this beribboned, puff-sleeved floral dress. “It was sort of the Little House on the Prairie kind of feel,” he says. “It’s really country.”
"Two Doors Down"
‟It’s a very Dolly moment,” Behar says of this shimmering brocade number with a red beaded fringe, paired with perfectly matched peep-toe heels. ‟Any fashion direction [you take], whatever the dress is, it just needs to be Dolly-ized.” And what does that entail, in this case? ‟If the shine is there, it is Dolly!”
Another 19th-century-set story means another classic Western look for Parton, and this one had to pull double duty, as she walks right into the action in ‟JJ Sneed” from the introduction. ‟It takes place in the late 1800s, and I wanted to make her of that period,” Behar says. Nothing says versatility like cowgirl fringe!
"Down From Dover"
“A regalness à la Jackie O, but still very Dolly” was the concept behind this ’60s-inspired sheath. To complete the look, Behar turned to famed milliner Philip Treacy, who crafted the perfect red pillbox hat for Parton. The designer says Treacy “was losing his mind” at the prospect of creating a piece for the country-music legend.
This chain-fringed gunmetal dress hints at Parton’s own role as the worldly owner of Baby Blue’s Bar & Grill in the episode inspired by the indelible “Jolene” (with Julianne Hough as the alluring title character). ‟She’s kept in [blues] or accents of those colors, with a feeling of a bar owner,” Behar says.
"These Old Bones"
“We do rhinestones now, we cover the entire piece,” says Behar, who rejected modern showgirl glitz in favor of art deco glam for this panne velvet gown. “This was just very detailed, in that direction, of that era. It has more of a sort of arabesque design, in that Erté feeling of those beautiful 1930s statues.”