The 7th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design features a large group of costumes from the television show SMASH. With costumes designed by Joseph G. Aulisi, SMASH chronicled the ups and downs of an ensemble cast as they launched a Broadway show. In this exclusive interview, Mr. Aulisi reveals the breakneck pace of working on SMASH and shares highlights from his career.
See costumes from SMASH and many other television shows in The 7th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design exhibition at the FIDM Museum through October 19, 2013. Open 10-5, Tuesday through Saturday, this FREE exhibition is a wonderful look at the costumes that create our favorite television shows.
How did you manage the design process for the contemporary pieces along with the costumes for the two Broadway musicals within SMASH?
Everything for the musical numbers in the Bombshell and Liaison sequences was made to order, mostly within one or two weeks. I go into the shop and sketch, start selecting fabrics, make the muslin versions and do the fittings, then the regular fittings, and finally deliver them the night before the next morning’s shoot. Often there were 12 to 16 dancers to clothe, along with the principals’ costumes.
Were you able to rent any costumes?
No, and that was part of the challenge. Having the ideas and doing the sketches comes quite easily. Getting the costume houses to produce them in the time required was not so easy. Two or three houses worked at the same time on just one number.
When did you do your fittings?
We had to work around the shooting schedule, because we were always shooting one episode as we were prepping another one. Dancers had rehearsals and many of the principals had singing rehearsals. It was a bit of a logistical trick because we shot and rehearsed mostly in Queens NY, while all the costumes houses are in Manhattan.