Why Kirsten Dunst Could Be TV’s New Style Icon
It’s been awhile since we’ve been as enamored with a television character as we already are with Kirsten Dunst as Peggy Blomquist in Fargo. Premiering on Monday on FX, season two goes back to 1979 and introduces a slew of new characters, including Dunst, who plays “a small-town beautician with big city dreams,” according to a press release from FX.
Her character couldn’t have come onto the scene at a better time, given the ’70s revival that has claimed 2015. Curious to hear more about the fashion-forward Peggy Blomquist, we had the opportunity to speak with the show’s highly accomplished costume designer, Carol Case. Case filled us in on everything from her inspiration for Peggy to where she looked for pieces to create her authentic ’70s looks.
Scroll down to read about (and see!) Kirsten Dunst’s character’s style in Fargo season two, and to shop her signature piece!
From what we’ve seen, we get the impression that Peggy is someone who’s quite interested in fashion. Would you say that’s true?
Carol Case: Oh, absolutely. When we start up in episode one, one of the first times we see her, she has fashion magazines and with those magazines she attempts to escape her small-town life. So she’s very fashion forward. She’s trying. She may not have all the money to do it à la New York, but she’s certainly very aware.
Where did you pull inspiration from for Peggy?
CC: We did a lot of research, and I spent a lot of time in the bowels of vintage [stores] to try to get the real thing, but the interesting thing was that the hard part was a lot of the vintage stuff is summery, so we had trouble with the warmer clothes, and the show is all about the warmth. Everybody needs sweaters and not little tank tops. I spent a lot of time looking at old catalogues and old family photographs because we wanted her to be the most fashion-forward of your cousins in that photograph. Everyone has one in the back of their basement—that photograph of your family and the one girl that actually decides to be the fashion girl.
When you initially read the first script, was there anything that jumped out at you that gave you a clear grasp of her character and how she would dress?
CC: I think it’s that whole trying to escape from the small-town thing. The girl next door that really wants to be out there in the world, so we wanted to try and push that as much as we could and see where she would go from there. Kirsten was great to work with, so it was a real collaboration. We spent a lot of time talking about looks and colors. She’s just lovely.
Since fashion trends this year coincidentally have been so dramatically dictated by the ’70s, did you feel that it made designing for Peggy more fun or a little easier? Did you pull pieces from any 2015 collections? Where else did you shop for her?
CC: We did a little bit of shopping from the current collections, but not as much as we’d hoped, because things are just designed with a little bit more of a 2015 eye and we were trying to push that ’70s feel. We made a lot of her stuff. We had a lot of old ’70s patterns—those old home sewing patterns that everybody has from the garage sales. So we built a bunch of stuff. I have an excellent crew. We were able to make her that first look that you see with the coat; all of that is built. Footwear-wise, we did delve into the modern styles. There’s so much good modern footwear that really echoes the ’70s. We also tended to go with the wider-leg, high-waisted pants that come and go every second season, it seems. By the end of the season, she’s evolved a little bit into slightly more practical outfits, but she’s still pretty fashion aware.
Was there anything about Kirsten specifically that lead you to shape Peggy's style—i.e., would the costumes have been a bit different if another actress was playing the role?
CC: Oh yes. Because Kirsten bought into it completely, that part was great. You know, not all actresses want to just go, oh yeah, give me that big wide collar and that velour blouse. Some people can’t get over their sensibilities, but as far as she was concerned, she was Peggy Blomquist from the minute she walked in. It was great to work with her. She’s great to dress.
How would you describe Peggy’s style in one sentence?
CC: Girl-next-door meets the fashion magazine, 1979.