If you haven't caught HBO's new '70s music industry-based series Vinyl yet, stop what you're doing and get caught up. The show has caught on so quickly that it's already been renewed for a second season, with only three episodes having aired so far. (Martin Scorsese directed the first!) One of the many reasons we're so enamored with the show is due to the jaw-droppingly fabulous '70s-era costumes, designed by John Dunn, who also served as the costume designer for Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire, two other achingly fashionable series. Luckily, Vinyl has filled the void that Mad Men left us with when our Sunday nights were without the eye candy that the '50s and '60s-era costumes provided. Much of the standout style is provided by the show's female leads, Olivia Wilde and Juno Temple. We had a chance to ask Dunn some of our most pressing questions about the sartorial side of Vinyl. Scroll down to read about everything from where he draws inspiration from to what Juno Temple's character's signature piece is, and to shop cool pieces inspired by the series. And be sure to catch Episode 4 on HBO tonight! This is destined to be one of the most stylish series that ever graced the airwaves.
What films, TV shows, fashion designer collections, etc. do you draw inspiration from for Vinyl?
JD: So many inspirations! Since we have so many characters from really diverse social and economical levels, we need to look at everything. We watched a lot of documentaries about both rock and pop music (New York Dolls, Velvet Underground, Alice Cooper, David Bowie, Sly and the Family Stone, and even Elvis in Vegas!). TV shows we looked at were The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Mod Squad, and anything set in New York. But we studied photojournalism or any photographer documenting the various downtown club scenes like Max's Kansas City, the underground dance clubs in the Bronx and early CBGB's. We wanted to capture the gritty version of New York that has largely been whitewashed away in more recent years. So we looked to Warhol, Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith, and the Chelsea Hotel crowd. We also immersed ourselves in the higher-end fashion of 1973: Halston, Yves St. Laurent, Pierre Cardin, Oscar de la Renta, and Stephen Burrows. There's a great documentary called Battle of Versailles, which is about a runway face-off between the reigning French and American designers. The Americans won, natch! From Great Britain, we loved Ossie Clark, Thea Porter, and all things Biba. But we also looked west to California, where East West Leather was creating astounding custom hand-painted jackets and bell-bottoms that were hugely popular with rockers.
How does Devon Finestra's [played by Olivia Wilde] style help tell her story? What about Juno Temple’s character, Jamie Vine?
JD: Devon's style helps the audience discover that when we first meet her. While being at perhaps one of the low points in her relationship with Richie and confused about the direction of her life, she is a person with real untapped artistic talent. The way she dresses is one of the few outlets she has to express her great eye while being stifled by her uptight suburban life. As she takes the leap to pick up the pieces of her former urban downtown life as the series progresses, her clothing and style evolve as well.
Juno is a character totally focused on moving up at American Century Records where she's working at an entry-level position. She is wicked smart, and the only thing holding her back is being young and new to the business. She has the drive and the obsession needed to understand that her track to success is to listen to Richie's orders to find the new music. She is as obsessed as Richie in this way and her clothing style reflects this drive to be at the cutting edge. So she's into cool, sexy vintage and black leather and punk before it's even truly coded as punk. And also, she's a bit of a chameleon as she thinks very carefully about who and what she's dressing for in each situation. But ultimately she's dressing for herself as she has that kind of brash confidence.
Do Devon and Jamie have a signature piece that each wears throughout the season?
JD: We did not land on one signature piece for Devon in this first season, as her character is experiencing major shifts: She's at a crossroads and just coming to the realization that she's got to change her status quo. Her clothing style morphs through the season to reflect the choices she is coursing through in her life.
Jamie's signature piece definitely is a pair of black knee-length platform boots. Juno really felt empowered by the height they give her, and they work with everything we dressed her in. She wears them even in bed for one very provocative scene late in the season.
Do you have a favorite look from the first season?
John Dunn: We recreated a night at Max's Kansas City for a scene late in the season. The place was the clubhouse for anyone and everyone at the center of everything cool in 1973. Bob Marley and the Wailers are performing; Bruce Springsteen was the opening act. Several of our fictional characters are there mingling with folks like John Lennon and Patti Smith. Drag queens, bikers, and all the denizen of the night come together in one magical place. I walked on to the set, and as the music began to play and everyone was dancing, I just said quietly to myself, "Yes!"
Have you watched Vinyl? Tell us what you think in the comments below!