Whether we are inside the ballroom or strutting down the streets of New York City, the women of Pose are always wearing something unique, colorful, and fabulous. The FX drama recently came to and end, but the third season included some of the most opulent costuming yet. Costume designer Analucia McGorty has been nominated for Pose’s previous two seasons, and she deserves to take it home for a stunning array of looks, including Angel’s jaw-dropping wedding dress.
McGorty reveals what she was looking forward to with flashing forward to the 1990s. A lot of fashion in New York City was featuring a lot of black, but she wanted to emphasize color and celebrate women’s bodies no matter the shape or size. Pose is a celebration of womanhood in a time when a lot of female models were very thin and plastered all over magazine covers and billboards.
McGorty and I talk about several looks throughout the season (trust me, it was hard to only select a few), and I couldn’t get enough about the details of Angel’s wedding dress or amping up the lushness of Elektra’s wardrobe. Every piece is an event, and McGorty understands these characters’ intentions and dreams as much as the actors too.
You want opulence? Analucia McGorty delivers it.
Awards Daily: We flash forward to the mid-90s for season three. Which fashions of the era were you excited to explore and which trends do you really not like?
Analucia McGorty: That’s a good question. I was in high school at that time but then again I wasn’t in New York City and aware of the things that our characters were aware of at that time. One of the things I love to talk about from the 90s is that it was sleeker than the 80s. The shoulder pads have gone away and there is a celebration of women’s bodies. It was about actually showing women’s bodies instead of creating a big structure within the clothing. I was excited to have fun with that.
AM: There is also a lot of fun architectural influences which, if you are going a show in New York, it’s a dream. My love letter to the city was the Chrysler building dress that Elektra wears in that first ball. Everything that New York went through this last year, I wanted to showcase the strength and the beauty and the one person who could do that is Elektra.
AD: Of course. My god!
AM: I love the storyline that she just had that in her closet.
AD: Saving it for a rainy day!
AM: Exactly! The street style was getting to be more androgynous which I relate to that a lot. It felt more popular this season and that was fun. Some things I didn’t like…
AD: I’m actually on the edge of my seat to hear what this is (laughs)
AM: There’s a lot of strange uses of leather. Like…why? (laughs) So I stayed away from that. I also don’t use a lot of black in the show unless it’s a funeral or it’s very purposeful. In New York, everything was black, so that was hard. Donna Karan–black. It was more of a challenge to not rely on it. When we get later into the 90s, women’s clothing, I feel like, designers didn’t like women’s bodies. You had to be a stick figure and even then, the clothes weren’t that flattering. It was hard for me to find all of the things in there that I loved. I love women and I want to celebrate them. All shapes and sizes. Women are always targeted in that way, so I had to find that place for myself.
AD: I’ve always thought that the 90s were kind of like the diet 80s. Shapes and patterns still have that extravagance but it’s grown up a little?
AD: In terms of specific looks, one that stuck out to me was in episode five when Elektra is learning how to make money from Ms. Orlando. It reminded me of a yellow Carmen Sandiego look.
AM: One hundred percent.
AD: No way! Dominique Jackson gets to do some amazing stuff this year.
AM: She really does. That was my Carmen Sandiego meets Dick Tracy look which I love. That is a casual look and she’s not even trying to put anything together. We took that whole outfit apart and put it bac together. There are a lot of things that people don’t see. For example, I had her shoes dyed to be the exact yellow and there is a flower on the shoe that matches the purple of the shirt. The colors in the necklace bring it all together. She had to look chic and she is a businesswoman and putting that in the world. We had to push her even further for Elektra. Ryan [Murphy] wanted opulence and we had to push it more. That look when she’s explaining to her family as to how she has more money than she normally does, I wanted it to feel like couture from there on out.
AD: How did you decide on Angel’s wedding dress. That hair. That makeup. She has never looked more beautiful–and that’s saying something because she’s one of the most stunning women I’ve ever seen.
AM: I’ve been thinking about Angel’s wedding dress for three years.
AD: No pressure.
AM: I knew that if we ever did a wedding, it had to be something over the top. When we started the season and I was talking to Janet Mock and Steven Canals, we were talking about the arcs of everyone. A lot of that wedding dress–which we made–was wrapped between Angel as a character who is going from a girl to a woman. The dress literally blooms so I wanted it to be the beautiful finale of her journey and this character, but it’s also wrapped in with Indya Moore as a person. And what they opened my eyes to and my love for them. This whole four years has been such a journey for all of us but it was a symbol of gratitude for her. We literally sculpted that dress to her body. The underlayer of that dress is made of a piece of sculpture of her form so it fit her perfectly.
AD: Oh wow.
AM: We had so many conversations about the dress and I wanted her to feel the most beautiful. That whole scene is every team working together. It’s not just my wardrobe team and not just hair and makeup team. It’s also the DP, the lighting designer, and the prop master. I want people to see the pieces of it. Sherri Laurence made custom eyelashes for the very tips of her eyelashes. It may not be something you always see but for us, it’s something. Supporting the actor and their art is very important.
AD: Everyone looks so beautiful in that scene. Even Papi. We are so used to seeing him in maybe just a tank top or a flowy, open button-up shirt, and he looked so handsome.
AM: There was a journey for him this season as well since Papi is a businessman.
AD: And he looks so good in a suit.
AM: He really does. We wanted him to go from being a literal little boy to being an adult and he is not getting married and becomes responsible. We give him the fun, Papi flavor, but he’s still growing up. His look is very much inspired by Bobby Brown when he got married to Whitney Houston.
AD: I love the dress that Pray makes for Blanca to wear at the wedding. It has that high slit and I love the color. She looks gorgeous.
AM: She does. We made that to her body. We wanted Mj to look as gorgeous as possible. We talked a lot about being on a red carpet and what makes you feel the most beautiful and your most glamorous. She has great legs and I wanted to feature them. Since she’s the mother of the bride, it had to be a gown. Blanca’s arc is very much about herself but it’s also about her falling in love with herself as a woman. That journey was very inspiring and being comfortable with who she is. Her character felt like she was relaxing more into herself and I love Mj’s shoulders. She has this elegance of a dancer and a little wink to her Mother of the Year dress with that long, flowing veil. All of the colors of pink in Blanca’s dress, Lulu’s dress, and Elektra’s dress are the color that blooms inside the flower for Angel.
AD: You’re killing me.
AM: It’s how I wanted to tell this story and she had to have her own moment. It’s not just about Angel and Papi but about celebrating all the women in the community. All of those fittings was like a principal fitting and we talked about what they would want to make themselves feel beautiful. We wanted them to feel exquisite. This is Janet’s love note to the women in the community and that was so important for me to get right.