Awards Daily talks to The Righteous Gemstones costume designer Christina Flannery about early-2000s flashbacks and Uncle Baby Billy’s “lounge singer in Zion” look.
Costume designer Christina Flannery got to pay fashion homage to her own teenage years in Season 3 of The Righteous Gemstones. In an e-chat, I talked to her about what trends she looked for from the early 2000s, how fashion impacts character arcs for Judy (Edi Patterson) and Kelvin (Adam Devine), and of course, Uncle Baby Billy’s (Walton Goggins) big musical pay-off.
Awards Daily: What was it like working on Season 3?
Christina Flannery: Working on Season 3 was really exciting for me. I am a huge fan of the show, and the work Danny [McBride] puts out overall. The groundwork was in place when I took over, which can have its challenges; however, I felt really supported and allowed to carve out my own vision of the show. It was a really pleasant experience in both a creative way, and getting to work with my amazing crew and the cast. Basically, a dream job.
AD: What kind of considerations go into the flashbacks to the early 2000s? What were the hot styles of the time that you focused on?
CF: The flashback episode was really fun because it was when I was also in school. My ACD Maura Cusick and I got old catalogs off Etsy, for some references for Judy and Jesse. We looked at a lot of Britney Spears and Fred Durst references, but my favorite character’s wardrobe was Trent. I really wanted to pay homage to JNCOS and my early teen years. My hope is people will watch this episode, and eventually we can all go back to wearing those street sweepers ASAP!
AD: Judy cheats on BJ this season. Did her clothing change when she was remorseful? It feels like she’s a little toned down.
CF: Absolutely! We went into this season with her extremely flashy and cocky rockstar moments. Once Judy is exposed for cheating on BJ, the idea was to tone her down to fit into the idea of what the other church ladies would be wearing in their meetups. We brought in a lot more simplistic looks and florals here. We really couldn’t have done it without a lot of vintage Mugler, Bob Mackie, and Gucci! Judy is a fashion icon in all the ways, even when she tries to downplay it, she’s still an ace! Only Judy would get kidnapped in a hot pink flamingo “fancy dress.”
AD: Uncle Baby Billy’s “There Will Come a Payday” outfit is amazing. What went into designing this?
CF: Thank you so much. I really love this costume. It will go down as one of my all-time favorites. The idea in this costume is that Baby Billy is a lounge singer at Zion. I wanted to bring together some references of Liberace, Wayne Newton, and OPULENCE! Initially, I was toying around with the idea of him having a cape, but after thinking on it, a stationary shell seemed even more ridiculous and mega. Once the whole look was coming together, it truly became a one-man show. Can you tell I love drag queens? Baby Billy is for the peepers. All eyes on him.
AD: Kelvin also has a big season, with him admitting his feelings about Keefe. How does his clothing reflect this evolution?
CF: This season saw a lot of changes for Kelvin. The idea with his wardrobe was to lean more into the TIKTOK era of youth pastor with Keefe by his side. There is an injection of the hype priest along with the Double Dare style Smut Busters get-up that he and Keefe rocked so effortlessly. When we finally got to see them smooch in the hallway, I wanted to embrace them as a couple. That was achieved through elevating Keefe into a suited-up version of a doting partner, in the most gothic way possible.
AD: I love the scene where BJ fights Stephen. While Stephen is clearly not wearing anything, BJ is wearing a sweatsuit of some sort. It says so much about his character, like he’s ready to fight…but be comfortable. What made you put him in that outfit?
CF: The idea of BJ in this sweatsuit actually was to simplify his over-the-top southern wardrobe. His character would want to blend into the background, but he’s too damn stylish to diminish himself to a black sweat set. This was one of the last shooting days we had on the show; it was freezing outside and I couldn’t have imagined him trying to do this in one of the workout pastel sets he wore in the build-up to this scene.
AD: What was your favorite piece you worked on this season?
CF: Can I name a couple? For obvious reasons Baby Billy’s oyster costume. BUT! I don’t want to leave out a few golden moments that really got me and the team excited!
Aimee-Leigh’s watermelon playsuit (custom designed and built eleven of these thank you, Augrah Moon!), Judy’s opera gown (and many, many others) in Episode 1. The Cape and Pistol robes, Young Jesse’s incredible hand-stoned and embroidered monster truck suit which was an ode to Dale Earnhardt and Elvis, and last but not least, Baby Billy’s Bible Bonkers D&G suit in all its glory! It’s really hard to pick because there are just so many.
The Righteous Gemstone Season 3 is streaming on MAX.