By LUCY ORMONDE
Not since Sex & The City has there been such interest in the clothes of a female TV character. Nina Proudman – played so superbly by Asher Keddie – is in her 30s, a doctor and a Melbourne girl.
She has a unique style that is modern, simple and distinctive without being fashion victim. These are not clothes that scream 2011 or 2012.
And fans of the show have noticed the genius that is Nina’s wardrobe.
There is even a Facebook page dedicated to helping Australian women dress more like her.
There is just something about the way she pulls together a maxi skirt, knee-high boots and floaty top, that leaves many of us sighing wistfully – “I wish I could dress like Nina”.
And that includes me.
I’ve tried to create a “Nina” look out of the staples of my wardrobe SO MANY TIMES but invariably I end up face first and failing in a pile of over-sized scarves (Nina’s scarves err on the side of skinny), ankle boots (she’s more knee highs) and clutches (Nina likes an across-the-shoulder tan satchel).
Michael Chisholm is the Offspring Costume Designer, which means he’s the one behind Nina’s casual/chic/amazing look.
I asked the man to teach me everything he knows.
1. Nina’s fashion is almost another character in the show. Did you expect this kind of response when you first thought about her style?
All designers have somewhat of a dilemma when they are creating a look for a character, as it is great for an audience to notice the costume but on the other hand you don’t want the costume to dominate over the performance. In the case of Nina, (Asher Keddie) I always saw her as an eclectic dresser with the combination of high fashion, retro and personally crafted pieces. I never expected that our audience would be so taken by her look, but of course Asher provides inspiration to make the world of Nina real.
2. Where does the inspiration for Nina’s costumes come from? What kind of work goes into developing a character’s style?
I love fabrics and texture so I think this is reflected often in my choice of Nina’s clothing. Many a time I choose an item of clothing for its fabric and thus I reshape and style the garment accordingly.
3. How much work goes into just a costume for a scene? Talk us through the process.
With our show I have a team of people that all help in the process of producing costumes for each scene. Much of my day is out on the road sourcing fashion and retro pieces while my buyer, Zed whose role is to find additional pieces and accessories that reflect my brief. Simultaneously, my costumier Alison is manufacturing and altering many of our purchases so as to customize them.
Prior to the commencement of filming an episode, Asher and I have a meeting and then subsequent fitting where we select the appropriate costume for each scene. There are many factors that are taken into account when making the final selection such as “Nina’s” emotional psyche, surrounding colours in the scene and script requirements, i.e. running in sensible shoes.
4. How much of Asher Keddie is reflected in Nina’s style?
Asher has incredible personal taste and some of that is definitely reflective in Nina’s style. However the combination of the clothing and accessories are what I believe defines Nina’s style, and clearly the actress and the character are different.
5. For those of us keen to know how we can dress like Nina, what do you suggest?
Let’s start with the basics. You need a good pair of jeans, several colourful tank tops, scarves, a great pair of high boots, fitted denim jacket, and antique jewellery. Much of these can be purchased from high end recycle shops.