It’s not surprising that we’d have pretty high hopes for a show called Cashmere Mafia, premiering Sunday, Jan. 6, on ABC before moving to its regular Wednesday airing on Jan. 9. But beyond the name itself, what really has us excited is that producers brought in the hottest costume designer since the long-dead Edith Head, the spectacular Patricia Field (Sex and the City, The Devil Wears Prada), and her co-designer, Wendy Stefanelli, to style the characters that we’re betting will become small-screen fashion icons.
“These four women are all in their late 30s,” Stefanelli says. “They’re sexy, they’re powerful — they’re more glamorous and upscale than Sex and the City was — at least when it started.”
So just what can we expect of them, sartorially speaking? Mia (Lucy Liu) is a publishing cutthroat; Zoe (Frances O’Connor) works on Wall Street; Juliet (Miranda Otto) is a high-level executive for a hotel chain; and Caitlin (Bonnie Somerville) is a senior vice president of a cosmetics company.
(By the way, after the pilot episode, which may seem a little inconsistent in the clothing department since Field and Stefanelli were brought in after most of it was shot, the characters really find their style stride.)
“Producers just wanted the show to be a little more fashion-forward,” says Stefanelli, who, along with Field, worked on the pilots for Dirty Sexy Money and Ugly Betty before both shows moved production to Los Angeles. Cashmere Mafia is shot in New York.
Mia, thanks to her literary ways, dresses very artsy and current by wearing a great mix of vintage and modern.
“She wears a lot of textures with color and bold, interesting prints,” Stefanelli says. “We use a lot of unique, eclectic pieces that we find at vintage dealers like Frock: Ungaro and vintage YSL, especially. But she also wears new Valentino and Alexander McQueen.
“Out of the four women Zoe’s job is the most conservative,” Stefanelli says, “but we didn’t want to go with the traditional black suit for her. We do a lot with textures and necklines and put her in a lot of Dolce and Gabbana, Armani and (Hugo) Boss — so she is very modern but all business as well.”
“Juliet has this beautiful red hair, and she looks great in these off colors that most people can’t wear,” Stefanelli continues. “And she is the most elegant. She wears mostly designer classics — Donna Karan, Michael Kors, Norma Kamali, Ralph Lauren. You’ll never see her in pants. She is just stunning and elegant, and everything is very form-fitted.”