“Nashville” is that true rarity — a musical drama in which actors sing and look fabulous doing so. ABC’s Wednesday series deals with adult situations and breaks away for full songs, featuring three very different women, all country singers, flaunting very different styles.
“I did a ton of research looking at templates for country music stars who would be models for Rayna Jaymes or Juliette Barnes,” costume designer Susie DeSanto says of the characters played by Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere.
This season, Scarlett (Clare Bowen) has a much larger role and a distinctive style.
“Nashville is small but sophisticated,” DeSanto tells Zap2it. “It is definitely a Southern place. It is because of the music scene here and the songwriters and the Opry.”
Rayna has a more diverse wardrobe than the others because she has so many facets to her life: superstar, mom, politician’s daughter, and former wife of the mayor.
Rayna’s wardrobe reflects whether she’s a little flashier when with Liam (Michiel Huisman), or subdued when driving her daughters to school.
Here she wears a Dolce & Gabbana blouse and her signature tight slacks. “That girl has never put on a pair of jeans that did not look amazing on her,” DeSanto says. “She can put on shiny gold pants and look great.”
For Rayna’s wardrobe, DeSanto has a full-time shopper combing Saks, Neiman’s, Barneys, Beverly Hills boutique Traffic, and Haven in Franklin, Tenn.
“Hayden and Juliette have a lot of the same moxie,” DeSanto says. “Hayden is a tiny girl with a lot of power.”
In this, she wears a Dolce & Gabbana top and typically very high heels, many of which are Louboutins or Jimmy Choos.
That fascinates DeSanto about Juliette, she says, is, “she is a damaged girl, an uneducated girl. She is a great songwriter and singer, but she is also 24 years old.
“Juliette has her own jet and flies around, and she spends money and is reckless and not thinking about anything except what is happening right now and how she can get what she wants.”
Scarlett’s outfits are usually a mix of flounce and country, filmy skirts and practical boots. DeSanto finds a lot of her wardrobe at Western Costume Company, which has a lot of vintage clothes.
Bowen already loved vintage dresses and was with DeSanto when they found the light blue, dropped-waist dress she’s wearing here.
“Scarlett is the true artist,” DeSanto says. “She is a poet, a dreamer. She truly is like one of those people who has deep emotional powers to dig in and write those beautiful songs.”
She had a crisis of looks as well as one of career earlier this season when the label was trying to make her into a prefab person she is not.
“She still looks like she is taking her journey from the girl who was a waitress at the Bluebird [Cafe], writing her poems,” DeSanto says.