‘True Blood’ Costume Designer Shares Items Characters Can’t Live Without

by | June 11, 2010 at 9:58 AM | HBO, Special Features, True Blood

Sookie’s Daisy Duke shorts. Lafayette’s do-rags. Jason’s 501′s and Frye boots. Thanks to the subtle work of ‘True Blood‘ costume designer Audrey Fisher (‘That 70′s Show,’ ‘Milk‘), these pieces have become synonymous with the characters who don them, expressing a visual mood often more powerful than the words uttered by the stars themselves.

To conjure up the sexy stickiness of the show’s Louisiana bayou setting, Fisher says her style guideline is simple: “I try to show as much skin as possible.

“We try to create a sense of heat with the costumes by making them skimpier and keeping it very light-weight. That’s always a goal: to think hot, hot.”

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In a series where nudity seems the attire of choice, Fisher has done an impeccable job of utilizing both cues from the original Charlaine Harris books (upon which the HBO drama is based), and her own imagination to create memorable uniforms for the residents of Bon Temps.

As for the show’s famous garmentless sex scenes, Fisher says the effort is just as challenging as those requiring clothing. “It’s still like a costume for us,” she says. “We have to pay close attention and make sure there’s the right amount of coverage. People think it’s not a big deal but actually we have to be vigilant and careful to make sure that the covers they have are comfortable, and don’t interfere.”

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With ‘True Blood’s third season premiering Sunday (HBO, 9/8c), we asked Fisher, a seasoned stage, film, and television costume designer, to give us her take on which pieces she can’t imagine each character living without. And although Goodwill and Wal-Mart are often her outfitting go-to’s for her work on the show, she offered up a vision for where each fictional character would shop in real life.

Sookie

SOOKIE STACKHOUSE | Anna Paquin
What She Can’t Live Without: Her tank tops. And bikinis.
Where She Shops: Sookie shops at Walmart and Target. She likes to pick up a cute pair of shorts, and some socks, maybe a bra. She’s just very real. And she also probably likes the local dress shop because she likes to support her friend’s cousin’s sister’s dress shop. That’s also in the books.

Lafayette

LAFAYETTE REYNOLDS | Nelsan Ellis
What He Can’t Live Without: The do-rag.  That’s a whole vocabulary! Nelsan has a lot of ideas because he has a lot of women in the family and there’s a lot of do-rag action [laughs] – so he brings a lot of amazing ideas about how he wants to wear it  – either from his mom, his sister, or his aunt.
Where He Shops: Lafayette would just shop at Fashion Bug. He would go the girliest, trashiest stores and find something, like some tank top, and wear it backwards, or put it on his head. There’s a shop that I go to called Fashion Time – literally – that I love, and it’s basically Lafayette. He would go downtown, where all the knockoffs are, the fake Chanel, the fake Fendi, and he would shop there and make his own stuff and cut it up.

Pam

PAM | Kristin Bauer
What She Can’t Live Without: Her beautiful shoes. She can’t live without a good pair of heels.
Where She Shops: Pam is a very high end lady. She shops of Neiman Marcus, because she likes the personal attention. She probably has personal shoppers across the country.

Eric

ERIC NORTMAM | Alexander Skarsgard
What He Can’t Live Without: His tracksuit – his after hours tracksuit.
Where He Shops: He likes high end fashion. He has very avant garde taste. But he also likes a sexy simple uniform. That’s a tough call.

Bill

BILL COMPTON | Stephen Moyer
What He Can’t Live Without: I would say that Bill can’t live without his Henley, but I feel like we’ve moved to a different territory with Bill this season. Bill can’t live without high quality menswear, like he really enjoys a beautiful shirt.
Where He Shops: Bill is more a man of the people. In the books, he shops at Dillard’s but Dillard’s is like Macy’s, so not too exclusive but definitely not Sears.

Tara

TARA THORNTON | Rutina Wesley
What She Can’t Live Without: Her Converse low tops. She’s a bit of a wanderer.
Where She Shops: I don’t think she shops. She just has hand-me-downs, and she has a bunch of stuff Mary Ann gave her, and she borrows stuff from Sookie. She doesn’t have a lot of money to shop. But if she did, I’m sure it would be Goodwill. She would go and buy some used stuff.

Jessica

JESSICA | Deborah Ann Woll
What She Can’t Live Without: A strappy sundress. I think she wishes for something sexier but that’ll probably be developed over the series.
Where She Shops: Jessica doesn’t shop. Her dad shops for her and he just goes to the mall to like Claire’s, Forever 21, or the junior’s department.

Jason

JASON STACKHOUSE | Ryan Kwanten
What He Can’t Live Without: His vintage 501′s – his totally cool jeans, and his beat up Frye boots.
Where He Shops: At the local Army/Navy surplus. He’s got the stack of jeans and a pair of five-pack of t-shirts.

Sam

SAM MERLOTTE | Sam Trammell
What He Can’t Live Without: His blue plaid, snap-front, short sleeve shirts. He can’t live without snap-front because of the changing.
Where He Shops: He probably shops at Boot Barn.

Queen

QUEEN SOPHIE ANN | Evan Rachel Wood
What She Can’t Live Without: Expensive jewels.
Where She Shops: She doesn’t shop. Yves Saint Laurent sends her samples.

Do you have any favorite ‘True Blood’ costumes? If you can’t wait ’til Sunday’s premiere, check out a fan Q&A with the cast and creator Alan Ball here.