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Dressing DC for the Small Screen: Costume Designers from House of Cards and The Americans

Evening Lecture

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Wednesday, September 17, 2014 - 6:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. ET
Code: 1L0050
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Since the recent explosion of big-budget television and online series set in Washington, D.C., the city is abuzz with commentary and criticism as to the accuracy of the various depictions of the nation’s capital. Politics and urban geography aside, one aspect of these shows has proved particularly compelling for viewers: the fashion. Although ours has never been recognized as a particularly fashionable city, costume designers from Scandal to House of Cards are making choices for their fictional Washingtonians that are generating national headlines.

In this conversation about fashion, Washington, and how the two intersect on a hit series, hear from costume designers Jenny Gering (The Americans) and Tom Broecker (season one of House of Cards). While Gering designs costumes for KGB spies working undercover as suburbanites during the Reagan years, Broecker had a very different task in designing for a series set in the present-day, centering on the ruthless, cunning Congressman Francis Underwood and his ambitious and his equally conniving wife, Claire.

Despite working on different series separated by more than three decades, hear how both designers take inspiration—and some liberties—from real Washington fashion past and present. Kate Bennett, fashion editor of Washingtonian magazine, moderates the discussion.

Other Connections

Jenny Gering finds inspiration for The Americans from old magazines, catalogues, ads, and fashion spreads; her high school yearbook; and her mom’s boots, which actress Keri Russell wears throughout much of the first season. But learn why 80s style staples like big hair, shoulder pads, and acid-wash denim aren’t likely to often show up on the show.


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Metro: Smithsonian Mall Exit (Blue/Orange)