By: Shane Terenzi
There are very few television shows that combine modern day cutting edge fashion and humor successfully. One show in particular was able to do that and have audiences entertained for four years straight. Created by Silvio Horta, Ugly Betty is about a kind, naïve, and strong girl from Queens, NY who knows nothing about fashion. After college she accepts a job at Mode Magazine, a trendy high fashion magazine in Manhattan. Her day-to-day life now is to deal with the fashion world and the people that dominate it. When I first watched the pilot with my roommate in LA, I was skeptical. The Devil Wears Prada had come out that year and I was scared it was going to be a bad rip-off. I was soon completely addicted to this amazing show. I could not wait for the next week’s episode to see what crazy situation Betty got herself into and see what visually stunning outfits they’d show. Unfortunately, yesterday Ugly Betty's executive producer Silvio Horta and ABC president Steve McPherson said in a joint statement: 'We’ve mutually come to the difficult decision to make this Ugly Betty's final season, and are announcing now as we want to allow the show ample time to write a satisfying conclusion.” This is a bad move on ABC’s part- the show had content, style, and entertainment all in one.
The reason I am writing this blog is because I wanted to talk about the fashion and style that Ugly Betty was all about. The two people that made Ugly Betty the fashion plate as it is are the
two costume designers, Eduardo Castro and Patricia Field (costume designer for Sex in the City). Saying those two names and fashion in a sentence is not new and is gives and understanding on why it has been nominated for numerous Emmy’s, CDG Awards, and many others. Castro and Field took NYC fashion and heightened it to almost a pop art level. The whole style of Mode Magazine was edgy but compatible. The accents that they would do were so detailed oriented it would be hard to notice but for some reason you knew everyone was connected. For instance Betty would be wearing some completely outlandish and ridiculous outfit with fuchsia and gold and then Daniel, Betty’s boss, would be wearing a perfectly tailored navy blue suit, but with a lining of the jacket and pocket square in fuchsia. Castro and Field connected the characters and their relationships in their fashions. Wilhelmina Slater, the creative director at Mode and usually made to be the villainess, would be in contrasting colors to Daniel and Betty. It was really impressive how the designers took a chance on heightened reality and made it work.
I am sad to see the show be in its final season. I do hope though that other shows take notice of what Castro and Field have done. You can still use high-end fashion in day-to-day television.
“This show is very unusual in that I love to elevate reality, but this already came elevated, so this makes me jump a little higher.” – Patricia Field
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Photo Credits: Becki Newton- PopTower.com, All Others- ABC Promotional