Getting lost in the world of TV is a magical thing, and an easy weekend pastime, but could TV also be a predictor of fashion trends? Possibly. In recent years costume designers for TV shows have begun to embrace current trends, rather than playing it safe and going for basic looks, we have seen a rise in high fashion in popular TV shows. In fact, in some cases, the fantastic costume design is what brings a show to popularity. While I doubt we will be stepping out in the majestic gowns of Bridgerton, those Tv shows based on the present day, feel less like costumes and more like a Pinterest board. The newest Hulu hit Only Murders in the Building not only has an all-star cast, script, and set but a wardrobe that supersedes all of these amazing attributes.
Selena Gomez’s new TV show Only Murders in the Building follows a wacky trio trying to solve a murder while recording a podcast. The costume design of this TV show is mainly centered around its retro and timeless feeling, while these themes are developed by set and costume design, and of course, the romanticized New York perspective, the truly timeless aspects are Martin Short and Steve Martin. With these two old-school icons included in the show, it makes this retro feeling almost inescapable. However, costume designer Dana Covarrubias doesn’t just dress the Martins in your typical old man outfits, they wear classic three-piece suits and wild patterned pants. Largely influenced by the Hardy boys Covarrrubias touches on how the color and vibrancy of the book truly inspired her, “I started looking at at the illustrations on the covers and the colors were so beautiful and so saturated” she mentioned in an interview with Cosmopolitan. The 70s style of casual formality that the hardy boys capitalize on is clearly reflected in the characters of Charles Hayden Savage (Steve Martin) and Oliver Putnum (Martin Short), yet certain modern elements like their flashy blazers and jackets bring in that much-needed 2022 spunk.
Martin Short’s flashy character Oliver Putnum doesn’t stray too far from the actor himself in terms of vibrant personality and one-of-a-kind outfits. “I secretly think Martin Short is the clotheshorse of the show!” Covarrubias told Shondaland in an interview. Short’s particularity when it comes to his outfits is not surprising given he has lived through decades of fashion changes, trends, and most importantly, the re-emergence of all those fashion trends. However, Charles Hayden Savage doesn’t seem to have the same passion for the combination of the new and the old and prefers to stick with classic looks repeating the same suits and, quite frankly hipster grandpa outfits. There is something comforting yet unique about how he has dressed in the shows, sticking to the staples of menswear Covarrubias still manages to enhance his looks with a sleek fedora or a funky tie.
While the men are certainly dressed to impress, no one quite stands out like Mabel Mora. With her stand-out yellow jacket, this complex character holds more personality and secrets in her big fluffy coat than we think. Her iconic marigold coat that Gomez is wearing when we are initially introduced to the Charter Mabel Mora is actually a reference to her Mexican heritage. Marigolds are the flower most associated with the cherished Mexican celebration Dia De Los Muertos, in which it is believed that the sports of lost loved ones come back to visit their living relatives. The marigolds are thought to help guide the ancestors back to their families, which is an interesting concept with the realm of Only Murders in the Building because, well, it’s a show about murder and death. Mabel’s association with this color immediately defines her as a person who has suffered great loss in her life, but also, as a person who has the help of others to guide her back into a place of solitude. This is something Covarrubias connects on a personal level as she also stems from a Mexican background, making this wardrobe decision even more impactful.
Despite the comical and light aspects of this show it truly does dive into deeper narratives in every way, including the costume design. It also solidifies the comeback of 70s-inspired fashion with a hint of 90s flare, soon we will all be dressing like Dana Covarrubias muses, and I won’t be complaining! To get the Only Murders in the Building look check out the Real Real, a discount designer website where a significant portion of the wardrobe was purchased.