During my trip to Los Angeles in November 2014 I had the opportunity to attend a press event for the new ABC TV Show “Agent Carter” which included a visit to the Agent Carter set, a presentation by Costume Designer Gigi” Ottobre-Melton, interview with showrunners Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas, and quick chat with Agent Carter herself Hayley Atwell.
We had a quick chat with Hayley Atwell and she is just as amazing as you might think she would be! She told us that she was thrilled to be working on the Marvel project and felt that it is a great way to continue Peggy Carter’s story.
Agents Reporting for Duty
Walking onto the set was surreal because at the time we had only seen the Marvel One-Shot “Agent Carter” and clips from the first episode. So the set wasn’t familiar to us but I was trying to take in as much as I could and try to remember everything. Now that the first two episodes have aired it is really neat to look at these pictures.
We all had the opportunity to sit at Agent Carter’s desk and have our photo taken. It was fascinating to see all of the vintage office items on the desk.
According to showrunner Michele Fazekas the Strategic Scientific Reserve (SSR) is a very masculine environment in which Agent Carter stands out. Her color palate is different from the men she works around and she is mostly seen wearing hats and dresses.
She informed us that the set was built from the ground up and based on photos of real office from the 1940’s. Tara Butters mentioned that the furniture is vintage from the 1940’s and bought or rented. However, some items such as the maps were built for the show.
Time for Lunch at the Automat
At the time we visited the Automat I had no idea the significance of this set but now that we have seen the first two episodes we now know that this is where Peggy Carter eats many of her meals and meets with Jarvis. Walking through here was really interesting because I really felt like we took a trip on a time machine and were walking through a 1940’s restaurant.
Agent Carter’s Vintage Style
We were honored to have a few moments with costume designer Giovanna “Gigi” Ottobre-Melton.
She’s a Los Angeles native and Emmy award-winning costume designer. She attended the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles, where she received her degree in design. The elaborate costumes featured in period films influenced her significantly, and inspired her to pursue a career in costume design.
Her work spans the entertainment industry; from feature films to television including series such as the upcoming ABC series “Marvel’s Agent Carter”, TNT’s “Mob City,” CBS’ “Numbers,” NBC’s “My Name Is Earl,” WB’s “Jack & Bobby,” CBS’ “The Handler,” and the NBC series “Providence,” for which she won an Emmy for costume design.
A lot of the items used on Agent Carter are vintage items purchased or rented from costume rental houses. Many times since the vintage fabric is old she needs to rebuild some elements of the wardrobe such as the pockets or waist bands.
Gigi likes to use Vintage ties and suits, but many of the shirts are custom-made. She really enjoys the texture of clothing from the 1940’s and on the East Coast. She has an old catalog on hand that she uses for inspiration when she needs to custom make items.
Many times they are required to have more than one costume for each character due to the stunt work on the show. For example they will have one suit that doesn’t get damaged in a scene, then build two or three more suits for fight scenes and for the stunt doubles. These extra suits are usually destroyed during filming.
Once Gigi receives the scrip on day 1 she needs to have all of the costumes done by day 8. Then normal amount of costumes needed for each episode are 85. Gigi told us that for one scene her team needed to have 18 costumes completed for a stunt scene.
Many of Agent Carter’s clothing will be repeated because many women in the 1940’s didn’t have a large wardrobe.
Agent Carter’s signature red hat, shoes and suit from the first episode.
For more information about Marvel’s Agent Carter see my previous blog post “Agent Carter is Nobody’s Sidekick, She’s a Hero”
Agent Carter airs on Tuesdays at 9:00 pm (8:00 central) on ABC TV.
Disney invited me to Los Angeles to attend a media event for Agent Carter. All expenses have been paid by Disney, but all opinions are always 100% my own.
All photos courtesy of Marvel.