Kate’s pleated blouse
I’m kind of obsessed with ABC’s medical drama Black Box, where you always wonder if Catherine’s just neurotic or is she’s off her meds, and every patient with a papercut turns out to have a brain tumor. Before tonight’s episode, I dug into the proverbial “Black Box” of Catherine’s wardrobe, thanks to Black Box costume designer Stephanie Maslansky.
Possessionista: Where do you shop for Catherine?
Stephanie Maslansky: I prefer to shop at individual designer boutiques. I’ve long-standing relationships so I get discounts and I’m authorized to take out pieces for fittings. I’m careful never to abuse this spectacular privilege. I also shop at department stores, boutiques, favorite consignment shops and sample sales. Her closet contains distinctive garments. I’m careful to buy pieces that won’t be commonly seen on other TV shows. On occasion it happens though!
Possessionista: How would you describe Catherine’s Black Box style?
Stephanie Maslansky: Catherine’s style evolves throughout the series. Generally the look is classic with a modern twist. At The Cube Catherine presents as grounded, in control, professional. Pastels, neutrals and quiet patterns best represent her ‘sane’ state of mind. It’s a strong contrast to her manic looks. Those colors are darker and the style is edgy and provocative.
Possessionista: What are some of your go-to brands for Catherine?
Stephanie Maslansky: We love Chloe, Celine, Isabel Marant, Stella McCartney, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Max Mara. There are also pieces by Barbara Bui, St. Laurent, Dolce and Gabbana, Carven, Kenzo, Armani, Derek Lam, Donna Karan, Paul Smith. Her shoes and boots include Frye, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade, Gucci. Her casual clothing comes from Comptoir, All Saints, Madewell, Joie. Just to name a few!
Possessionista: Tell me a little about how Catherine’s fashionreflects her mental state?
Stephanie Maslansky: Catherine’s everyday professional style reflects someone who’s reliable, principled, trusted. When she’s manic, anything goes. We key toward dark shades or a lack of color—dangerous, racy, intimidating style. We strive for a drastic difference in the looks for the two mental states. It’s fun to design!
Possessionista: Catherine is a doctor. How does that affect her fashion choices? (i.e. does she shop in more expensive stores because she has disposable income, etc or should readers suspend belief?)
Stephanie Maslansky: A little bit of both! Yes, she’s a doctor who can spend money on nice clothing. And as a designer I want to give the audience something exceptional to look at while they watch. But it’s important that she appears calm and comforting to her patients and their families. Those factors are very important to her style.
Possessionista: Tell me a secret about Catherine’s style? Is there something you always include the way Mandi Line includes stripes on Pretty Little Liars, or the way Alix Friedberg designs all of Cam’s printed shirts on Modern Family?
Stephanie Maslansky: I refer back to a conscious effort to make her sane, confident and professional when at The Cube. We found the silhouette that worked best consisted of loose trousers or an a-line skirt with a blouse or sweater that skimmed. This way we maintain a professional silhouette—body conscious but not suggestive.
Possessionista: How is your own style reflected in Catherine’s style?
Stephanie Maslansky: I love beautiful, artful clothing. I have such respect for the talented designers I work with. It’s exciting to look at each season’s offerings and marvel over the evolution of their craft. My personal style leans toward the slouchy and avant garde—I like to be comfortable! I love Dries Van Noten, Marni, Ann Demulemeister, Band of Outsiders. If I had the $$….! That’s why I haunt the consignment shops and sample sales!
Possessionista: What’s your favorite look on the show?
Stephanie Maslansky: Funny you should ask. Each time Kelly puts on a new costume, we both agree that THAT’S our new favorite. So I don’t really have an answer. There are more great looks to come…
Possessionista: How much input does Kelly Reilly have in Catherine’s wardrobe? Is it collaborative, or does she leave it up to you?
Stephanie Maslansky: Kelly is extremely collaborative. She has very specific ideas about particular scenes and how she wants to appear. She’s adamant that her look doesn’t skew too ‘fashion-y’ or God-forbid trendy. We want to keep the look classic, modern and unique.
Possessionista: What are some things fans of the show can look for while they’re shopping to dress like Catherine Black?
Stephanie Maslansky: Look for skirts with an a-line silhouette—that feels very fresh. The pencil skirt is beautiful but it’s been around. Look for blouses, sweaters and coats that skim the body. Fabrics that look and feel sensual. Shoes and boots are stylish but not over-the-top high-heeled and platformed—too much fashion! We love the Frye high-heeled oxfords.
Click here for all the Black Box outfits and clothing