What would happen if Charlotte, Samantha, Miranda and Carrie didn’t get their happy ending after all?
Maybe they found themselves at the receiving end of a broken marriage, shared custody and monthly alimony checks. Bravo’s newly scripted drama The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce could easily be called Sex in another City, and like it’s HBO predecessor, these somewhat older, but not the more wiser, friends bond over booze, boys and shoes.
Naturally I wanted to talk about the Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce style with costume designer Cynthia Summers who is no stranger to dressing savvy ensemble casts – you may recognize her work from 7 seasons of The “L” Word.
This week I’ll be recapping the fashion of the first 5 episodes of the Girlfriends Guide to Divorce, but before we get down to Abby’s amazing black halter dress (and Phoebe’s equally enviable abs) I chatted with Cynthia about where she shops, the Girlfriends’ signature style and the one thing everyone on set is forbidden to wear.
Possessionista: How would you describe Abby’s signature style?
Cynthia Summers: Abby’s look goes from making the kids lunch for school, to lunching on Robertson.Her style is Cali glam, like you effortlessly “just threw it together” and is over the top expensive! Key pieces in Abby’s closet are definitely agelessly relevant rocker tees (her favorites are Chaser Brand) skinny jeans (Kelly Cole) and killer stilettos. Abby’s Girlfriend’s Guide style is a little more utilitarian in her look compared to some of the other characters who just got to dress up to show up, so, we went all out on the stilettos.
Possessionista: Let’s talk about those shoes.
Cynthia Summers: Abby’s story is her shoes. Lisa embraced it. She’s a real trooper. Because she’s in jeans and tee shirts and blazer jacket who lives in the Hollywood hills we really go with the heels. She’s never not in stilettos.…even to Little League games! She wears them all, but her favourite go to pair to add a jump of colour are turquoise patent stiletto Louboutin pumps. She also has a pair of python “cage” stilettos by Tamara Mellon she wore a lot, and also a pair of Alexander Wang black stilettos. Her closet also holds a pair of Armani, a black mesh pair and a silver pair of Dior, dove grey suede Celine stilettos. All in all, I believe she has 23 pairs of shoes. Of course it’s TV, so you don’t always get to see the shoes, but they’re there.
Possessionista: How about Phoebe’s style?
Cynthia Summers: How can you not love this East Side Mama. Phoebe evokes the boho carefree spirit all of us WISH we could be. Admit it! She’s the blonde bombshell who effortlessly glides through life, bed head and all. For Phoeve we shop all over. I got a one of a kind Mikal Winn necklace and bracelets I found jewelry at Fred Segal Santa Monica, before they closed that section! (you can find him online now) That was the saddest day when I discovered they were closing. She also wears a lot of Isabel Marant, Zadig and Voltaire, Maje jackets and bags, Haute Hippie, Alexander McQueen, Pucci and a lot of vintage pieces! And boutiques on 3rd Street (Near Beverely Centre) Satine, Kiki de Montparnasse, American Rag, Madewell, Mohawk General Store (Silverlake), Opening Ceremony and when shopping 3rd a must lunching spot is the Little Next Door. Yum.
Possessionista: And what about Phoebe’s footwear?
Cynthia Summers: For shoes, Phoebe wears Golden Goose vintage inspired ankle boots in black and tan…it was hard to get these off her feet! Beau loved them. (both from Barney’s) Sandals Gian Luca (bought at my favourite boutique in Vancouver called Misch. I shopped almost all of Phoebe in LA because her character is so quintessentially “LA”, but I found her Greek style sandals in Vancouver! Rounding out her closet are various “dress up shoes” by Saint Laurent and an amazing pair of high heeled black suede moccasins by Isabel Marant.
Possessionista: In last week’s episode, Lyla says something about Phoebe’s vintage tee shirts. Are her tops all really vintage?
Cynthia Summers: No. Usually we need more than one of any piece, so we buy those shirts off the rack and then we’ll make them look more vintage. The shirt from last week, we cropped it and made it look vintagey, but it was a new shirt.
Possessionista: Do you customize a lot of the clothes for the show?
Cynthia Summers: Everything has to be altered. For Abby everything’s tailored. For Delia we tailor everything. We buy everything really small, and then we tailor it until she can’t breathe. (laughs)
Possessionista: Besides everything being super tight, how else would you describe Delia’s Girlfriends’ Guide fashion?
Cynthia Summers: Delia is our Persian Princess with bite! Competitive, in your face sexy! All labels all the time! She’s always in color or white. Animal prints. And a lot of Herve Leger. Even her bikinis are Herve. I shopped a lot of her look in one fell swoop at Gregory’s on Robertson. They carry a lot of diverse labels. I dropped a lot money on her, but that is totally her character. Balenciaga, Gucci, Herve Leger factors big in her closet.
Her shoes are OMG to die for. I have to say its a tie for shoes with Abby and Delia. I’m just going to list shoes because she comes in second for volume and hers are all heels. A lot of platform, and as high as can be, all the time…even at the teen’s pool party. I got almost all of these shoes at Gregory’s – Saint Laurent, DVF, Dolce Vita, Guiseppe Zanotti, BCBG, Gucci, Stuart Weitzman, Sergio Rossi, Jimmy Choo, Aquazzura (these were Necar’s fav), Loriblu, Le Silla, Chanel, Vivian Westwood Anglomania collection and her gunmetal Dior stilettos did overtime! Going through her plots I am reminded how often they were our go to shoe.
Possessionista: Which is different than Lyla’s Girlfriend’s style, right?
Cynthia Summers: I would have to say Helmut Lang consumes most of Lyla’s closet. This is a woman on the brink, but her wardrobe doesn’t show it. This Beverly Hills lawyer has the business cunning of Anna Wintour, and shares an inherent ease of style. Because her style is influenced by “men’s wear” and because Janeane works best in flats, we had an amazing selection of men’s inspired brogues and oxfords. She loved the Acne Studio’s lace up oxfords and we had pairs in black/white, grape and nude. Her wardrobe includes men’s inspired classic lines softened with a Cali flow. We used a lot of Rag & Bone, Zadig & Voltaire jackets, Donna Karan, Roberto Cavalli and DVF wrap dresses, Maje and Sandro suits, Smythe, and lots of Splendid tees in every color. [Her] Helmut Lange leather pants worked overtime.
Possessionista: How does Becca’s Girlfriends Guide fashion differ from Abby?
Cynthia Summers: Well, Becca’s style is – sorry, Abby – younger. She dresses like a young LA starlet. Simple Cali style. Short shorts (you will never, ever see Abby in jean shorts.) Becca shops at Urban Outfitters. Abby’s kids shop at Urban. I think you will see as the season wears on that Becca’s style is just a lot more youthful.
Possessionista: Any other characters to keep an eye out for?
Cynthia Summers: Jo is a new character who literally shows up on Abby’s doorstep with nothing. So she ends up borrowing a lot of Abby’s clothes, but she wears them in a different way. Abby has this signature “tuck” where you tuck just the front into your jeans and belt, and leave the back out. There is a rule onset, none else does the t shirt tuck. Simple, but its there. Jo looks the part of a New Yorker in dark everything. Tight jeans, vintage t’s, “I walk can walk everywhere in boots and a big bag which give our girl that utilitarian rocker look. All in a New York minute.
Possessionista: The accessories on The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce are amazing, especially Delia’s statement necklaces and Phoebe’s boho jewelry (headpieces, belly chains, etc) where do you shop for each woman’s accessories?
Cynthia Summers: I shopped almost all of Delia’s jewels at Bloomingdales jewelry/accessory section at Westfield Century City (LA). A lot of other pieces are by PONO of NY. And then, lots from my personal Swarovski collection. Phoebe’s jewelry tends to be very organic in origin, and her signature pieces were from Mikal Winn, necklace and bracelets I found jewelry at Fred Segal Santa Monica.
Here’s something you might not know. Lisa Edelstein’s has several piercings in her ear and she wears all diamonds in it, almost all the time. They’re Lisa’s own collection, which is lucky because I don’t have the budget for that many diamonds! The only time she changed out of those earrings was when she borrows a pair of earrings from her daughter. Her signature piece is the necklace Abby wears by Helen Ficalora with her kids initials. It was actually my necklace I was given while working on the L Word.
Possessionista:Where do you shop for each of the women?
Cynthia Summers: The show is shot in Vancouver, Canada but because we have such a large diverse cast I shop far and wide. I have a full time assistant in LA, as well as Vancouver, and at the beginning of the season do a giant “closet” shop for each of the characters, do their initial fittings in LA and then ship everything up to Vancouver. We shop at the big 3 – Barney’s, Neimans, Saks. My favourite boutique in LA for Abby is called SWITCH on Beverly Blvd. They have all the skinny jeans, lacy camis and a lot of the blazers Abby wears. Also shop Robertson and if you know LA you know that means Kitson, Gregories, All Saints and every other designer boutique you can think of!
I also shop designer row on Melrose Place/Ave…Alexander McQueen, Marni, Isabel Marant, The Row , Temperley, DVF, Vivian Westwood, Roland Mauret, Herve Leger and we got a few pieces at Zero + Maria Cornejo that Abby/Lisa just loved. and, the BEST coffee shop in LA, Alfred Coffee, is tucked in-between shops but well worth the EXCELLENT coffee rush needed for marathon shopping sprees!
Stores we frequent in Vancouver are Holt Renfrew. They are like Barney’s or Neimans. We also shop at The Room, at The Bay. Both stores have been super supportive of the show. We also shop Gucci, Burberry and boutiques Misch, Gravity Pope (to die for shoes and apparel), Blue Rudy for everything jewelry, Boboli, James Perse, Bluebird, Rebecca Brea.
Possessionista: Handbags! We’ve seen Abby carrying Gucci, and Lyla carries her purple Balenciaga. Do the women of The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce change their bags? Or do they each have one investment bags? What should we be looking for on the ladies arms?
Cynthia Summers: Abby has three bigs bags she uses for everyday (taking kids to school, meetings with her book editor, lunching with friends at the Ivy on Robertson: Elephant grey Celine tote, red Hermes Birkin, pewter Gucci. For evening…all sorts of clutches. Our fav this season are silver McQueen and a vintage cherry red LV.
Because Lyla’s character is so mens inspired, she carries a tote for work purposes. But she is that woman who carries her cell, leaves her keys with the valet, throws her money in her pocket and goes. She has three totes the purple moto Balenciaga, a black leather Botkier tote and a wine smooth leather Gianni Chiarini. She has a black snake skin box clutch by House of Harlow she uses for evening.
Phoebe loves her Maje suede, studded, long fringe slouch messengers: one taupe, one black. Otherwise she uses clutches to go with the outfit!
Delia, again, is all over the map. Something new for every outfit. Hot pink tote by Coach, pearized clutch from Bebe, black stud and rhinestone clutch by 3.1 Philllip Lim, peony pink satchel by L. Credi, silver leather clutch by Halston Heritage, kelly green satchel by Nine West, vintage two-tone bag by Marc Jacobs, black doctor’s bag by Bebe, rigid envelope clutch of abalone beads from Banana Republic vintage deep royal feaux pony hair satchel 3.1 Philip Lim, black leather tote by Elizabeth & James.
Possessionista: Any secrets about the style from Girlfriend’s Guide? Something you always do or use each episode?
Cynthia Summers: Hmmmm. Well, Abby always wears that Helen Ficcalora necklace with her kid’s initials. I’ve heard from a lot of moms out there that it makes her seem real. And the t shirt tuck. And Phoebe never ever ever wears a bra. For real. Oh except for the one time at the restaurant. But the leather bra was her shirt.
Possessionista: Whose GG2D style is most like your own?
Cynthia Summers: I’d have to say… none. I borrow from them all, and if anything I could say that like Phoebe, I dress how I’m feeling today. But, I do wear the same shoes as Lyla. I love loose breezy Silverlake boho style Phoebe does, and have a crazy crush on Abby’s totes and shoes!!!! I have to admit in my own life I have a killer collection of bags and shoes. My go to bag is a mini Celine, inside a Celine tote…seriously. Everybody laughs – or is aghast. (Editors note: nothing but respect) but, the tote takes me to work. I can get the Celine Mini, dog leashes, make-up, note book, style files and a snack all in the tote. Then when I have to hit the pavement for marathon shopping, I pull out the Celine Mini that holds my credit cards, lip stick and the dog leash, and leave the tote behind (securely) at the studio. I can virtually run a marathon without killing my shoulders carrying the tote and a dozen wardrobe bags! I’ve been doing this for years. It works. Just wait more people will be doing it!
Makes mental note to go buy ingredients to make a Celine turducken immediately.
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