18 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The "Pose" Costumes
"There's a lot of little tiny things that even if the audience doesn't notice, to me, it really works.”
It's impossible to watch Pose without being totally in awe of the amazing outfits. From the streets to the ballrooms, it's costume designer Analucia McGorty who brings the '80s and '90s New York world to life. So we sat down with Analucia to ask her all about her favorite Pose looks, as well as how a blooming wonderful wedding dress came to be.
1. The iconic Royalty looks from the first episode were, in part, rented from Shakespearean theater companies.
“A lot of [the clothes] are from Shakespeare companies; a lot of them are very old. We're like, okay, hopefully this stays together! It was an interesting night to have those actors get into those costumes, because we had a separate truck that followed us with the costumes because they [were] so humongous — but also we were shooting in the Village. This is before we were ever onstage; we were doing all locations that first season. It was small, and we had so much to do, and they have to be in their street look for half the evening!”
2. Research for the Pose wardrobes involves looking through old Vogues and New Yorkers, as well as catalogues.
“I have floor-to-ceiling bookshelves on one wall that are just completely packed with books. I really enjoy finding art, sculptures, paintings, music, fabrics, different little stories, and different magazines from the period that we're working in. Because we were working in New York, a lot of stuff from the New Yorker, obviously Vogue — catalogues really work well to do good research about the time period. Anything that has pop culture is just something that you gather and gather and gather!”
3. Jack Mizrahi, who works on the show, was an IRL member of the New York ballroom scene. Some of the ballroom categories are directly inspired by his experiences.
“He has been a ballroom emcee forever, and he was a young ballroom goer in the '90s. He had some really great photos that I was able to sink into and to get some more research from. [I spoke] to him about what was happening in the ball scene then, what categories were big, what were the iconic moments that happened that he saw in the balls between '94–'95.”
4. Costumes are made to be accurate to the period, apart from when the outfit gets in the way functionally.
“I do want to make it as period representative as possible. However, we are on a television show — one with dancing — and I can't always use vintage pieces. I might have this insanely perfect '90s outfit, but the moment they go to do a floor movement or vogue, that thing is gonna fall apart. So, you have to be conscious of never getting in the way of the actor's job — I never want to restrict anything that they want to do with their character.”
5. Analucia will also occasionally take “creative license” with Elektra’s ballroom outfits.
“With Elektra, I just want it to be out of this world — like, crazy fabulous! Sometimes, that means it has to be timeless, really over-the-top. So I will take some creative license.”
6. The crew will sometimes clap when Dominique Jackson [Elektra] walks out in full costume.
“When she comes out of that hair and makeup trailer and she's in her full costume...I've never worked on a set where the entire crew starts to clap. It's bananas — I'm constantly in awe of Elektra.”
7. Last-minute costume changes will sometimes be made on set.
“If it's a new look, I need to go [to set] because on the fly I'm like, ‘I hate these earrings!’ or [if] the actors [are] like, ‘These shoes are killing me!’ then we're going to change it. A thing for me is never let the actors be hurt. How terrible is it to have hurting feet and then have to be emotional?”
8. This season, Analucia made sure to work with as many small businesses as possible.
“We worked really hard this season to make sure that we work with 85% small business — I'm always a huge small business advocate, but especially after the pandemic.”
9. However, some of the costumes were affected by postal delays during the 2020 election.
“The stuff that we ordered from, you know, a vintage vendor from California or Vegas — the mail was hard to receive sometimes during the election.”
10. There's a Hollywood Easter egg in Season 3, Episode 5.
“Janet directed the fifth episode, and we did, like, a little wink and nod towards Hollywood, which is something else that she directed, which is also another Ryan Murphy show. Some of the movers have on jumpsuits that have a little Easter egg for Hollywood printed on the back of them.”
11. Pray Tell's yellow jumpsuit in Season 2, Episode 4 was specifically designed to look like a spotlight.
“There was a jumpsuit that we made for Pray Tell while he's up onstage, and we put this big, giant, yellow ruffle that went behind his head and framed him behind the podium. The light came to Billy because of that big yellow ruffle, and he was like, ‘I know what you were doing!’ I was like, ‘Yes, I wanted you to literally have a physical spotlight.’”
12. Analucia wanted Blanca's Season 2 "Mother of the Year" outfit to feel regal and reflect her growth.
“A lot of [inspirations for] Blanca are Whitney Houston and Jody Watley. I wanted Blanca to look really sexy — because when you really have confidence in your ability to deal with whatever the world throws at you, there's a whole other level of confidence that comes with that. That is very sexy!”
13. The swimwear in Season 2, Episode 9 was all custom-made.
“Those are all custom-designed. We had to make so many of them; especially if they're anywhere near the water, you always want to make sure you have more than one outfit ready to go. They're very period appropriate.
14. Elektra's sun hat was so large that it couldn't fit in the car.
"I found at a fantastic vintage store. I was like, is that a lamp? It was the largest sun hat I have ever seen. I was like, oh, that's perfect. She couldn't wear it in the car."
15. Analucia suggests that anyone who’s interested in pursuing a career in costume design should work as a wardrobe production assistant.
“I've been working in TV and film in the costume department for 15 years. I started as a PA, which, if anybody wants to get into costume design or wardrobe in any way, the best way is to start as a wardrobe production assistant and work your way up — because it's the best way to learn.”
Warning: Pose Season 3 spoilers ahead.
16. Even before seeing the script, Analucia knew that she wanted Angel's wedding dress to literally bloom.
“Even before I had the script, I had a lot of ideas already for this wedding dress, because I knew it was coming. I really did want to make this wedding dress bloom — literally, physically bloom. I had these ideas, and I did a bunch of sketches. I talked to Ryan and Janet about it, and they were like, this is great! They used that idea and went with [it] for the storyline — when Angel is buying the dress at the wedding dress shop and versus what the dress looks like when she's at the actual wedding.”
17. Blanca, Lulu, and Elektra are all wearing custom dresses that reflect the flowers in Angel's dress.
“Blanca’s dress was also custom-made, as was Lulu’s, as was Elektra’s. They are the only three people who are not wearing white in the whole scene. We designed and made their dresses in all of the colors of pink that are in the flowers of Angel’s dress, and they all have their own look that represents them.”
18. And both Lil Papi and his son are also wearing flowers that match Angel's dress.
“Lil Papi and his son have matching vests that have the same exact flower that is in Angel’s dress. There's a lot of little tiny things that even if the audience doesn't notice, to me, it really works.”