We took a trip down to New Orleans to visit Buckner Mansion and celebrate the Blu-ray/DVD release of American Horror Story: Coven and take an up-close look at the props and costumes from the show. Not only that, but we were lucky enough to hear from Emmy Award-winning costume designer, Lou Eyrich, who talked all about that now-famous David Bowie suit Elsa dons in Episode 1 of Freak Show and she even talks a bit about dressing the insanely creepy Twisty the Clown.
GIF via tumblr
First off, show of hands if Twisty the Clown is already giving you nightmares. OK, everyone. Well, Episode 2 isn’t going to help. So, we had to ask Eyrich just what went into designing his costume and, surprisingly, it isn’t even close to what she originally wanted.
“It was a big transition from what I originally thought it was going to be,” Eyrich said. “Once I met the actor — John Carroll Lynch, such an esteemed actor — him and I collaborated more than I maybe would have.”
Not only did she have to readjust the costume due to his height (he’s 6 feet 3 inches tall!), but she also had to ensure Twisty the Clown’s look aligned with his story, which was revealed later to her by writer and producer of the show, Ryan Murphy.
“The premise is this is a costume he’s been wearing since the ’30s, and something happens and he flees and you don’t know what, but now he’s wearing this costume,” Eyrich says. “We tried to age it to look like it smelled.”
And she was quite successful. But Murphy still wasn’t 100 percent on board with the look. One thing was missing. Or, better yet, he needed one aspect of the costume to go missing and be replaced.
“So, I had three red pom-poms on it and Ryan Murphy was really hands-on with the wardrobe 100 percent. He looked at it and said, ‘It’s too clean; it needs to be dirtier,’ which made me sad, because it was really good,” she says.
“[Murphy] said, ‘Let’s remove that middle pom-pom like it’s been lost and he just found something and sewed it on there.’ So that’s why there’s a yellow pom-pom.”
Ah, that explains it. So, during Episode 2, keep that in mind.
GIF via tumblr
Twisty the Clown, though, isn’t the only memorable look on Freak Show. Elsa’s song and dance not only shocked, but also turned heads — all thanks to that David Bowie suit. But, the suit almost never happened.
“We had a different outfit design for her and, one day on set, Ryan turns to me and says, ‘LouLou, we need a blue suit for Elsa. She’s going to sing ‘Life on Mars.’ It was a different song, as well.”
They had to design a suit to match Elsa’s bright blue eye shadow.
“So, we took the Bowie suit, which is from the early ’70s and made it more ’40s and feminine for her. So, we gave it the big shoulders and the big lapel. Then did a little Marlene Dietrich and put her in a tie and did the androgynous thing. It wasn’t her favorite outfit, but she wore it,” Eyrich says.
You heard that right. Jessica Lange was not a big fan of the suit at first.
“I think she got used to it, but at first, she came up to me and was like, ‘What? I’m doing what? And I’m singing what?’ But now, it’s become quite the sensation, I hear,” she says.
Don’t miss Freak Show, airing Wednesdays at 10/9c on FX.