The costume designers on Perry Mason described how the show achieved that signature look. Matthew Rhys’ character on the HBO series looks like life has been really hard on him. It turns out, it takes a lot of work to look so grizzled. Emma Potter is the woman behind the designs, and she talked to The Hollywood Reporter about how she and the star approached that task. Multiple versions of that signature coat were made, and the team was willing to try a bunch of techniques to achieve just the right amount of weathering. Trial and error seemed to be key, and one of Mason’s signature character quirks actually played right into their hands when planning the costumes. It was a wild ride, but the reviews for the show seem to appreciate all those small details of the atmosphere.
“It was important for Matthew and I to start from a place of vintage clothing even though we would have to build something for him. To put something old and worn on was an organic way to find this character that was so disheveled,” Potter explained. That signature brown leather jacket ended up having seven versions fabricated with various levels of distress.
“We had a great ageing and dyeing team who came in and spent a really long time breaking down the garments.” she mentioned before mentioning Mason’s collecting habit. “He’s just going around and scrounging up stuff. So nothing has to fit him right. Nothing has to make any sense. His clothing might not fit as properly as other people’s garments. It might actually be a bit big for him but he’s comfortable in it and he can move around in it.”
Read HBO’s description of Perry Mason down below:
"1932, Los Angeles. While the rest of the country recovers from the Great Depression, this city is booming! Oil! Olympic Games! Talking Pictures! Evangelical Fervor! And a child kidnapping gone very, very wrong! Based on characters created by Erle Stanley Gardner, this limited series follows the origins of American Fiction’s most legendary criminal defense lawyer, Perry Mason. When the case of the decade breaks down his door, Mason’s relentless pursuit of the truth reveals a fractured city and just maybe, a pathway to redemption for himself."
Perry Mason is now streaming on HBO Max.
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