'True Blood': Kristin Bauer van Straten's Pam 'considers herself like a Barbie doll'
Costume designer Audrey Fisher gets plenty of juicy material to work with dressing the characters on HBO's hit series "True Blood."
"I have to design all these incredible fantasy scenes," she says, "and things like the beautiful turn-of-the-century outfit Pam (Kristin Bauer van Straten) wears in a flashback create a lot of drama and excitement and intensity in our department."
Fisher loves dressing Pam because there is a lot of latitude in how she conceptualized the character with creator Alan Ball.
"Pam's got certain eras she really loves the designs from. She considers herself like a Barbie doll and considers her clothes like costumes. At Fangtasia we've had a Lara Croft outfit, a biker bitch outfit, a Barbarella outfit, a black widow outfit. It's fun for us to come up with a theme for each outfit. ... I imagine Pam has shoppers in New York, Paris and L.A. sending her cutting-edge things because she is a diva. It helps to have that imagined back story."
Fisher describes some of her favorite Pam looks, which she finds everywhere from an L.A. store called Syren Couture and the Beverly Center to vintage places and thrift shops:
"That's a latex dress from a really wonderful store in L.A. called Syren that I work with a lot. They have an incredible line of latex fashion and designers, and this is one of their staples that I customized and added latex gloves to match. It was featured in an exhibit on the little black dress at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. It's a very elegant dress that happens to be made out of rubber. It's so very Pam, and getting it on is not easy. The trick is lube. You have to lube yourself up and slide into it and use lube to keep it shiny. Kristin's figure is a dream to costume, and we have so much fun. She will put anything on and we'll just work it out. She is pretty fearless."
"This is a Brian Lichtenberg dress. I saw these dresses in a window at the store in the Beverly Center. It's red and glittery and one shoulder and incredible. I just immediately thought of Pam with that crazy shoulder. We call it her Lady Gaga outfit. The juxtaposition of this crazy dress in Sookie's grandma's house was really funny. We also used a crystal collar and cuff customized by Marianna's Designer Jewelry to match the red of the dress. She's got a store in downtown L.A. She's amazing, and I've worked with her for years."
"This is a Chanel knockoff that I found in a consignment store for when Pam is trying to be a good vampire. Pam wears an Upper East Side ladylike suit that looks very proper when she is trying to pretend, and it's usually pink because that's hilarious. She was being forced to do a pro-vampire ad and doing it terribly, so this was the perfect choice."
"This is another Syren piece. It's a really beautiful purple satin and black latex corset with a black latex skirt and black latex gloves. There's a little lace 1880s-looking top underneath by a wonderful company called Heavy Red that makes beautiful corsets, steampunk (think the 2011 movie 'Sucker Punch') and goth. This outfit was designed to replicate the silhouette from the turn of the century to provide a bridge from the turn of the century look to the current look. Pam has a look that she likes and it works even 100 years later."
"This red one is so good! It is a vintage North Beach Leather dress. North Beach is a really well-known line from the '80s. I was a teenager in the '80s and for me it's such an epic look. Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington and Claudia Schiffer all did ads. This Glamazon look is imprinted on my mind. I wanted a very special outfit for this episode -- especially arch and bitchy and fabulous. I got in my head that I wanted a North Beach look, and I got it on eBay and it fit her like a glove. It was magical like Cinderella's slipper and she looks fantastic, like Donna Mills. It's completely over-the-top '80s and I'm so proud to be able to rock the North Beach Leather on the show because I am such a fan. I also love her giant hair and amazing makeup. Kristin is our 'True Blood' Barbie doll that we get to play with."
Photo/Video credit: HBO
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