Inside the fashion of ABC's Nashville

We went backstage with Nashville's costume designer and learned how she styles the stars of the show
April 30, 2014 4:34:53 AM PDT
We went backstage with Nashville's costume designer Susie de Santo and learned how she styles the stars of the hit ABC show with plenty of leather jackets, jewels, boots and jaw-dropping dresses.

Susie DeSanto has been the costume designer for several blockbuster hits, including "Miss Congeniality" and "13 Going on 30," but when she saw the script for the ABC TV show, "Nashville," she couldn't resist.

"My friend Callie Khouri, who wrote the script for the pilot, sent me the script for the pilot a few years ago, and I was like, 'Oh, I love country stars, I love country music. Count me in. I'll do it'," Susie says.

Susie has a big job to do each week.

"As a costume designer, you're always trying to tell the story. So, I'm really interested in moving the story along with the clothes," she says.

She has to move fast.

"Usually I have an hour a week with each one of the principle actors. So, we get a script, and usually three or four days later, we have to have everything shopped, prepared, and the fittings are ready to go," she says.

She knows the characters well and takes the time to collaborate with the actors to give each personality a certain look.

Rayna's Fashion Personality

"Rayna's fashion is bold, unique, and she's a star," says Susie, so that's what she keeps in mind when dressing Connie Britton. "Connie has the longest legs ever, so we couldn't go wrong with a great pair of pants. Then, we started working with collections of leather jackets. That's what we came up with -- like maybe Rayna has the most amazing amount of jackets that she adds to everything," says Susie.

They also chose to give Rayna a beautiful collection of blouses.

"This adds some softness, and sexiness, so she has a lot of silk blouses we have used," says Susie. "Another thing Connie and I talked about for Rayna - it's a little bit of more-is-more look. So, it's about going over the top. We always add a good, sparkly belt, some great jewelry. She never leaves the house without a great pair of earrings, rings, a necklace."

Since Rayna often wears a darker palette, gun metals, rhinestones, and darker shades of jewelry make up her wardrobe.

Juliette's Costume Design

"Juliette's fashion is 'look at me', 'give me what I want', and 'I'm hot,'" says Susie. To get attention, Hayden Panetierre's character will dress to impress.

"Hayden has super legs and a great little body, so she can wear these mini dresses," she says.

However, Juliette also wants to be taken seriously, so sometimes, a great pair of boots with jeans and a casual shirt will be her look when she's working with the musicians. For jewelry, they'll use more color.

"This is something Hayden and I like to do. It's one of those things of wearing a t-shirt jeans and really great boot, and then layering some necklaces to make it a little more fun. Just to add a little bit of sparkle and finish off the outfit," she says.

Scarlett's Fashion Vibe

"Scarlett's fashion is artistic, unique, and has a lot of texture," Susie explains.

She and actress Clare Bowen work together to come up with a vintage-inspired look for Scarlett.

"The light blues and whites are something we really worked with a lot. That's kind of her go-to palette," Susie says.

She wears loose, flowing clothing with lots of embroidery. On stage, Susie puts Scarlett in vintage petticoats.

Dressing these women for the stage is one of Susie's favorite parts of the job. She purchases clothing from designers like Stella McCartney, Haute Hippie, or French Connection.

"Honestly, it's not about how much something costs, it's about if it helps me tell the story. So, if it's from the Goodwill and it tells the story, I'm there," she says.

Her last tip is to wear the right size clothes, but being comfortable in your own skin is the most important. "I think the main secret to share is to wear something that's comfortable to whom you are. Don't try to be someone you're not," says Susie.

For photos from Rebecca's visit to the set of Nashville, click here.

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