Daisy Jones & the Six ’s Costume Designer on the ’70s Staples Worth Investing In
They may be a fictional band, but Daisy Jones & the Six’s fans are very real, and very devoted. So when news broke that Taylor Jenkins Reid’s 2019 novel was moving from the page to the small screen, the creative team felt the pressure to get everything just right.
Like the book, the limited series adaptation of Daisy Jones & the Six, produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, tells the story of an LA-based rock band in the ’70s as they rise to superstardom. The group is helmed by the wild, charismatic Daisy Jones (Riley Keough), loosely inspired by Stevie Nicks, who leads a life in which chaos and glamour walk hand in hand. Her passion, be it for music or for people, is infectious—and a touch dangerous.
The costumes, designed by Denise Wingate, offer up the same feeling of high-octane drama and bohemian glamour. They drop us into a world where rock and roll is both sumptuous and gritty—a sea of velvet, fur, and leather clouded by a swirl of cigarette smoke.
For Wingate, whose previous projects include Wedding Crashers, She’s All That, City of Lies, and Unhinged, the clothes and the characters in Daisy Jones are one and the same. With an approach guided by precision and careful collaboration, she curated wardrobes for each character composed of both vintage and modern pieces. Some of these pieces are nothing short of breathtaking—I am thinking, of course, of the soon-to-be iconic gold Halston cape worn by a witchy Daisy in the band’s final performance.
Glamour spoke to Wingate about her wide array of ’70s influences, her approach to sourcing authentic vintage pieces, and the role of costume in character-building.
Glamour: How did you get started on the show?
Denise Wingate: One of the producers sent me the book while I was doing another movie in New Orleans. I read it in one sitting—I literally did not get up. And then I was like, “I have to do this. I have to do this show.” I knew that every costume designer was going to want to do it. That day I started doing a visual representation of the book. The novel is documentary style, so I knew that they wouldn’t want it to be costumey. So I did a deep dive into the period in a very journalistic and documentarian way. I was collecting images and images and images. I made my own visual book of the novel. When I went to Amazon and Hello Sunshine for my interview, they just looked at it and they were like, “This is the show.”
What was the experience of working on the show like?
I have to say, it’s not every show that you have the camaraderie and the collaboration that we did—me and [production designer] Jess [Kemper], hair and makeup, and our director of photography. I would take location pictures and I would put them on my wall and put little paper dolls of the characters on it to see what it would look like. I think that’s why it looks so real and so honest.
And what about the actors—was there a lot of collaboration there as well?
When they came into fittings, I would show them pictures and say, “Look at this, isn’t this great? Is this somebody you identify with?” I think it helped them figure out who their character was. And every single character was completely different.
With Riley, every time I did a fitting it was like peeling away a layer of an onion. As we started doing more research and as we had more fittings, she became the character. It was this natural progression. And we did it together. It was actually her idea to do the gold outfit at the end. She called me on the phone and said, “I’m in the car, I’m listening to ‘Gold Dust Woman.’ That’s what we should do for the final show.” And then we found the gold Halston piece and it was just perfect. We knew that had to be spectacular.
How did you use her costumes to help define her arc throughout the show?
The same actors were portraying themselves over a long period of time, so we really needed to see a transformation. So, I was dressing her younger in the beginning. I was very influenced by a young Linda Ronstadt. She was a goddess and people loved her. She was just rock-and-roll—wearing short shorts, little halter tops, cowboy boots, and she wore those big hoop earrings. She had such a great style.
When Riley and I first met, she said, “This is not a biopic about Stevie Nicks.” We didn’t want to copy her. We wanted to be influenced by her. And Stevie Nicks had such an amazing sense of style. I took a lot of influence from that. But also from Cher when she was with Greg Allman. She was a rock-and-roll fashion icon in my book.
I was obsessed with all of those ultra-glamorous robes she wears—there are so many incredible ones!
People in the ’70s wore a lot of vintage clothes. So there are a lot of pieces from the ’20s and ’30s. She’s got a lot of little velvet bed coats. There’s a kimono she’s wearing from the 1920s. It was one of those pieces I found at one of these fancy flea markets. I just fell in love with it.
But what I love about Daisy—and I feel like Riley is like this as well—is that Daisy would wear whatever she wants and wouldn’t care. She’ll wear a man’s shirt to show up at a recording studio, and she’ll do the same thing if she wants to wear a robe. I feel like Riley’s very free-spirited like that as well. I think that it was perfect casting and Riley brought that sensibility to Daisy. Riley’s her own person—and I feel like Daisy was her own person and lived by her own rules.
You’ve got the free-spirited Daisy and then there’s Karen with all of these fierce, high-waist trousers and sharp, tailored looks.
She was sexy but tough. There are certain descriptions in the book that I knew we had to stay true to or the fans were going to be very disappointed. In the beginning it says Karen’s wearing a turtleneck. Luckily I found great pictures of Christine McVie wearing a turtleneck. That was how we started. I used a lot of Patti Smith images from the ’70s in New York. I used a lot of images of Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart and Suzi Quatro. There was a band called Fanny that I really found a lot of great images from. Chrissie Hynde, Debbie Harry, Joan Jett—there were all these tougher female rock stars back in the day. And I did feel like Karen was a little bit androgynous. Marc Bolan from T Rex—he was this sort of androgynous glam guy who wore a lot of velvet suits. I used a lot of images of him on my boards as well.
And then there’s Camila, who’s probably the most feminine character at the beginning. But she also goes through this huge style arc. Tell me a bit about her style evolution throughout the show.
Camila [Morrone] was very collaborative and had great ideas. We were constantly sending each other pictures of things that we saw. But again, we had to do whatever we could to make her look young in the beginning. I used a lot of references from Ali MacGraw in Love Story. That A-line skirt, turtleneck, the high boots—a little more buttoned up. Then when she gets to Laurel Canyon, she becomes a little more boho, a little more free. A lot of barefoot and flowy dresses. Then she kind of morphs into Bianca Jagger—a rock star’s wife. And Bianca was just, like, the coolest person ever!
Let’s talk a bit about the men. Warren is obviously a standout fashion-wise!
Warren’s the peacock, man! Sebastian [Chacon]’s the peacock too. He’d come to work pulling up on his big motorcycle in these crazy outfits.
I did a lot of research on drummers of the period, and a lot of the drummers—Mick Fleetwood from Fleetwood Mac, Keith Moon, and John Bonham—they all wore vests because I think they were easier to drum in. In the Saturday Night Live scene, Warren’s wearing a full-length faux fur coat with no shirt underneath. I had seen a picture of Jim Morrison in almost the same thing and I was like, “We’ve gotta do it. And there’s only one person that can carry this off!”
What was your approach to styling Billy?
From the beginning he didn’t have anybody else on his board but Bruce Springsteen. Because early Bruce was really cool. But then Bruce hasn’t really changed over the years. He's kind of stuck to his roots, sort of how I imagined Billy would be. Sam [Claflin] had the most boring closet, but he’s also the sweetest guy ever. He’s just such a great actor, and he brought so much to Billy.
How did you source so many vintage pieces? Any tips for people looking to get the Daisy Jones look?
I source vintage clothes from all over the world online. We have the internet and there are so many interesting vintage shops online. I could spend hours and hours and hours hunting and shopping online. And I still go to flea markets every single weekend.
What about modern pieces that emulate the era?
I used stuff from Free People and Levi’s for the show. I think some of the crocheted halter tops in the show were new. I found them in flea markets, but I’m sure they weren’t from the ’70s.
If you were to recommend one investment piece from the era, what would it be?
A coat for a guy. A leather jacket. For women, I love the idea of the coats that have a nice silhouette and a fur trim. It’s a really classic, elegant, but fashionable look. I also love knee-high boots.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Daisy Jones & the Six begins streaming on Prime Video on March 3.
Originally Appeared on Glamour