The 2016 Primetime Emmy Awards are set to be held in Los Angeles on 18th September 2016. However, the Creative Emmy Awards have already been announced, as they are traditionally held before the main event. Helen Beaumont reveals which productions triumphed in the costume design categories.
Costume design awards
Creative Emmy prizes are designed to honour “outstanding artistic and technical achievement” throughout a range of television genres. There are three categories for costume design work. These are the ‘Outstanding Costumes for a Variety, Non-Fiction or Reality Programming’ award, the ‘Outstanding Costumes for a Contemporary Series, Limited Series or Movie’ award and the ‘Outstanding Costumes for a Period Series, Fantasy Series, Limited Series of Movie’ award.
Before the ceremony, there was a lot of industry speculation over which productions would win Creative Emmys. In the ‘Variety,’ Non-Fiction or Reality Programming’ category, there was no clear front runner. With productions such as Dancing With The Stars, Ru Paul’s Drag Race and The Wiz! Live which all featured fabulous costume work, going head-to-head, we knew it would be very close.
As far as the ‘Contemporary Series, Limited Series or Movie’ category was concerned, many experts believed that last year’s winner, Transparent, would be “hard to beat again” in 2016. In the ‘Period Series, Fantasy Series, Limited Series of Movie’ section, it looked as though Downton Abbey, which has featured some fantastic period costumes over the past year, would win the Creative Emmy.
Winning the awards
There were certainly a few surprises on the night, according to the BBC. The Creative Emmy Award for ‘Outstanding Costumes for a Period Series, Fantasy Series, Limited Series of Movie’ went to Game of Thrones’ Michele Clapton. The series dominated this year’s Creative Emmys, winning nine awards in total. Game of Thrones also clinched prizes for things like production design and prosthetic make-up.
Broadway World reports that The Wiz! Live took home the prize for ‘Outstanding Costumes for a Variety, Non-Fiction or Reality Programming.’ Paul Tazewell served as the costume designer for The Wiz! Live. This is a Broadway show which reimages the classic children’s story The Wizard of Oz with a primarily African American cast, which was broadcast live on TV. Tazewell was also recognised for his work on runaway success musical Hamilton at the 2016 Tony Awards.
In the ‘Outstanding Costumes for a Contemporary Series, Limited Series or Movie’ category, American Horror Story: Hotel’s designer, Lou Eyrich, took the prize for the well-received ‘Chutes and Ladders’ episode. The series was nominated for six Creative Emmys but only won two awards, also being recognised in the ‘Outstanding Make-up for a Limited Series or Movie (Non-Prosthetic)’ category.
Best in costume design
Game of Thrones, The Wiz! Live and American Horror Story: Hotel were well deserved winners this year. Boasting fantastically made, authentic costumes, as well as gorgeous period pieces, these productions used clothing to carry their viewers into another world. If you are an aspiring costume designer, it’s the designers who worked on these productions that you should look to as role models.
About Helen Beaumont
Helen Beaumont’s career started at Camberwell College of Art, where she studied the History of Art and Design, specialising in costume during her final year. After completing study, Helen became a costume buyer for theatre and opera. She has since become a professional costume designer, with a keen interest in period clothing. Throughout her career, Helen has created authentic costumes for prestigious companies such as the Universal Studios, Disney, BBC, Tiger Aspect and the Young Vic Theatre.