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Making the stars shine

lettvwithme's picture

Emma Trask is the costume designer for the show, which is screening on C4 on Wednesday nights - and just like the original series in the 1990s, the fashion is deliciously over-the-top and LA. Sequin dresses? Plunging necklines? High high stilettos? Check, check and check.

"The reason I was so excited to do this show was because I was a big fan of the original," says Trask.

"Halfway through the season I was doing an interview and was asked how I ended up in LA, and it dawned on me that perhaps growing up in New Zealand watching Melrose had played a role in my ending up here."

Trask moved to New York over 12 years ago, before relocating to Los Angeles in 2002. Since then she has gone on to amass an impressive portfolio of work: she has styled the likes of Tom Cruise, Meg Ryan, Beyonce and Robert Pattinson, worked on music videos for Kelly Clarkson, and styled editorials for magazines including Nylon, Black Book and Elle.

"When I first moved to New York, models still graced the covers of magazines, and were featured in the majority of ad campaigns. When I started styling I was considered a 'fashion stylist', now that I live in LA and most of my editorial work features celebrities, I'm considered a 'celebrity stylist'.

"Being part of a client's glam squad and sometimes entourage can easily be perceived as glamorous, and while I have dabbled in this over the years, I find working with photographers and directors much more creatively stimulating. I'm more interested in creating a look on a celebrity that you would not expect to see them in on the red carpet or in their normal life. This involves being on set a lot and part of a production crew, which for the most part is not glamorous at all."

Trask's favourite work is when she gets to combine fashion styling with costume design.

"I did a magazine editorial featuring Cameron Diaz where we recreated famous photographs through the decades using current fashion. But in terms of favourite outfits, I love the images which portray a side to the celebrity which the public is not used to seeing.

A couple of my favourite shots from my portfolio include Tom Cruise modelling a fabulous blue Costume National trench, Meg Ryan in a masculine/feminine look in the shower with two half-naked male models and a beautiful shot of Paris Hilton which is very old Hollywood."

Glamour is central to her work on Melrose Place, which is the first time she has costume-designed a TV show.

"My goal was to showcase a highly stylised version of Los Angeles and for the show to read like the pages of a fashion magazine."

We asked her to tell us more about her own style.

Who are your favourite designers?

Alexander McQueen, because he always did his own thing and with every collection you never knew what to expect other than it wouldn't be what every other designer was doing. Jean Paul Gaultier, because he has designed such iconic fashion collections over the years and still manages to reinvent his signature style and make it relevant to what is happening today. I have been a huge fan of Martin Sitbon since I bought this crazy fluorescent orange dress of hers when I first moved to New York.

Now she designs a line called Rue de Mail which I love as it is both edgy and pretty at the same time. I also love the futuristic but glamorous nature of Antonio Berardi's collections. My favourite to date has been the parachute gowns he did a couple of years ago. Phi, because they do such an interesting and wearable interpretation of innerwear as outerwear. And Sandra Backlund, because her pieces are truly works of art particularly her origami collection.

The last item of clothing you bought?

Bright orange Wellingtons by Hunter, otherwise known as very fashionable gumboots because it has been raining a lot in LA.

I'm quite the bargain hunter so it's hard to narrow it down to just one. some of my most memorable finds include: Jean Paul Gaultier for Wolford bodysuits I found still in their boxes at a warehouse sale. I got them for next to nothing which is why I had to buy them all. They give such an amazing silhouette I have used them in numerous editorials, fashion shows and campaigns.

At the same warehouse sale I also nabbed a Jean Paul Gaultier red velvet gown with an attached cape which was a runway sample form the 90s. On a recent trip to New York I found an Iceberg orange puffy cape at Century 21 which I think was also a runway sample. It is basically like a very cool, wearable sleeping bag and has been the envy of many on cold days and plane trips. It's also an instant Halloween costume when that time of year rolls around.

What's the one thing everyone should have in their wardrobe?

A stylish jacket or coat that's not too heavy and not too light. I think it's the hardest to dress for that unpredictable in-between weather that tends to happen everywhere nowadays.

If I am on set I like a layered look because it's usually an early start and a late finish, comfortable but quirky. Usually I wear a lot of black and white with splashes of colour. I never wear heels on set cause I am really hands on. If I am shopping, pulling from showrooms or attending meetings I will do a more stylised look, definitely heels and a great bag.

I do find sometimes if I am immersed in a project I can start subconsciously dressing along the lines of the concept. This can actually end up helping me in meetings if I am trying to explain or pitch the concept.