Costume designer Tiffany Hasbourne joins us on Close-Up Culture to talk about her work on the popular TV shows P-Valley and Atlanta. She also gives insight into creating period costumes for the basketball biopic Sweetwater.
Hi Tiffany, welcome to Close-Up Culture. You recently worked on the award-winning show, P-Valley. How do you reflect on that experience?
Because of where the country was in terms of COVID to tell this story, my creative process required me to reach out to all of my resources, my tailors in LA and NY, and my tailoring team on the show to meet deadlines and create looks that I felt fit the ambiance for the PYNK. Because of COVID, the stores also truly had limited resources at that time. I was also able to travel through time, tapping into my own past experiences and helping Uncle Clifford tell the story of his grandmother based on my experience with my grandmother. I also fostered a great communication with the creator/showrunner Katori Hall to help her tell her story. I wanted to put my own twist on costumes while respecting the aesthetic that was built before I got there.
What was it like creating costumes for characters when they are inside the club and then for their lives outside of it?
While they’re inside the club I helped create the fantasy, and outside, it was about showing who they really are. For example, Mercedes, who is one of the top dancers at the club, is stepping up to be the best mother and be respectful outside of the club and I wanted to ensure that was conveyed on screen.
You also worked on the hit show, Atlanta. How did you find that experience?
Atlanta is an amazing creative endeavor to work on because the writers of this great show have some really outlandish episodes, and I feel like the story is very vivid. So my focus is on how to bring that to life without making the wardrobe distracting from the story.
I understand some of your connections with luxury brands came in handy on the show. What can you reveal about that?
For season four, because they went to Europe in season three, I used that as an opportunity to elevate the characters with brands like Loewe, Versace, Missoni, Gucci, and Saint Laurent. I wanted to show the elevation of their style from seasons one and two to when they were just coally in Atlanta. In order to achieve it, I used my own experience in traveling to Europe and what it did for my wardrobe.
You designed period costumes for the basketball biopic, Sweetwater, which is set in the 1950s. What challenges did you face on that project?
Trying to paint the narrative that although they didn’t have a lot of money, people at that time took great pride in their wardrobes, which is something I gathered from my family photos. I’ve noticed they took great pride in their wardrobe, so although they didn’t have a lot, they still always looked well put together. And because it was a tier-one movie with a strict wardrobe budget, we sourced 80% of the costumes that were actually from that time period. As far as the basketball uniforms, because they no longer made that material, we actually researched how to weave them from scratch, and we built all of them down to the belt loops in the basketball shorts from CADs given to us by the NBA and photos we’ve found.
What type of projects would you love to take on in the coming years?
I am looking forward to doing biopics of legends and possibly fantasy.
What are your plans and ambitions for the future?
I’ve used my relationships with brands and as a wardrobe stylist to help with production costs and would love to step more into a producer role. Stephen Levinson gave me the opportunity to have creative input on Ballers for several seasons. In season two, the fashion show with Ricky Jerret was originally written for him to be in a fashion show for Miami Swim Week and I was able to use my relationship with The Webster to make that scene a charity fashion show. In later seasons, I was able to leverage my relationships to bring in music stars like Quavo & Mustard, I would love to expand more into this space on a larger scale – for both TV and Film.