to be different
Desperate Housewives’ costumer Cate
Adair brings her fresh take on Hollywood style to the world, writes
issue 22 of Lucire
HAVE YOU ever fantasized about adding
sophisticated looks from one of the most trend-setting shows to
your wardrobe? If your favourite show happens to be Desperate
Housewives, you are now in luck. Cate Adair, the Emmy-nominated
costume designer for the hit TV2 show, recently launched her now-available
line of artisan handbags, small leather goods, belts and accessories
with a side of champagne at a private event in the Hollywood Hills,
with support and encouragement from Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman,
Marcia Cross, Brenda Strong, Andrea Bowen and Kiersten Warren.
Cate Adair’s luxurious offerings are distinguished
by unusual geometric shapes, rich hues and semi-precious stone embellishments
that will, frankly, make a girl feel like a woman truly in her element.
‘As much as I love my work in film and television, I wanted to make
something beautiful for real women living real lives,’ says the
British-born Adair. ‘My dream has been to create a collection that
blends the luxurious European fabrics and textures I fell in love
with during my early training with silhouettes inspired by the California
lifestyle I have come to adore. With my signature shape that is
both feminine and functional, this collection contours to a women’s
lifestyle as much as her body.’
Her début pieces (including carry-all
totes, satchels, shoulder bags and evening clutches, complete with
jewelled belts, make-up cases, business card holders, and key chains)
are being introduced by an exclusive group of fashion retailers.
These exquisite US-made leather goods, fashioned from the best Italian
skins Adair can find, are available in classic shades as well as
fashion colours and whimsical two-tone combinations. A distinctive
fish embellishment set against an iridescent lining is another Cate
Adair signature element and wonderful surprise to find inside.
You may ask yourself how a woman as busy as Cate
managed to find the time to create a signature handbag line every
woman could embrace. As it turns out, she does it with great flair,
not only staying a step ahead of the trends for the ladies of Wisteria
Lane, but also spending quality time with her own family. She also
found a stitch in time to answer some questions about her passion
for fashion, her love of Hollywood and other things that make her
What other shows or projects did you work on prior to Desperate
I did the Dreamworks film, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton,
starring Kate Bosworth, Topher Grace, Josh Duhamel, Nathan Lane.
I did a television series, The District, with Craig T. Nelson.
My other films include Beverly Hills Cop 3, I Know What You Did
Last Summer, and for Oprah Winfrey’s production company, the
acclaimed made-for-television feature Before Women Had Wings
with Ellen Barkin, in which I won an Emmy. Prior to that, I trained
in England, where I worked with theatre, opera and ballet productions.
What made Desperate Housewives the breakthrough show
for you professionally?
[In terms of the global success of Desperate Housewives,]
you never know when lightning is going to strike. Who knew that
this particular show would strike a nerve with people in such a
huge way? It is an amazingly written show, and in terms of my work
as a costume designer, the process is definitely a collaborative
art. When the clothes fit with the world that was created by both
the set designers and the writers, which in turn are brought to
life by the actors, it resonates with the viewers. The characters
of Desperate Housewives may have extraordinary, heightened
situations going on, and yet they are extraordinarily accessible
and easy to identify with.
How do you feel about the fact that you have had an impact on
fashion “real women” wear around the world, thanks to this show?
[The response internationally] has been very cool, as well as a
little bit overwhelming. It’s not something I think about constantly,
however, because the work involved with bringing the show to life
keeps me so busy that you’re constantly focused on the next, challenge,
the next story line, the next set of clothes. You need to pay a
lot of attention to detail, to bring out that sense of joy with
the clothes, and by way of that, keeping the characters lively and
distinctive for the audience. It’s wonderful to not only reach so
many viewers, but also inspire them to create their own unique look
and play with fashion.
the remainder of this article, check out issue 22 of Lucire.
From top: Cate Adair at the Costumer Designers
Guild Awards (photograph courtesy Getty Images and JLine Group).
Cate Adair and one of her new bag designs. Above left: Each
of the Desperate Housewives characters has her own
distinct look, thanks to Adair.