As the Fall season approaches, we looked back on David Lynch's iconic 1990s series Twin Peaks for style inspiration.
“David felt very strongly that the colours and textures had to match the environment" said costume designer Sara Markowitz in a Los Angeles Times article from May 9, 1990.
Markowitz and the other designers of the series including Patricia Norris and Nancy Konrardy, nailed the distinctive look we now associate with the show. The colour palette was all about browns, reds, greens and blues, and plaid and knitwear were everywhere. They created looks that borrowed heavily from the 1950s while also nodding to the shabby chic/ grunge look that was about to dominate all things pop culture in the 90s. This was blended with the necessity of layering and staying cosy in a chillier climate like the Pacific Northwest, where the entire grunge scene started.
Donna’s signature was oversized knitwear. She layered her knits and vests over buttoned up shirts or turtlenecks. Her knits are of the baggier variety and have a grunge aesthetic that was just about to take over big time.
Other knits to envy come from both the Log Lady and queen of bold sweaters & cardigans; Lucy. Maddy too, is often seen in cosy knits but with a more preppy take on it.
Audrey Horne had some of the best/ most stylish costumes throughout the run of the show. She wore a lot of vintage from the 50s and 60s and the actress Sherilyn Fenn wore her own clothes for the pilot episode, establishing Audrey's look. Audrey starts off in an innocent schoolgirl look- pleated skirt, cashmere sweater and her iconic saddle shoes, before donning a sexy dress and lingerie to work undercover at One Eyed Jacks. Eventually, she becomes a professional working woman at the Great Northern Hotel where she is seen wearing blazer and pencil skirt combos as well as skirt suits. It makes sense that Audrey, out of all the characters, is the one who’s wardrobe resonates the most; her look is classic and blends so-called 1950s innocence with the end of the ‘80s.
At first, plaid is seemingly used just to be realistic costuming for the denizens of a rural community like Twin Peaks. We soon come to see it represent the “soul” of the town and the show. Certain characters like Pete Martell fly their local colours with pride, always wearing plaid, while outsiders or characters that flout the morality of the community rarely wear it.
When the sequel came out in 2017, we were treated to the indomitable style of the one and only Diane. Her look was heavily 1940s inspired and she was never seen without her signature bakelite bangles.
Take a browse through the collection edit we created for the shop inspired by this series featuring both 40s/50s vintage as well as 80s/90s contemporary to the show. We have lots of bakelite bangles if you are feeling Diane's look, plenty of plaid, wool skirts, sets and a host of cashmere and other knitwear. Browse HERE!
Twin Peaks Costume Designers
There are 3 costume designers associated with Twin Peaks.
Patricia Norris did the pilot episode in 1989, establishing the looks of the characters, and the ‘Fire Walk With Me’ Film in 1992.
Patricia was born in 1931 and began her costume career in the 1970s. She was nominated for 6 academy Awards throughout her career including for Days of Heaven and 12 Years a Slave. She was a longtime collaborator with David Lynch, working with him on The Elephant Man and all of his subsequent films.
She won the Emmy award for outstanding costume design for a series for the pilot episode of Twin Peaks.
Norris also worked as a production designer. In 2010, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Art Directors Guild. She was the only person to receive Lifetime Achievement Awards from both the Costume Designers Guild and the Art Directors Guild.
She passed away in 2015.
Sara Markowitz took over from Norris for the remainder of the show’s original 2 season run as Norris did not want to commit to a full series. Sara has 14 other costume designer credits and 26 wardrobe credits, having worked on the likes of the Big Bang Theory, AI Artificial Intelligence, Coyote Ugly and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.
When the show returned in 2017, it was Nancy Steiner who took over costume design duties. Her career started in the late 1980s styling music videos for bands like REM, Nirvana, No Doubt, the Foo Fighters and many more. She started in the film world in 1995 with Todd Haynes’ ‘Safe’. She went on to design costumes for iconic films such as The Virgin Suicides, Little Miss Sunshine, Lost in Translation and Promising Young Woman. She is the winner of three Costume Designers Guild Awards.