Costume designer Anna Terrazas knows how to go old school. Having dressed the characters for movies like SPECTRE, Life of Crime, and the Amazon series The Bridge, she’s headed back in time to the rough-and-tumble streets of New York circa 1971, for HBO’s new drama The Deuce — premiering on September 10th, (though you can check out the pilot on HBO Now). Created by David Simon and George Pelecanos, who worked together on HBO’s The Wire and Treme, The Deuce features a sprawling cast of characters from all walks of life. As the story progresses, their stories start to intersect with one another, all against the backdrop of the booming pornography industry.
We got the chance to sit down with Terrazas about her grounded approach to to ’70s-era streetwear, how she dressed James Franco’s two characters, twin brothers Vincent and Frankie Martino, and her love of clothing from that definitive era in American fashion.
What was it that led you to working on The Deuce?
I actually read [that] they were doing the show, and I was just really trying to get the job. I did this amazing research, you know [for] the pimps, just trying to make it look real. I didn’t want to end up in the typical cliché of like what’s a pimp and what’s a prostitute or that sort of thing. We were just trying to show the reality of these girls and make everything worn, because these girls don’t have money. In order to do that with Michelle MacLaren, the director of the pilot, we really got into tiny details. Sometimes, I was just like, “Oh maybe we just rip a tiny bit of this dress for her.” Even though it doesn’t even show, for the characters and the actors, that would help a lot.
So, it was just trying to show the reality of New York in that time. I got really self-inspired from this film The Panic In Needle Park. It’s a dirty thing even with the pimps, [who] always have to look like… power.
How did you acquire all of these garments?
Actually, we designed a lot of this stuff. We got a lot of stuff from the street and different vintage stores, but at the same time we got tons of fabrics and just designed. Most of the suits were designed just for these guys. For the girls we did a lot of coats, and also was a little bit hard because the show goes from summer into winter, but we were shooting in the middle in the middle of summer, so it was like, “Oh, I’m so sorry you have to wear this coat.”
Was it difficult to keep the look of these characters true to the time, and not like a ’70s-themed costume party?
It was. At the beginning, when you do the research of the pimps, sometimes it looks very clownish, and I was afraid that it was just going to look like a costume thing, so we really tried to get away from that. But at the end, when you see the whole picture, and this guy is dressed up like that, it doesn’t look like a costume anymore. It just… it kind of blends in, you know?