As of today, the finale of Only Murders in The Building 3 is available on Disney+. A successful third chapter that, as in rare cases, maintains the high level of writing and entertainment of the previous two, so much so that a fourth season has just been confirmed. When the presence of Meryl Streep as special guest star in the role of Loretta was announced last January, expectations were inevitably raised. No disappointment though, season 3 starts with a double twist and Paul Rudd enchants as Ben Gilroy, an eccentric (and capricious) Broadway actor. And it is in the New York Olympus of the musical that this season’s mystery unfolds, with Charles (Steve Martin), Oliver (Martin Short) and Mabel (Selena Gomez) grappling with a murder consummated between the theatre’s red curtain and the now iconic Arconia lift.
If you love mysteries and great titles from the world of musicals, this season will give you countless quotes and references that will bring a smile to your face. And the mystery to be solved also passes through the choice of costumes worn by the main characters, as Dana Covarrubias costume designer of the series since the first season and Emmy nominee in 2022 and 2023 for Outstanding Contemporary Costumes for a Series (for OMITB) tells us.
How did you start your career as a costume designer?
I was studying acting, I loved theatre and I wanted to be an actress. Then when I started university I realised that I didn’t like being in front of an audience but rather wanted to participate behind the scenes, to be part of the organisational team. One day a good friend of mine asked me to help out as a costume designer and that is how I discovered that I loved doing research, delving into aspects of certain eras. My mum was a dressmaker and I really always drew fashion sketches and then these worlds clicked. I have held every position in the costume department and now I have been head designing for 15 years.
Which films have influenced you? Do you have any recurring references?
I love every film, I am really a film person but the first one that comes to mind, without a shadow of a doubt, is In the mood for Love – my number one reference, the costumes are wonderful. I love doing rewatches and looking at it through the eyes of my work today, for example E.T. the Extraterrestrial, how many times I watched it without paying attention to the costumes, then when I did I saw a wonderful new world in it. And then I have to tell you that a great reference of mine is Clueless (Girls in Beverly Hills) it was the first film that when I was a little girl shook me just because of the wonderful clothes.
And when you read the OMITB script, what convinced you?
I was excited, I liked the mix of mystery and comedy, there was nothing else like it on TV at that time. There’s a lot of heart and soul, I think that was the most exciting part and then the script gave so many clues to build the characters and create a world completely from scratch. Obviously when I discovered the cast I realized I couldn’t back out.
Do you think the location, the legendary Arconia, helped you create this imagery?
I often think about architecture in the creative phase of my work, I believe that it is a non-negligible detail and that it greatly influences the style of a character. You must always think that the look you are creating on a character, that image will be in front of something: a building, a street, a monument and therefore must communicate with the context. I talked a lot with Curt Beech from production design and I must say that he helped me a lot, teamwork is fundamental. The series is set in New York, a city that has at least two different palettes: one made of colors such as steel, blue, the colors of mirrors and windows and then a warmer palette made of bricks, stones in the street that warm the scene, namely those of the Upper West Side. These two color worlds influenced the development of the palettes of the costumes worn by the characters.
And what about Loretta’s (Meryl Streep) looks?
For Meryl we decided that Loretta’s look should immediately tell that she is an actress. She had to be simple and able to adapt to every character she played. as if she had a wardrobe made up of pieces stolen from the shows she worked on. So a look could have Shakespearean vibes and others with references to Chekhov. However, she also had to have something of Downtown NYC, that Joni Mitchell something.
Which character has the most fun wardrobe to create?
Oliver, without a doubt. I love creating his looks in which different patterns and countless textures are mixed. If I have to choose another I’ll say Howard, for his bizarre sweaters, dressing gowns and all that eccentric wardrobe.