Danny Santiago and Carol Cutshall Bring Their Exquisite Styling Skills to “Filthy Rich”

Carol Cutshall and Danny Santiago

Can wealth, be tainted, almost filthy? Well, it will be in Fox’s new television series, “Filthy Rich.”

Coming September 21, “Filthy Rich,” starring Kim Cattrall and Gerald McRane,y spins an elaborate tale of wealth, faith, and fashion all rolled into one. McRaney plays Eugene Monreaux, a mega-rich TV minister who owns a Christian TV network, and Cattrall plays Margaret Monreaux, his Oprah-like southern belle wife. The show focuses on the death of McRaney’s character  and the drama of Monreaux’s estate, as he wrote three illegitimate children in his will.

“Filthy Rich” was created by Tate Taylor, the acclaimed director behind “The Help,” “Get on Up,” and “The Girl on the Train.” A show about money and power is not complete without a great wardrobe.

 Noted costume designer Carol Cutshall was employed to bring a distinct fashion sense—with the exception of lead Kim Cattrall, who had her own fashion team—to the characters on “Filthy Rich.” Cutshall is no stranger to the world of costume design having worked on six seasons of The WB’s hit TV series “One Tree Hill.”

Carol Cutshall spoke with Fashion Reverie about how she managed to bring style to Filthy Rich.

Fashion Reverie: Was this your first project you worked on in New Orleans?

Carol Cutshall: I’ve done a few projects in New Orleans, but this was the first thing I’ve done here that wasn’t an independent film. For the first time, I got to work on a television series in New Orleans.

FR: How did you get involved with the project?

Carol Cutshall: I got a call from my agent that Tate Taylor wanted to speak with me, and that was the moment. I said, ‘I would love to work with Tate Taylor.’ At the time, the network had already shot the pilot, so I came to work from the second episode on. It was an amazing coincidence that I am based in New Orleans. I was in between jobs, and I had nothing slated.

Both Tate, I, and the show’s premise are southern. Tate was familiar my work. We have a lot of people we really admire in common.

FR: What’s it like creating looks for characters of such various socioeconomic backgrounds?

Carol Cutshall: For the three children outside of the marriage, you have an MMA fighter, a Pacific Northwest guy who’s a little indie rock, and you have a Vegas webcam business owner, and you have to bring them into the southern world of khakis, chinos, and seersucker. The southern world is preppy. It’s a world of Brooks Brothers, white bucks, and country clubs.

You see very little denim in that world. You also see no animal print in this world, until Ginger from Las Vegas walks in. Imagine the three children walking into a country club. I had to set up a real tone for the whole of the show so when these outsiders walked in the audience felt it. I had to edit fabrics and color palettes we weren’t going to use with the southern characters versus the other characters.

FR: How did you create the characters looks post-pilot?

Carol Cutshall: I went and looked at these characters and put in dynamic tension when they all come together in a room. There are so many different characters coming from different places into this wealthy southern environment.

There’s the character Ginger, one of the daughters outside of the marriage, who’s coming from Vegas, and she runs a webcam girl business. She was a perfect mix of all things Vegas. She is tenor meets baroque and venetian casino. There are characters you think would be so diametrically opposed that somehow came together.

FR: What references did you use for character inspiration?

Carol Cutshall: I looked at issues of Garden & Gun and Town & Country magazines. For the legitimate son, Eric, I looked for a lot of incredible southern designers that would be youthful and have slim-cut silhouettes. I used a lot of Billy Reid on him. I used this suiting brand, Strong Suit, which is an incredible brand out of Arkansas. They have incredible blazers and suits. I also used a lot of Theory suits for Eric, along with Theory polos paired with Bonobos chinos. I did use a little bit of J. Crew. There was a lot of Club Monaco. When you see him at the family country house, he’s wearing plaid flannels from Billy Reid and L.L. Bean duck boots. Eric’s look had to have the look of someone that had an Ivy League education: casual with the “Dead Poets Society” vibe.

I was really invested in dressing the character Ginger, but I also loved dressing the character Rose, the legitimate daughter. She’s such a pivotal and rich character. You sense that Rose is not really with her people. She’s creative and a free spirit. She’s a fashion designer. I modeled her after Jane Aldridge, the fashion blogger well known for her blog Sea of Shoes. Aldridge is known for mixing her mom’s old designer clothes with thrift store finds and new stuff she shopped. Aldridge’s style was a huge inspiration for the character of Rose. A lot of times I would find a piece that might’ve been nice, but it wasn’t quite there. Luckily, here in New Orleans we have this amazing couture fabric store called Promenade Fine Fabrics. If I found a pencil skirt, I would take it there and have incredible French laces put on it.

 I created a lot of pieces for Rose that were custom. One of my favorite looks on Rose is a vintage white blouse with crystals on the collar, paired with overalls, and a big old Chanel overcoat that looks like it came from her mother.

FR: Let’s talk more about how your sourced clothing.

Carol Cutshall: I literally looked everywhere! I shopped for clothes, I got custom clothes, I went thrift shopping. It’s important to show viewers you can get incredible looks and it doesn’t have to cost a ton of money. Sometimes, I got so many incredible things from consignment stores.

One of the things that was limiting was the color palettes that are current. Trends can also make it look like everything is cut from the same cloth. When you go shop at a consignment store that opens up your color palette options.

FR: Who was your favorite character to dress?

Carol Cutshall: I could say absolutely any one of them, but I will say Ginger and Rose were fun to dress. The actresses were so fun to work with and the characters in the script were delightful. When Aubrey Dollar, who plays Rose, and Melia Kreiling, who plays Ginger, would come in for a fitting, we had so much fun.

I also really loved dressing Franklin, who was the character of Margaret’s attorney. He wore a lot of Brooks Brothers, Zegna, and Billy Reid suits. He had all the fashion details of being an HBCU graduate. The details for his fashion were meticulous down to the pocket squares and his ties. When you look at all his fashion layers, he was the character who could wear a windowpane double-breasted suit, a striped shirt, medallion print tie and floral pocket square. He always looked like someone who had the answer.

Danny Santiago has spent over two decades as one of the most highly respected stylists in the fashion industry. His work has appeared in Vogue Italia, Vogue Russia, Vogue Spain, Vogue Mexico, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, W, and other publications. He’s costumed the television show Burn Notice, and has costumed films Confessions of a Shopaholic, Sex and the City, and Sex and the City 2.

 Santiago found his way into the film industry via famed stylist and costume designer/designer Patricia Field. His past experiences working with Golden Globe-winning actress Kim Cattrall brought him onto her new project “Filthy Rich.” Santiago spoke with Fashion Reverie about how he created a glamorous wardrobe for a character for which money was no object

FR: What’s your background in the fashion industry?

Danny Santiago: I started in the fashion industry doing photoshoots for fashion and lifestyle magazines. I was brought into television and film by Patricia Field. Pat and I had known each other for a few years. I knew her from her store she had had on Bowery. We ended up working on a few print jobs together, and she always told me I’d be great for costuming television and film. She got a call for a job that was in Miami and I was lucky to be in Miami at the time, so she referred me.

FR: How did you become part of Kim Cattrall’s fashion team?

Danny Santiago: I knew Kim from working on the “Sex and the City” films. Pat was the one who started working with her on “Filthy Rich.” Pat came up with the overall look for Kim, and then handed over costuming duties to me because Pat went to work on another project.

FR: What was your reaction when you learned about Kim’s involvement with this project?

Danny Santiago: I thought it was a great project for Kim. I think she’s perfect for the role. It’s a very interesting story. Kim has a great sense of the role and her character, and I thought it would be a lot of fun to work with her on this project. Her character is very over the top, so there’s a lot of room to play with fashion.

FR: What type of references did you use to create the wardrobe for Kim’s character?

Danny Santiago: One of the things we talked about and something we wanted to have throughout the wardrobe was a sense of luxury. We worked with certain fabrics and textures that would typically be more fit for eveningwear, like metallics and sequins, but with a special tailoring we were able to transition these fabrications to daytime looks. It was day looks with a glamorous luxury evening feel. Bold jewelry would also come into play. It really gave her character a truly unique look for the show.

FR: Were there any brands that you sourced for the series?

Danny Santiago: Alexander McQueen, Lanvin, Badgley Mischka, Tom Ford, Michael Kors, Akris, and other luxury brands on that level. We also focused on pieces with beautiful tailoring and suiting.

FR: What was your favorite look?

Danny Santiago: I found this beautiful vintage fur. It was a one-of-a-kind piece and it had this netting that made these beautiful unique stripes. It was one of the more special pieces worn by Kim in the series. I got it from a rental house in Los Angeles called Replica Vintage. It’s a showroom in Los Angeles with a lot of designer and one-of-a-kind pieces.

FR: Kim plays this wealthy Southern belle. How would you describe the quintessential rich Southern Belle look?

Danny Santiago: I don’t feel like her character has the quintessential Southern belle look. It’s not just a Southern look. She is very regal in what she wears. She has all this control. She runs the family. She has such a voice with the show and everything that she has.

FR: How were you able to dress Kim’s character to contrast with some of the other characters?

Danny Santiago: We kept the color palettes very different with what we were working with. We tended to use colors that weren’t being used so much on other characters. That’s where the metallics, silks, and satins also came into play because we had to separate her from the rest of the characters on the show.

FR: The billionaire’s wives look is one-of-a-kind and not easy to create. What challenges were there in dressing a character who had to look filthy rich?

Danny Santiago: The challenges were more in how we built her costumes. I was between New York and Florida while Kim was in Louisiana. I worked remotely with putting all the outfits together. I would do my outfit look combinations, photograph everything on my phone, then send it to the costuming department in New Orleans. Then, Kim would have her fittings which I was there for remotely. This was before that was this “new normal,” now everyone is working this way due to COVID-19 pandemic.

All images courtesy of FOXFR: How did costuming Kim Cattrall’s character Margaret compare to costuming her iconic character on “Sex and the City”?

Danny Santiago: Margaret is more conservative than Samantha. There are still beautiful silhouettes that have a sexiness to it, but in “Sex and the City” Kim was sexier. Samantha wore more lowcut dresses, clothing was more fitted, skirts were shorter and had higher slits. With Margaret, she is more elegant and there was more focus on the silhouette of clothing rather than exposing the skin.

Filthy Rich will premiere on Monday, September 21 at 9/8c on FOX. The show stars Kim Cattrall, Gerald McRaney, Aubrey Dollar, Corey Cott, Benjamin Levy, Mark L. Young, Melia Kreiling, Steve Harris, Aaron Lazar, and Olivia Macklin.

—Kristopher Fraser

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