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Good Witch Style: An Interview with Laurie Drew

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If you were spellbound by the fashion of the movies that inspired Good Witch, you're in luck! The series has settled on an enchanting evolution of the classic "Good Witch" wardrobe. The clothing in the series is more modern, and day-to-day... some of it even pulled from classic magazines! We love the use of lace, silky fabrics, and sultry color-tones. From the jewelry to the fabrics, these looks are sleek and put-together.

The woman behind the conceptualization of these wondrous wardrobes is Laurie Drew, the costume designer of Good Witch. Not only is she talented and creative when it comes to the vision of an outfit, but she’s also incredibly articulate about the psychology and emotion behind each closet. Laurie explains costume design as a great challenge with an even greater reward.

She elaborates, “As a designer, I must bring the characters to life. I work with the actor as the seed. The actors have the tough job of learning to be someone completely new – they have to learn a lot about their own spirit and how to fit that into their characters. The great thing about costume design is that it takes these seeds, combines them with inspiration and outfits to fit the part, and something lovely emerges. It’s just great chemistry.”

It’s essential that the wardrobes of Cassie, Grace, and the other characters guide the actors and the audience into the world of Good Witch. Laurie is no novice to costume design. Her background includes Orphan Black and Flashpoint, among other stellar shows and movies. When asked how she got her start, Laurie laughs, “Well, I fell into costume design by accident! My ex-husband was a production designer, and I informally took up the role. I was in Canada, and back in the day the business of costume design was really searching for people to fill roles. I started during a time where if you had the inclination, you could make your way!”

She’s loved it ever since. Laurie describes the costume department as a giant family. The team is stuck together for months in a television series. The hours are long, and the job can be stressful – production stops for no one! But the chemistry she describes earlier – the joy of seeing Catherine Bell transform into Cassie Nightingale – is more than worth the toil. Costume design truly is… magic!

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Laurie describes the style of Good Witch as charming. “When I begin working on a show, I have to think about who the audiences for the costumes are. We have Hallmark, the actors, and the viewers. It’s important to meet the needs of everyone and to take the feedback and turn it into something…that works.” With Good Witch, she’s focused on capturing that small-town-feel that’s lovely and charming. From the little details (all the clothing has to have a feminine silhouette rather than a boxy cut) to the more obvious characteristics (the clothes have to be comfortable!), Laurie has a master plan to guide the closets of these characters.

The first step, she says, is to figure out each character’s pallet. “We need to make sure that they don’t bleed into each other. Each character needs their own color spectrum so that they stand out. It's unfortunate when there are moments when the characters will bleed together in a scene. Pallet has everything to do with character…it’s like an aurora. You can learn a lot about a character simply by the tones – are they earthy? Are they dressed in deep jewel tones? Do they wear a lot of red?”

Laurie maps this all out from character descriptions long before shopping and fittings begin. She puts together a giant style board for each actor to help them visualize the look as a whole. Then she listens with big ears to the feedback of the actors to incorporate any feedback they have into their characters.

Laurie is keen on the important of that face-to-face time with an actor. “You can see an actresses’ photos, but it's when she comes IN that really makes the difference. When they come in the door the penny drops. I really try to prioritize the opinions and feelings of the actor - they have to come out of the changing room and love it. It's important for them to get into character. I don't believe you can make a good character without the actor's consent.”

The result of Laurie’s attention to detail, both inside and out, is a cast that enchants us all! Laurie is proud of the way the character’s costumes emerged – they’re accessible to the average viewer while still being completely magical:

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Cassie Nightingale

Cassie Nightingale (Catherine Bell) describes the wardrobe as, "beautiful, magical, and mysterious." Every little detail is made to inspire such beauty. Cassie's wardrobe is made up of sleek silky fabrics with long draped coats. Bold hues, like cobalt, constitute the majority of her clothing, emanating the power behind her serenity. She's the "cool mom", so her outfits are trendy but understated.

Laurie told us, “Cassie has a very particular palette. She is basked in peacock colors - real jewel tones. She's such a beautiful woman that she can wear anything and rock it. We found in the second season that we turned to dresses a lot, to embrace her femininity. We turned to DVF a ton…they make a beautiful cut! Her jeans are J-brand. Her jewelry was so fun… we just picked it out as we went along! She really loves this dainty, fragile look in her jewelry.”

It’s a lot of work to pull together entire wardrobes. When asked what her secret was, Laurie revealed, “I have a shopper on cast who is our lead buyer - she's always out in the shops and had a comprehensive knowledge of everything in the local stores. After items were bought – hundreds of items - we had a master fitting for Catherine. We were only able to have about five master fittings all season, so we had to make them count. We'd pull together 20-30k of clothes, give Catherine all the coffee she could possibly want, and go through all of the clothing. It was a marathon.” But the result is fantastic!

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Grace Russell

Grace Russell is the picture of perfection in her comfortable, small-town-girl wardrobe. Often described as fresh and feminine, Grace's wardrobe is full of staple's for any occasion. Grace can often be seen in warm, earthy tones, and her closet lacks many of the bold colors of Cassie's. Skinny jeans, dainty jewelry, and lace insets mark Grace's style. She makes a point to pair her fresh wardrobe with a fresh face - always sporting minimal makeup to let her natural beauty shine.

Laurie recalls, “I fit Grace in a lot of TopShop and Jcrew, along with some other brands that really fit her look. She is a great gal with a great understanding of clothes. She wears a lot of navy, brown leather boots, and wool.”

One challenge with Grace, Laurie noted, is that she's right on the tipping point where she's about to grow up a bit. We all remember those moments of transitioning our wardrobes from girl to woman, and Grace is right in the middle of it.

When we later asked Laurie which of the characters most closely matches her OWN personal style, she said it was Grace without hesitation. “Although all of the looks in this show have a feminine feel, Grace is the most androgynous. She has a great, quirky shoulder bag, chunky heels, skinny jeans… ah, and that peacoat. That’s the closest to me!”

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Sam Radford

Sam Radford is a silver fox through and through. Though he likes to get suited up for Cassie, he keeps it casual in J Crew jeans and and T-shirt while out and about.

“Sam is awesome,” Laurie remembers, “like James is seriously amazing. He's a model. He puts on a shirt, pants, and jacket, emerges from the changing room and we all would say WOW. He's really fit - broad shoulders, narrow waist, leggy… kinda that cowboy physique. We would have to knit the shirts in and tailor the jackets to really fit his shape. We stuck to European looks with him because they are snugger.” She noted that men are definitely easier to style than women for her.

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Stephanie and Megan

Stephanie is always meticulously on point – Laurie describes her as “ladylike cotemporary… Grace Kelly in denim and cashmere”. She can be found in heeled Timberlands and a traditional trendy flannel. She's into knits and clearly frequents boutiques. Many of her outfits make us imagine her around a (very stylish) bonfire.

Megan keeps it classy and cute. She makes a habit out of pairing solids and sheath fabrics. She tends to dress more professional than her age, giving her an air of maturity that suits her spirit.

Laurie said that even though they are not the main characters, just as much attention must be paid to the personalities and pallets of characters like Stephanie and Megan. They bring life and context into each scene and definitely have styles worth emulating!

Laurie Drew looks back fondly on designing the most recent season of Good Witch. She said the biggest challenge was dealing with the Canadian winter and that “cold chill that was quite restrictive! We had to make sure everyone was comfortable!” We asked Laurie for her style advice to viewers of Good Witch, to which she replied, “Be a little more adventurous.”

“I’m particular with shopping. I’d say don’t spend on normal, ordinary things. Buy a great piece on sale, and pair it with a great jean. They’ll look so beautiful, and it’s worth it. Buy pieces you love. If they’re investments, you can wear them every day and amortize the cost. Buy important pieces, even if it means buying less. You can get them second hand, on sale... but go for well-made items. I personally am in the same J-brand jeans every day, and if I want to dress up I'm in my boots to give me a lift. With a great set of jewelry and a nice bag, you're set!”

Laurie leaves us with, “The chemistry is what sustains us as costume people. It's amazing to see what comes out of the changing room and into our lives. I’m excited to share this with our viewers.”