If you are a fan of popular US television, the chances are good you have admired Eduardo Castro's flair for unique designs at some point over his amazing 30 year career. From Miami Vice in the 1980's and on through to more recent hits such as Judging Amy, Ugly Betty, Eastwick and Castle, Eduardo has set the style and tone of these shows.
His work on Ugly Betty and the mini-series 'Elvis' resulted in him winning the Costume Designers Guild Award 4 years in a row from 2006 to 2009.
Eduardo's Emmy and Bafta nominated designs have led him to perhaps the most inventive and imaginative TV show of them all, Once Upon A Time. The show comprises 2 unique worlds where his full creative force can be unleashed.
Eduardo was kind enough recently to sit down and answer some questions for Once Upon A Fan, giving us a unique behind the scenes look at the design process on the hit ABC series.
You've been sharing your beautiful designs with us for over thirty years now, what was the first design project you ever took on?
The first design assignment I took on in Television was the third and fourth season of “Miami Vice”(1985-87) when famed designer Milena Canonero approached me to collaborate with her. It is where I learned to be very fast and began to develop an eye for “High Fashion” It also involved shopping trips to Paris, Milan and London!
My first assignment for the Big Screen happened in 1989 on the film “Bird On A Wire” with Goldie Hawn and Mel Gibson for director John Badham. It was filmed in Vancouver where we now shoot “Once Upon A Time” What I remember was that throughout my time on that project it never rained in Vancouver!!! When we shot the pilot of “Once”, it rained every day!
Your designs on Once Upon a Time vary a great deal, what has been the easiest outfit to put together and what has been the most elaborate and difficult?
The easiest costume to design had to be Snow White’s Wedding Dress, it was the first costume that was designed for the pilot and was approved immediately by the network and in fact set the tone for the way the look of the series was to be. It was modern in cut and extravagant because of the feathered yardage from Paris. We fitted and constructed it in Los Angeles along with “The Evil Queen’s” Costume; all other costumes subsequently were constructed in Vancouver.
The most elaborate costume has to be “Rumplestitlskin’s”. The first costume we came up with was rejected by the network, although it was very beautiful, it did not communicate the danger and mystique of the character. It was the first costume we made in Vancouver, but because the schedule kept changing we had an additional two weeks to come up with a new version. It came about when one of my assistants brought in real baby alligator skins that were very creepy, and we immediately draped a sleeve, and it looked amazing.
My cutter fitter, Mitchell MacKay put together a doublet from the drawing I did and, the rest came together very easily, though time consuming with so much hand work and aging it probably was one of our more costly pieces. The aging process included grinding metallic beads and bits of sand onto the leather and then painting.
Below: The Final Approved Design For Rumplestiltskin