Exclusive interview with Emmy-nominated costume designer Eduardo Castro

The sixteen costumes from Once Upon A Time, on view at the FIDM Museum’s 6th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design exhibition, frequently draws passionate visitors who ooh and aah over these spectacularly intricate costumes. Velvets and Swarovski crystals, feathers and leathers, and rich trims and lace adorn the sumptuous fabrics that clothe the characters in modern versions of classic fairy tales. While there is rarely a consensus on a favorite costume, there is no argument that the vision, skills, and time lavished on these creations make them highly deserving of their Emmy nomination for Best Costumes for a Series.

Eduardo Castro, Costume Designer and Monique McRae, Assistant Costume Designer, are the creators of these extravagant costumes. The very busy Eduardo Castro kindly gave an exclusive interview to the FIDM Museum and answered questions from FIDM design students an museum visitors.

How did you get interested in costume design?

When I started to work as an usher at the Los Angeles Music Center, my interest in costume design was sparked. I was fortunate to see so many plays, operas, ballets, and concerts that I could never have afforded on my own. I was impressed by the magnificent sets and costumes designed for The New York City Opera, Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, American Ballet Theater, Center Theater Group, and on and on! The more I was dazzled by what I saw on stage the more I wanted to be part of that world.

How did you get started in the industry?

I first worked at Western Costume Co. in Hollywood, where I apprenticed, and became a costumer working first in stock, moving quickly to becoming an “In House-Assistant.” I was able to work with some of the most notable Costume Designers in the industry, including Theadora Van Runkle, Ann Roth, Dorothy Jeakins, and even once with the great Edith Head.

What training did you have?

While working as an usher at The Music Center, I was attending Los Angeles City College and taking part time drawing classes at Otis Art Institute. Then I transferred to Carnegie-Mellon University, where I received a B.A. in Drama, and continued at Carnegie for a Graduate M.F.A. Degree in Scenic and Costume Design.

Your costumes for OUAT are incredible—where do you get your inspirations?

My inspirations come from everywhere: the street, magazines, television, literature, paintings, and fashion collections, everywhere!

What is the most challenging part of being a costume designer?

The biggest challenge is committing to getting the work done in an insane amount of time, given the limited budgets and the actors’ availability, and being able to please the producers, director and yourself.

What is the most rewarding part of being a costume designer?

Every now and then the stars align and you are blessed with a project that the public responds to and you are acknowledged for your contributions. For me, it was my work on Miami Vice, Ugly Betty, and Once Upon A Time. Another enormous reward is being able to work around the world—from London, to Bombay, to Buenos Aires, Rome, Paris, Miami, and New Orleans, to name a few.

Do you have any advice for students working to get into this field?

You really have to want to be part of this business; you must never lose your passion, and you must balance all the intensity of the job by having a thick skin and a great sense of humor!

Do you have a pet project up your sleeve—or is there a particular type of costume or period that you would like to design?

I never know what I am going to do next, I just hope that the writing is great, because without great writing everything else is just window dressing.

The 6th Annual Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design exhibition is the only venue displaying these costumes by Eduardo Castro, among over 75 costumes from 16 television programs. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to see some of this year’s most exceptional work in costume design.

The Primetime Emmys awards show airs Sept. 23.

The free exhibition runs until October 20, 2012.

Once Upon a Time: Nominated for 2012 Emmy® for Outstanding Costume Design: by Costume Designer, Eduardo Castro and Assistant Costume Designer, Monique McRae. by Alex J. Berliner/ABImages

California’s Designing Women, 1896–1986

The FIDM Museum frequently loans items from the permanent and study collections to other museums around the world to be included in important exhibitions. Currently three pieces from FIDM’s permanent collection are featured in California’s Designing Women: 1896—1986 at the Autry National Center.

This extraordinary exhibition examines the contributions of women in commercial and fine craft, and includes examples of clothing, textiles, ceramics, furniture, lighting, tapestries, jewelry, and graphics.

The FIDM Museum is honored to be part of this important exploration. California’s Designing Women: 1896–1986 is open through January 6, 2013


FIDM Museum Shop

The eclectic, extravagant, quirky and classic costumes on display in the Outstanding Art of Television Costume Design exhibition have inspired a similar assortment of merchandise in the FIDM Museum Shop. Jewelry, accessories, books, home décor, toys, and gifts reflect the themes and time periods of the television productions showcased in the galleries.

Once Upon a Time

The magical world of fairy tales, hopes, and dreams begs the question, “Why don’t we spend a little more time there?” There are plenty of ways to enter…visit the shop and we can make some suggestions. Here are some favorites:

Visit the FIDM Museum Shop for a fabulous selection of one-of-a-kind jewelry, amazing treasures, and exclusive gifts.


STYLE WEEK Orange County

Saturday, Sept. 8: Fashion Finale & FIDM Fundraiser at Fashion Island—A runway show featuring cocktail and special occasion apparel from top stores including Neiman Marcus, Rebecca Taylor, Vince, and others will begin at 7pm. This event will benefit FIDM Museum & Galleries’ acquisition fund. The evening will also include Cadillac Couture, with FIDM graduate designers competing for the most innovative eveningwear look that incorporates Cadillac car parts.

Emmy Awards Pre-Party at the FIDM Museum Shop

Contest: Fill out our Emmy ballot to win a $50 gift certificate for 1st prize & $25 for 2nd prize. Receive a free Gift with Purchase all day (1 gift per customer).

Storewide sale: 20% off everything.

Saturday, September 22 from 11–4


*Ties will be entered into a drawing

2012 Exhibitions

  • 21st Annual Art of Motion Picture Costume Design
  • February 12–April 27, 2013

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