Designing Women, celebrating the creative alchemy of design, character and story, is one of the most exciting events in the New York entertainment industry’s spring calendar.
This leading awards event takes place every spring in New York City and honors renowned costume designers, makeup artists and hairstylists in film, television and digital media – the unsung heroines of production. This unique showcase, co-presented by Variety, is attended by actors, producers, directors, writers, fashion industry leaders and, of course, designers.
Designing Women includes the presentation of an award to a costume designer, a makeup artist and a hair stylist as well as the presentation of the Variety Ensemble Award to the entire costume, hair and makeup design team from a television series or a movie.
The 2015 event was presented to a sold-out crowd at the Scholastic auditorium in SoHo. Orange is the New Black star Lea DeLaria emcee’d. The award presentations were accompanied by video interviews of the honorees and clips illustrating their work. A reception followed the awards ceremony with costumes, sketches, posters and stills illustrating the work of the honorees on display.
Hannah Sorkin presented the Designing Women award for costume design to her mother, the legendary Ann Roth (Extremely Loud and Incredible Close, Working Girl, The English Patient). Sorkin read quotes from frequent Roth collaborators Meryl Streep and the late Mike Nichols, the latter of whom said Roth can show “awkwardness in a button, hope in a shiny skirt.” Roth had the audience in stitches with her witty anecdotes about life in the entertainment industry.
Talent agent and Criterion Group founder Susan Wright presented the next award to her friend and longtime client makeup artist Beverly Joy Pryor (Empire, Selma, Lee Daniels’ The Butler). Wright spoke of Pryor’s kindness and optimism, saying “she never sees strangers, she only sees friends.” Pryor called this “the most exciting time” of her life. The highlight reel touched on Pryor’s skill for transforming biopic actors to look like their real-life counterparts, as she did in Selma.
Boardwalk Empire star Gretchen Mol presented the Designing Women award to hair stylist Francesca Paris (Boardwalk Empire, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Two Weeks Notice), and spoke fondly of “Lola,” the name given to the wig Mol wore during her tenure on the HBO series. Paris used “Lola” to shield Mol during nude scenes, adding hair extensions to keep her artfully covered.
The Variety Ensemble Award was presented to the costume, makeup and hair design team of Orange Is the New Black. Stars Uzo Aduba, Barbara Rosenblat and Kate Mulgrewwere on hand to give out the awards. Aduba spoke about “how each designer has been able to incorporate the persona of each character inside the walls of Litchfield while still gently and respectfully maintaining the humanity, individuality and dignity of each of these women that they so deserve.”