Even if you have seen every single episode of Friends and know the intimate backstory of each character, you probably don't know what went on behind the scenes in creating unique wardrobes for each of the six friends. But now, Debra McGuire, the show's costume designer, has opened up about how she decided what Rachel, Ross, Monica, Joey, Phoebe and Chandler would wear in each episode.
McGuire, in an interview with the Guardian, explained that the most important part of her job was ensuring that the six characters complemented one another: "You needed to consider the production design and set. It was about the six of them looking great together."
So, while they all had their own individual colour schemes, they still all had to look great on screen together at the same time (and presumably complement the purple walls in the apartment).
"My designs were all character-driven. I identified palettes. Monica was black, grey, white, burgundy; Rachel was blues and greens. I divided the boys into textures – Ross was tweedy, Chandler had a lot of vintage and racing stripe shirts, Joey had leather jackets, then later sweaters and chenille. Phoebe was in patterns. They each had different visual identities."
McGuire also explained that the show's creators were keen to keep the wardrobes as casual as possible and realistic for where these people were in their lives, but she fought against this.
"I thought we needed aspirational clothing to make people want to know more about their lives," she said. "It wasn’t realistic that Monica had that amazing apartment – you wouldn’t see young people then living like that. So it was already aspirational in terms of lifestyle; I just took it one step further. For instance I dressed Joey in an Armani jacket. He was meant to be an unemployed actor, there is no way he could have afforded it, but the vintage jackets I found didn’t have the right drape."
And while Friends was wildly popular when it was on the screen, the show still has a massive fanbase – and one that is growing, as the younger generations start to discover it. And, because much of the show was shot in the '90s, the characters are now more on-trend than they even were at the time, particularly one of them.
"It always used to be Rachel’s wardrobe people would ask about. Now it is Monica’s. That is so funny to me because I never heard a word about her high-waisted pants and cropped T-shirts at the time. She was a working chef and her wardrobe was more straightforward and realistic."
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From Harper's Bazaar U.K.