2015 Emmy Award Costume Design Category Changes - For Your Consideration

By Joe Kucharski - June 23, 2015

Exciting changes are coming to the Costume Design categories of the 2015 Primetime Emmy Awards! Until recently, Emmy Awards in the field of Costume Design were divided into three categories based on length and distribution- Series; Miniseries, Movie or Special; and Variety Program or Special. With the rise in period and fantasy television productions in recent years, this has led to disproportionate recognition of historic design. Much like the Oscars, the Emmys have overwhelmingly overlooked contemporary costume designers as of late. But that is all about to change!


Starting in 2015, the Emmy Costume Design honors will be awarded in the categories of Outstanding Costumes for a Period/Fantasy Series, Limited Series or Movie; Outstanding Costumes for a Contemporary Series, Limited Series or Movie; and Outstanding Costumes for a Variety Program or a Special. These changes to the Emmy Awards are pivotal to well-rounded recognition of the range of talented artists within the costume field. Credit for execution of this landmark change goes to Emmy Costume Governors Terry Gordon and Sue Bub.


Here is a look at the exact wording of the new rules:

 Clarification regarding how recognition for each genre within a category will be distributed comes from John Leverence,
 Senior Vice President of Awards, “Area 19 is a mix of series and long form, with the number of nominations proportional to the entries, e.g., if there are 30 series entries and 20 long form entries, the 3 top vote-getters in series and the 2 top vote-getters in long form will emerge as the 5 nominations. Ditto for Area 20.”

It is also worth noting that the Period/Fantasy and Contemporary Awards are “non-competitive,” meaning more than one winner is possible in each category.


So who are some of the top designers/productions that Emmy voters should consider by category? Here’s a look at just a few of our top picks!


Outstanding Costumes for a Period/Fantasy Series, Limited Series or Movie


1. Mad Men (Janie Bryant)***

We’re going to stop the list right here to fill you in on one of the saddest facts in Emmy Award history- in seven glorious seasons, Janie Bryant has NEVER won an Emmy Award for Mad Men. We find this fact outrageous, as no other designer and show has done more for the field of costume design in recent history. Janie is one of the first television costume designers to become a household name. She has paved the way for fashion brand partnerships through her work on and off the set of Mad Men (Banana Republic, Madenform, Shoes of Prey, Black Halo, among others)!

Bryant expertly captured the zeitgeist of an era SO perfectly that her designs inspired a flood of 1960s inspired fashion, seen on the runway and the retail floor from Prada, to Mark Jacobs, Michael Kors, and so many more! And what other designer so impeccably captured the details of a period that they set off a worldwide trend of show-themed costume parties?! For going on eight years, grown adults have gathered in apartments, homes, bars, restaurants, and ballrooms to celebrate the weekend, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, house warmings, and even theatre galas dressed in 1960s fashions with Janie Bryant’s designs for Mad Men as their main guide. (I myself attended two such parties, and was invited to a slew of others.)

With Mad Men now having aired its final season, this is Emmy Voters’ last chance to bestow the highest in television honors to the designer and show that changed the game!

2. Outlanders (Terry Dresbach)

3. Game of Thrones (Michele Clapton)

4. The Americans (Jenny Gering)

5. Boardwalk Empire (John Dunn)

6. Penny Dreadful (Gabriella Pescucci)

7. Masters of Sex (Ane Crabtree)

8. The Knick (Ellen Mirojnick)

9. Vikings (Joan Bergin)

10. Agent Carter (Giovanna Ottobre-Melton)

11. Reign (Meredith Markworth Pollack)

12. Sleepy Hollow (Kristin M. Burke and Mairi Chisholm)

13. American Horror Story: Freak Show (Lou Eyrich)


    Outstanding Costumes for a Contemporary Series, Limited Series or Movie


    1. Scandal (Lyn Paolo)

    2. Orphan Black (Debra Hanson)

    3. The Blacklist (Christine Bean)

    4. The Mindy Project (Salvador Perez)

    5. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (Ann Foley)

    6. Hannibal (Christopher Hargadon)

    7. House of Cards (Johanna Argan)

    8. The Good Wife (Daniel Lawson)

    9. Empire (Rita McGhee and Paolo Nieddu)

    10. Pretty Little Liars (Mandi Line)

    11. Ray Donovan (Christopher Lawrence)

    12. True Detectives (Jenny Eagan)



    Emmy Nomination voting ENDS June 26 at 10:00 PM PT.


    Emmy Nominations are announced LIVE July 16, 8:30 AM PDT


    Emmy Final round voting begins August 17


    Emmy Final round voting ENDS August 28, 10:00 PM


    Emmy Creative Arts Awards and Ball Saturday September 12


    Emmy Telecast and Governors Ball September 20, 5:00 PM PDT