How ‘Lovecraft Country’ Costume Designer Dayna Pink Blends Fantasy & Period Costumes: “I Could Take The Idea Of The ’50s And Be Creative With It”

HBO’s Lovecraft Country may take place in 1950s Jim Crow America, but the story didn’t just stay in one setting, which gave costume designer Dayna Pink a lot to work with. So much so that Pink isn’t nominated in a period costume category, instead she is nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Fantasy/Sci-Fi Costumes category.

The series follows Atticus (Jonathan Majors) as searches for his missing father with his friend Leti (Jurnee Smollett) and his Uncle George (Courtney B. Vance). The episode for which Pink is nominated, “I Am.”, follows Atticus’s Aunt Hippolyta (Aunjanue Ellis) as she travels through infinite realities, which really highlights the sci-fi/fantasy costume designs.

DEADLINE: What were your initial thoughts on the costume design for the series?

DAYNA PINK: What was super exciting to me about the show in general was that it seemed to me that I could take the idea of the ’50s and be creative with it. So, we could read the show in the period and yet kind of do our own take on it because there were horror and fantasy elements. The script had said that there was going to be some modern music involved, so I thought, why don’t we do that with the costumes? Instead of being so specific to 1950s, why don’t we root it in the fifties and then do our own thing with it?

DEADLINE: Why was the episode “I Am.” chosen for consideration?

PINK: I think the breadth of that episode for our department was so incredible and so far-reaching. Although there were other episodes that I really loved our work in and was very proud of, that was the episode that almost killed us. There was so much to it. There were warriors and soldiers and space and Paris and dancers and the ’50s… It was really so varied, so I thought it was a good episode to show what our department did for that show.

DEADLINE: And what was your inspiration for the costumes in that episode?

PINK: Our inspiration for the costumes was all the things that you saw. We had different warriors that we built in our own office with leather and we brought different fabrics to add to those. And we ripped up fabrics and we dyed fabrics, and then we took the feathers and made the Parisian dancers ourselves, and we bought different kinds of chokers and beading and pieces. We literally made all those things, piece by piece, with our own hands in office. So, it was really a labor of love.

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