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Gilt: B&B Makeover

Posted on Apr 25, 2012 06:30am

AFTER 25 YEARS ON AIR, The Bold and the Beautiful has created legends out of its fictional family names: think Forrester, Logan, Spencer and Marone. But for all of its Emmys, accolades and millions of fans, the most-watched soap opera in the world, set in the fashion industry, has not been known to highlight the names of designer royalty such as Lauren, Balenciaga, Balmain and Armani. Until now.

Known for its high drama in the boardrooms and heat in the bedrooms, The Bold and the Beautiful is now taking some couture clues from the runway. This year, viewers can see their favorite B&B stars wearing fashions from some of the world's most renowned designers. (Hello, Brooke in Lanvin? Now that's bold and beautiful.)

Watch! spoke with series associate producer Colleen Bell—whose husband, Brad Bell, is B&B's executive producer and head writer—about how she's giving the acclaimed serial, which celebrated its silver anniversary March 23, a seriously stylish makeover.

WATCH!: Why did you decide to revitalize the fashion on B&B?
COLLEEN BELL: I had been looking at the show and thought we weren't quite hitting that component out of the ballpark the way we should, given that at its core, the show is about two fashion families. I wanted to take on the role of making sure that B&B was all that it could be in terms of being a fashion-forward daytime drama.

WATCH!: What did you say to Brad to get him to "hire" you?
BELL: I said, "I really think this is something I can help you with. So, give me a year and we will turn the fashion style around." My first step was to hire a new costume designer. I brought in Danielle King (the acclaimed costume designer from Ally McBeal), who is very creative. Hopefully, we will create interesting looks for the characters that viewers will want to tune in to see.

WATCH!: When you looked at the male mainstays on the show, Ridge (Ronn Moss) and Eric (John McCook), how did you update their looks?
BELL: Danielle and I spent hours breaking down each character, saying, "Who is this person? And what should he or she look like?" I knew exactly how I wanted Eric Forrester to look. So now, he's in brands like Ralph Lauren. His suits fit perfectly and his shirts are custom tailored. He wears a pocket square because it adds an element of detail. As for Ridge, he should look like a very distinguished Italian businessman with pale grays and the occasional tone-on-tone shirt with his suit.

WATCH!: What character do you think needed the biggest fashion makeover?
BELL: I would say Brooke (Katherine Kelly Lang). More than anyone it has been trial and error in finding a look for her and reconciling the two sides of her personality—sophisticated and sexy. And Katherine was open to cutting her hair. I think she looks elegant with it, like Grace Kelly. With the new fashion on the show, I didn't want a lot of hair hanging down on her shoulders, so you couldn't see the top of her dress. It is a much cleaner look.

WATCH!: Is Danielle making any of the clothes worn on the show?
BELL: We tried to overhaul the look of the show but stay within the same budget. Building clothes is expensive, but we do build them for Stephanie Forrester (Susan Flannery). Susan likes to wear suits. I said to Danielle, "Madeleine Albright has the most incredible accessories. All we need to do with Susan is to have great-fitting suits, beautiful brooches, and pretty necklaces and rings, and mix themaround and that is going to be her look."

WATCH!: So then, where do you get the clothes the actors will wear on a daily basis?
BELL: There are such great products and so many talented designers out there that we can pull from their collections and mix and match. For the women, we will purchase from Phillip Lim, Alberta Ferretti, IsabelMarant, Etro and Alice and Olivia. We get most of our clothes from department stores, boutiques and vintage stores.

WATCH!: Say you had an unlimited budget and the best designers at your disposal. Who would you grab and which characters would wear them?
BELL: I would love for any of the female characters to wear anything from Monique Lhuillier. I would also love to dress Hope (Kim Matula) in anything by Erdem, Steffi (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) in Balmain or Balenciaga, Brooke in Lanvin or Oscar de la Renta, Taylor (Hunter Tylo) in Armani or Alberta Ferretti, and Katie (Heather Tom) in Jason Wu or Giambattista Valli!

WATCH!: Which fashion publications do you get the most inspiration from?
BELL: I love Italian Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. And for the younger characters, I have a 15-year-old daughter who always has the latest issue of Teen Vogue on her desk. I often skim through it and tear out a few pages hoping she won't notice, and bring those in to B&B for inspiration.

WATCH!: Would you say that Colleen Bell is a fashionista or a fashion guru?
BELL: I would say I am a self-proclaimed fashionista! [Laughs.] I love fashion. I saw The Devil Wears Prada recently for the fifth time.