EXCLUSIVE: How to Dress Denzel Washington and Viola Davis
Tony-nominated costume designer Sharen Davis reveals her design inspiration for the award-winning stars in Fences.
Fences isn’t a flashy movie, but as Playbill has learned from seasoned costume designers, a piece featuring “everyday” clothes can be just as difficult—if not more—to design than one with razzle dazzle. So, as described in the exclusive video above, director and star Denzel Washington chose his designer carefully. “In every aspect less is more,” says Washington, who earned Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for his performance. “Sharen gets that, down to the last button.”
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Davis, a two-time Oscar-nominated designer for Dreamgirls and Ray, created an understated concept. “August Wilson’s play was so riveting and captivating,” she says, “but when you are shooting a film, I feel you have to underplay the clothing a little more.” In the video, she explains her exploration of textures and layering, how she created the working class feel, and, most nuanced, the devolution of Rose, played by Golden Globe winner Viola Davis, and the wardrobe details reflecting that.
“I’ve worked with [Sharen] a lot over the years, she has great taste and knows how to deliver,” says Washington.
It seems his costume designer is no different than the rest of his cast, which includes Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russsell Lyons, and Mykelti Williamson from the 2010 Tony-winning revival. Both Washington and Davis (as in Viola) won Tonys for their Broadway performances. Only time will tell what he and both Davises have in store come Oscar night.