Dirt: Pierpoint & Co. grails
An interview with Industry's costume designer.
Jocelyn Silver chats with Industry’s new costume designer, Colleen Morris-Glennon, and considers buying a skirt suit.
Warning: Some (small) spoilers ahead.
Industry—the gripping, ice-cold HBO drama about Gen-Z bankers, their punishing, uppers-fueled work and sex lives, and the bosses who both mentor them and provide material for future lawsuits—is back for a second season. Last night’s premiere episode (called “Daddy,” for those unsure what they were getting into) saw our cipher of a protagonist, Harper (Myha'la Herrold) return to the trading floor at fictional financial behemoth Pierpoint & Co.’s London office, after a year of pandemic-induced working from home.
The episode was rife with plot points that are now glorious Industry standard: acidic insults; drunkenness; graphic, mechanical sex in which the participants compete for dominance; and characters spouting off baffling financial jargon (“We are very much here for you if you need any flow or color-slash-currency ideas from the CPS end”).
It’s a stylish show, presented in cool-toned cinematography with a sinister techno soundtrack. And like its finance guy entertainment forebears American Psycho and Wall Street, Industry recognizes that bankers dress self-consciously. “Daddy” features both a display of Brioni-esque suiting, and a scene in which a new American interloper (Alex Alomar Akpobome) encourages the Londoners not to take their Pierpoint & Co. logo-embossed bags out in public, lest they anger the proletariat.
Last season, that Pierpoint & Co. logo, when rendered on a vintage-looking hoodie, caused a bit of a furor (the late Virgil Abloh wanted one). And this season, with the help of new costume designer Colleen Morris-Glennon, major plot points revolve around specific items of clothing. There are tiny bike shorts one character uses to proudly reveal his dickprint in a meeting; an Hermés tie that conveys both a hollow promotion at work and a waning of personal vitality; and a pair of towering, crystal-encrusted Prada heels, a gift to Yasmin (Marisa Abela) from a new mentor, representing independence and a new direction for her career. She keeps them on during sex.
Dirt spoke to Morris-Glennon about the hoodie, class signifiers, and how to dress the cast for an unfashionable world.
Silver: As a costume designer, how do you approach something like the world of finance? Everybody loves expensive things, yet they have to be a bit anti-fashion.
Morris-Glennon: Well, with Industry, the great thing about this season is you see them more outside of work. So, I got to use color outside of work, but at work, it's a uniform. I just wanted to make sure they looked authentic, and [showrunners Mickey Down and Konrad Kay] were very definite about that. He didn't want them too polished, because it's not realistic. He didn't want them to look completely steamed and perfect after seven hours of working. So, it was nice to do something that looks real, not so polished, not so tailored, not so over-the-top, and I really liked that about the show.
And, we could take some liberties because it was then two years later after the pandemic. So, especially with the younger traders, we could definitely change them just a little bit, because it's been two years since the first season. But we didn't go high fashion, because it's just not realistic. The only person I would say that was really put together was of course Yasmin, but Harper is still slightly tragic because she's not someone who cares about fashion.
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Silver: Are there any tips and tricks of the costume designer to make somebody look rumply? What do you do with the clothes? Do you have them purposefully wrinkled?
Morris-Glennon: We do. it's usually a kind of a rope that we'll put through the jacket and rumple the jacket and we all spray it and keep it rumpled. On this show we took it really seriously, because again, you want it to be authentic, and not in hour two they're rumpled, hour three they're clean, hour four they're rumpled again. Our supervisor, Sophie Barlow, was on top of that all the time.
Silver: What are some of those changes you made to the traders’ style?
Morris-Glennon: I gave Harper a little bit more clothing because she's had two years to update herself, but she still hasn't really got the taste as you'd want her to have for that kind of money. So, all I did really was, because they earn so much money, made their clothes look more expensive, if not well fitting.Younger traders are much more flamboyant than the older traders, but I find they're more colorful in New York rather than in London. So, I didn't go colorful. But I think for me in the first season, sometimes it looked a bit flat with too much white, too much blue. So, all I did was add shades of blue and shades of white just to give it more dimension, but not changing much.
Silver: I like that point about things being more expensive, but not fitting well. What sorts of references were you drawing upon for the way that people that work in finance dress?
Morris-Glennon: Well, luckily for me, I actually know a couple of traders, and their wardrobe is usually filled with really expensive clothing, but not necessarily the right sizes, not necessarily the right fit. So, I have them as references.
When you're younger, you want the expensive stuff, but you don't necessarily know how it's supposed to fit. The older traders look much more put together. They've done it for a longer time. They know what they're supposed to look like. The youngest guys don't, they really don't.
So, the only person for me that looked really clean is Rishi, because he’s a labelwhore. If you remember from the first season, his shirts were always perfectly tailored.
Silver: He looks very crisp. And then of course the other very crisp-looking person is Yasmin. She’s old-money, and her clothes are such a big part of her personality, her arc. How did you approach dressing her?
Morris-Glennon: When you're younger, two years is a long time. You change. I know in my 20s, two years was like 10 years today. You've changed so much, you had different influences. And the fact that they were home, yes, they were working, but they got to be a little bit freer, just like we all did. So with Yasmin, she came back a little bit more confident. She wasn't the same person. She wasn't trying to please everyone. She was trying to please herself. So her style changed a little bit, not much, but just a little bit more confident, not as needy. And then her clothing outside of work, that's when I got more stylish with her. It’s luxe, absolutely luxe because everything is expensive. She is luxe, luxe, luxe, and she knows it, it's her breeding.
Silver: What brands did you have her in?
Morris-Glennon: Hermés, Burberry, YSL, those really beautiful luxe brands where you really know what you're wearing. Everything fitted her well.
Silver: And now you have Celeste from Pierpoint’s private wealth management division, who Yasmin initially mistakes for a sex worker. How did you like dressing Celeste (Katrine De Candole), and what was the tone that you wanted to convey with this mysterious character from a different department?
Morris-Glennon: With Celeste, I got to have more fun because she's not on the floor. My first question I always ask Mickey is, “what are their earnings?” I always like to know how much money they make, because that also helps me to tell their story. And with Celeste, it's a lot more money, and she's French, so I immediately think she has more style anyway. So, I got to have a lot more fun with her. I used a lot of French labels on her, and I didn't feel narrowed by my approach for her. It was just, again, expensive, because she's also dealing with those wealthy clients and she wants to go in there and look and feel like them. I've got a lot of Chanel on her, and she just looked incredibly chic.
Silver: Her clothing is much more seductive, and then everyone else is so regimented. Especially the women, the younger traders, don’t they have to be very sexless in their clothing at work?
Morris-Glennon: Exactly, very corporate, whereas everything with Celeste is either structured or fitted or flowy. All her blouses are soft, the buttons are done a little bit too low. That is Celeste.
Silver: And, with other female characters who are on the trading floor, they have to be careful, present themselves in this asexual clothing, and yet it still doesn’t protect them from harassment.
Morris-Glennon: With the words of Konrad and Mickey, I wanted to stay factual to those women. They are not there to be sexual. They're there to do their jobs. So, I made sure they just looked very professional. I didn't want to sexualize them in that instance on the floor. Outside of work, they can do whatever they want to do, but these are strong, powerful women who take their jobs really seriously, and I didn't want to just lessen them as a character by making them sexual.
They don't really care about their clothing. Their hours are so long. They just have their uniforms. It's basically a uniform really, that they put on and go to work, and they know they look professional, they've got the shirt, the top, whatever. They get in there, and they're comfortable because it's a long day. It's an exciting job for them. They make a lot of money, but it's hard work. They're mostly hideous human beings, but it is hard work what they do.
Silver: They make all this money, but I feel like the clothes are a great representation of how little time they have to enjoy their money.
Silver: They don't really get to luxuriate in it.
Morris-Glennon: No, they really don't, which is why they do coke and live extremely, because the little time they get to enjoy it they go overboard.
Silver: There’s an important plot point later in the season involving an Hermés tie. How do you select pieces like that, which need to convey so much yet can’t smack the viewer over the head?
Morris-Glennon: I'm never a believer in having the clothes say too much, because I think it gives away the plot. Especially in a show like Industry, as much as I want the clothes to be a part of the characters, I don't want it to be a character of the show, because the show is filled with such great characters as it is. I just wanted it not to be noticeable.
Silver: Harper is a character who constantly lies. How do you dress her, both in and out of work, as someone who tends to conceal their true self? Why does the nose ring appear and disappear?
Morris-Glennon: Because she should not ever have it at work. When she's at work, she's not supposed to wear her nose ring. So in the end, you'll see that she wears her nose ring because it's more of a [middle finger] to the establishment, but in the beginning you just see her in it outside of work. Again, as you know, it's a very corporate world. It's very conservative, so she shouldn't wear that. But even her hair is changed because she's a little bit more confident now, so when she's outside of work, you'll see the afro. But at work you'll never see it. it's all tied back. So, she's a little bit more confident in who she is, yet she's still a fish out of water, and she's still got that nervous energy of trying to prove herself. You don't really get who she is through her clothing, because she doesn't know who she is. With Yasmin, you know exactly who she is, you see the confidence. With Harper, it's sometimes how she's feeling on a day.
Silver: And, I suppose this is just how Myha’la Herrold came into the show, but I do think it's interesting that you see Harper in these very conservative garments, and then when she takes off her clothing she's covered in tattoos. So, the clothes seem like even more of a mask once she's—
Morris-Glennon: Exactly. The clothes are an absolute mask for who Harper is, and as the season goes on, you'll see more of who she is, which is what I really love about this season. You learn more about her, you learn more about Yasmin, you really learn more about them all, especially Gus. Really great storyline for Gus.
Silver: In contrast to Harper, with the older traders, where do you buy their suits? Where do you see them as shopping? What's their goal with their clothing? Is it clothing that's designed to intimidate really more than anything?
Morris-Glennon: Yeah, I find they are far more tailored, very expensive. They've got their ties, they're always got French cuff sleeves, but very specific. With someone like Eric, he's a Brioni man. With someone like Adler, he's a Hugo Boss man, and sometimes a Brooks Brothers man. So, I try to definitely have them different when they're in Europe or in America. The designers I use are very different for each, which is what I did with Alex. He came with a very American look rather than an English look, so he had more colors. He's just a little bit more put together rather than the English traders, who funnily enough are not as well put together as the Americans.
Silver: Why do you think that is?
Morris-Glennon: I just think the English don't care. I find the more they have money–because there's so much old money here, they don't care–while new money cares.
Silver: Like in a hunting episode later in the season, the old-money English run around in Wellies and—
Morris-Glennon: Exactly, and holy sweaters, and they just don't care. While new money, they're wearing it, and that's the difference.
Silver: Finally, the Pierpont & Co. sweatshirt is so fantastic. I know it's a holdover from last season, but could you tell me anything about its design, and when and why it's used? Why does it tend to show up on Eric, specifically?
Morris-Glennon: The Pierpont Hoodie has become a character in itself. I was thrilled to use it again for Eric. It shows up on Eric as it’s a few years old, so the newbies won’t have it. That was of course Mickey & Konrad who designed it! No one expected it to become infamous! — Jocelyn Silver
This interview has been edited and condensed.
The Dirt: The kids of Industry are (for the most part) definitely spending more on drugs than suits.
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