The costume king behind ‘Empire’

(WSVN) - Wednesday night on “Empire,” the Lyons are getting hacked! But they’re gonna look great while it happens. There’s more to clothing the cast than hitting the mall and saying, “Oh, that looks good!”

The costume king is spilling his secrets.

Taraji P. Henson: “Compelling, unpredictable, exciting.”

That’s how “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson describes season 3 of the hit FOX series. But the same could be said about her character’s over-the-top wardrobe.

Taraji P. Henson: “I think a lot of an actor’s job, too, is to sell the wardrobe, you know. I don’t do the research on what she wears, and I don’t break it down like a wardrobe designer does.”

Empire’s costume stylist, Paolo Nieddu, says Cookie’s look reflects the glamorous life of her character.

Paolo Nieddu: “Over the top on the show is good, and on this show I strive for it to be over the top because it makes an impact. Every week you got to do something that’s interesting.”

And it’s not all about Cookie.

Paolo Nieddu: “We have a regular [cast] of at least 10 people that are having three to four changes an episode, plus all the featured and day players and background. I oversee all of that.”

Wardrobe styles and colors are carefully considered for each scene.

Paolo Nieddu: “We sort of play chess with the clothing, with the colors, and what they are doing and who they are next. If Cookie is in red, then no one [else] is wearing red, or if Hakeem is wearing red, then no one is wearing red.”

While many of the items are rare, some can be found in stores.

Paolo Nieddu: “They can buy the actual piece; there are clothes in the stores, some of it. I use vintage designer clothing on her, but there are places I shop that people can shop there, too.”

Fashionably new “Empire” episodes air Wednesdays at 9 p.m., right here on 7.

Copyright 2016 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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