The 80s and 90s were a glamourous time for soaps, and it didn’t stop with the on-screen happenings. Even photo shoots were glitzy occasions. But times have changed on-screen and off.
“The cast photos used to be formals, so you’d be scrambling for gowns,” THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS’ costume designer Jennifer Johns recalls. “We just don’t do as many full-on formal/tuxedo events anymore on the show. Even when we do big parties, they’re often more cocktail attire than big, lavish gown events.”
Moving with the times, Johns stuck to the more casual look of today for this year’s cast photo. She even put much of the teen scene, including Michael Graziadei and Camryn Grimes (Daniel and Cassie), in jeans. “Greg Rikaart (Kevin) is in causal pants and some of the women were in cocktail dresses,” she adds. “Eric (Braeden, Victor) and John Enos (Bobby) were in suits, but no ties. Nothing’s too sparkly or spangley. The emphasis was really on color.”
“Jeanne Cooper wanted to wear Katherine’s rainbow intervention [outfit], so we built around that color pallet,” she continues, noting that much of the cast wore something out of their character’s wardrobe. “We didn’t have the resources and time to fit everybody in brand new things, so we pulled things that worked and filled in the blanks around those core colors.”
This was easier said than done! Working with that much color takes a steady eye. “When we used to do the formal stuff, you had the women in bright colors and the men in all in black,” Johns explains. “We only had to think of the colors on half the people. This was more challenging, because we had to think about color for everyone.
“We didn’t want it to look like flowers in a vase or an egg hunt,” Johns laughs. “We needed a little bit of neutral to break it up and move the eye around a bit. We also had to get a mixture of the solids and stripes, but so much of what’s out there is stripes! So Lauralee (Bell, Christine) is in black and many of the guys are in black or grey slacks.”
This balance of colors vs. neutrals and solids vs. stripes was just as important in positioning the actors. “We got away from the risers and the glee club positioning [of the last cast photo],” Johns says, explaining, “We had so many people that we had to be a distance away and some areas of the set were dark and some people were in dark clothes. People felt the individuals were too small.
“It was fun and it was a new idea, so we tried to build on what we liked about that picture and improve on it. We decided on a background and a series of cubes and geometric shapes. We let the people be the focus.”
As they should be and, in the end, the Y&R team pulled it off. According to Johns, “They all looked so pretty and it was very happy looking.”
For a closer look at the cast photo, click here.