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A mention of the Nineties television hit “Melrose Place” conjures images of a tiled courtyard building populated by pretty young things. Though no such structure exists on Los Angeles’ real Melrose Place — a tree-lined street, which is the site of Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and Chloé boutiques — the fictional dwelling has been faithfully re-created in a Van Nuys, Calif., soundstage on a street full of auto-repair shops and warehouses. This is where the cast of The CW network’s newfangled “Melrose Place” (which will premiere Sept. 8) gathers one sunny afternoon to film a scene around that familiar swimming pool. A new group of twentysomethings — played by Stephanie Jacobsen, Jessica Lucas, Katie Cassidy and Ashlee Simpson-Wentz — has moved in, ready to stir up scandal, sex and, hopefully, some fashion trends.
“I think it’s a good time for Los Angeles to be recognized in terms of design,” says costume designer Emma Trask, a celebrity and editorial stylist who uses local resources such as Erica Davies, Louis Verdad, Lloyd Klein, Cosa Nostra and Elise Overland in addition to Jean Paul Gaultier, Chloé, Dolce & Gabbana, Balenciaga and Lanvin on the show. “The city is full of different looks, and each girl was set up to be very different stylewise.”
“This is a whole new playing field for me,” says Hong Kong-born Jacobsen, 29, who has had more experience with sci-fi, and appeared in “Battlestar Galactica” in 2007 and “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” in 2008 and 2009. Her “Melrose Place” character, Lauren, is a medical school student by day and, to pay for tuition, a call girl by night. “I think she is probably the most practical of the cast, and her style reflects that,” Jacobsen adds. “The way she dresses is very simple, classical and functional.” Lauren’s daytime wardrobe consists of cardigans, shirts and shorts. For evening engagements, she keeps it sweet in dresses like Michelle Mason’s white lace strapless mini and Balenciaga’s pale pink and blue sheath, and for the requisite prime-time love scenes — those of her practicing the world’s oldest profession — there are also doses of Agent Provocateur and Calvin Klein lingerie thrown into the mix.
STYLED BY LEILA BABOI; PHOTOGRAPHED AT PIER 59 STUDIOS, SANTA MONICA, PIER59STUDIOS.COM; FASHION ASSISTANTS: TANYA BROWN, KIM KAJOHN, MARK WEYLAND; MANICURES BY NETTIE DAVIS FOR ARTISTSBYTIMOTHYPRIANO.COM; RETOUCHING BY SOUS LES ETOILES; ASHLEE: HAIR BY JOHN D USING KERASTASE AT THEMAGNETAGENCY.COM; MAKEUP BY GUDRUN FOR NARS COSMETICS FOR PHOTOGENICS BEAUTY AT SMASHBOX; STEPHANIE/JESSICA: HAIR BY BERTRAND W. FOR TRESEMME AT TRACEYMATTINGLY.COM; MAKEUP BY BRETT FREEDMAN FOR VANITYMARK/ CELESTINEAGENCY.COM; KATIE: HAIR BY JOHN D USING KERASTASE AT THEMAGNETAGENCY.COM; MAKEUP BY SPENCER BARNES FOR SOLOARTISTS.COM/NARS