Recently, I’ve become enamored of the late, great TV series, Pushing Daisies, and the wonderful costumes on the show. Pushing Daisies was a quirky romantic comedy/fantasy/mystery that revolved around a piemaker named Ned (Lee Pace) who had a “witching finger” that could bring the dead back to life. Ned’s gift came with a few simple rules: 1) he could only bring the dead back for a minute, 2) a second touch from him would render the dead un-alive permanently and 3) keeping the dead alive longer than 60 seconds meant that someone else had to die in order to keep the balance.
Emerson Cod (Chi McBride), a private detective, learns of Ned’s gift and makes him a deal: Ned will raise the corpses of the recently and suspiciously deceased, get them to tell him who killed them, then Emerson will solve the case, and he and Ned will split the reward money. Their unorthodox partnership is going well until Ned comes across the body of his childhood sweetheart, Chuck (Anna Friel). Unable to kill her again, Ned keeps Chuck alive, but the two are unable to touch lest Chuck go back to being dead again.
It all sounds very unwieldly, but the writers and the cast make it work. The sets and especially the costumes are a delight–brightly colored like a Technicolor fairy tale. The costume designer for the series was Robert Blackman. To create the series’ particular retro look, Blackman says “the decades I’d dip into were the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, early ’70s, skip the ’80s and then come back to the ’90s until present day.”
Here are some of my favorite costumes from Pushing Daisies:
This iconic dandelion dress is the uniform for Jeanine, the car model, in the episode “Dummy”. Jeanine and her fellow models are promoting a green car that runs on dandelions hence the outfit. The actress in the photo is the excellent Riki Lindholme whom you might recognize from her appearances in “The Big Bang Theory” and Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing.
Chuck (Anna Friel) and Olive (Kristin Chenoweth) go undercover as waitresses in a Chinese restaurant (“Dim Sum, Lose Sum”) to crack a gambling ring.
Love the ’70s vibe here as Emerson (Chi McBride) and Ned (Lee Pace) pose as players in the same episode.
Olive (Kristin Chenoweth), Ned’s waitress, attempts to forget her unrequited love for her boss at the convent of the Sisters of the Divine Magnatum (“Bad Habits”). Series writer/producer Bryan Fuller enjoys referencing classic movies in the series and this is his send up of The Sound of Music. I particularly like the way the sisters seem to be wearing coffee filters as part of their headress.
In “Bzzzzzzz!”, our intrepid trio investigate a suspicious death at the Betty’s Bees cosmetics company. Everything on the Betty’s Bees set carries out the bee motif from the honeycomb patterned dresses and “beehive” hairdoes to Ned’s black and yellow striped tie. Fantastic!
It’s hard to pick just ONE favorite costume, but if I absolutely had to, I would pick Olive and Ned’s pie shop uniforms from (“Comfort Food”). In the show, Olive and Ned are competing at the Papen County Best in Belly Cooking Competition and must find out who is offing their fellow competitors before they are next on the menu. Ned’s pie-shaped hat is just epic.