How the stylish, fairytale NYC of ‘Katy Keene’ came to life


Beware, Midge Maisel and Blair Waldorf: New York has a new queen of television fashion.

"Katy Keene," whose namesake star is played by Lucy Hale from "Pretty Little Liars," is CW's new spin-off of her twisted teen hit, "Riverdale." The dramatic drama, which premiered on Thursday, is inspired by a retro "Archie" comic series of the same name, and follows a group of twenty-year-old creatives in New York City.

"The New York of 'Katy Keene" is the New York of the imagination, "Michael Grassi, co-creator of the program with Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, told The Post." He refers to New York that we saw in our favorite movies and television shows when we grew up, like "A Chorus Line" or "Working Girl" or "Breakfast at Tiffany's".

And costume designer Jenn Rogien says that for Katy, an aspiring fashion designer trying to move up in a luxury department store, she looked "strongly" at the 50s and 60s comics for inspiration.

"Those were very helpful in terms of silhouette and style to feel very elegant and fashionable even though they are illustrations of clothing from the 50s," says Rogien, who previously worked on Netflix's "Russian Doll", to The Post . "There are many pink, red and heart motifs in Katy's original drawings. We use it as a starting point. It also makes it fun to watch."

Katy, of course, has a squad of elegant friends. Her roommate Jorge, (Jonny Beauchamp) is a drag queen bound for Broadway who goes for Ginger Lopez, Pepper Smith (Julia Chan) is an influencer in the art world and Jill of all trades. And then there is singer Josie (Ashleigh Murray), whom the viewers of "Riverdale" will recognize. The program schedule is five years ahead of the current "Riverdale", so Josie and her friends are just over 20 years old.

The comics served as a blatant inspiration for the fairy tale of modern fashion, says Grassi.

"Pepper Smith, for example, her iconic element in comics is that she always wears glasses, so our Pepper also wears glasses," he says.

The comic version of Ginger also sports a blonde stripe on his brown bob, so, says Grassi, "when Jorge drags like Ginger, he will also have that iconic strip in his hair."

Josie has a penchant for leopard prints, and Katy is almost always in reds and pinks.
Josie has a penchant for leopard prints, and Katy is almost always in reds and pinks.Barbara Nitke

The show also has many Easter eggs for modern New Yorkers.

When Jorge plays with a drag, he frequents a piano bar called "Molly’s Crisis", a play in the real-life West Village piano bar, Marie’s Crisis.

"It's also something we do in" Riverdale, "where we take iconic things and give them a" Riverdale "spin," says Grassi. “We really look at the city to tell us a story. As if we were doing a polar vortex episode of what it is like to be locked in a small New York apartment with all your roommates when it is freezing and you can't go out. "

So, since the program does not shy away from representing a Manhattan winter, finding elegant coats for the characters was key to Rogien.

“We definitely had the purchase of coats on the list at all times, very special coats that were all pink and red. We were constantly looking for something that would work since we filmed outside in December, January and February in New York. ”

Lucy Hale's wardrobe, Katy Keene, has to do with extra fabulous coats.
Katy's locker room has to do with the extra fabulous coats.Barbara Nitke

Rogien says they searched for Century 21, The RealReal and Shopbop in search of parts.

"Finding special coats that work for life and are great and interesting to wear is a challenge," she says. “In New York, we live in coats for a large part of the year. And so, taking another step for the character and making it something interesting for the audience to see as well was a complete dimension for him. ”

Rogien makes fun that his favorite look is the dress Katy wears at the end of the season, but you'll have to tune it in to see it.

"I'm very excited about her final season dress, but I don't want to give anything away. Be attentive."

"Katy Keene" airs Thursday at 8 p.m. in The CW.