With stylish women like Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood giving us a renewed interest in country girl style, it’s no wonder we’re completely smitten with “Hart of Dixie,” The CW show starring Rachel Bilson and Jamie King.
We got the chance to talk to the show’s stylist and costume designer, Meredith Markworth-Pollack to chat shirtless men, fashionable stars, and what it's like to work on a successful television show. Markworth-Pollack started her career in New York City, working with another costume designer named Eric Daman for a few years on feature films before they teamed up to style the pilot and first season of “Gossip Girl.” Shortly after, Markworth-Pollack moved back home to Los Angeles, and “Gossip Girl” creator Josh Schwartz and executive producer Stephanie Savage enlisted her to work on their next project, "Hart of Dixie.” The show follows Dr. Zoe Hart, played by Rachel Bilson, whose big New York City dreams of being a cardiothoracic surgeon have fallen through. Now she must adjust to the small town of Bluebell, Alabama and run a small medical practice. The show also features the always gorgeous Jamie King as the antagonistic yet proper Southern Belle, Lemon Breeland, and more than a few juicy love triangles (and squares, and pentagons).
Since Markworth-Pollack and her team are often responsible for dressing numerous characters for a shoot--their upcoming Halloween episode was especially rough with over 100 principle and background actors all dressed up for the spooky holiday--a typical day for Markworth-Pollack begins around 7:30 a.m., setting up establishing shots on set. Afterwards, she heads back to the office to work with her five-person team and regroups on who they'll be fitting and what specialty pieces they'll need to pull. Go-tos include local vintage shops and boutiques and even some items from the handy Warner Bros. in-house rental costume shop. Hey--at least a lot of the leading men appear shirtless (and often--hallelujah) so that takes part of her busy load off! When dressing her stars, Markworth-Pollack says the quality of designer samples she receives is often dependant on based the star power of her project’s leading ladies', though often designers still don't like to lend pieces for the extended period of time she needs. Luckily, she credits cooperative designers like L'Agence, Iro, and McGinn for being understanding of the needs of a television show.
When she's not using samples, Markworth-Pollack can't resist the power of a good department store, or the lure of online shopping. She laughingly admits, "we'll spend the whole day at Barneys and rack up a big bill. And then we're not allowed to go there anymore." When Markworth-Pollack’s on a tighter budget and needs something very specific, she'll hit up her "secret spots" for online shopping. Most recently, she needed a "tomato red handbag" for Rachel Bilson's character, and instead of spending all day running around LA, she hopped on ShopStyle.com and found a great Loeffler Randal purse. Ah, the power of the internet.
Markworth-Pollack isn't the only "Hart of Dixie" girl familiar with online shopping. Star Rachel Bilson is a "Fashion Authority" at Piperlime.com and the Creative director and co-designer of the online shoe mecca ShoeMint.com. Markworth-Pollack says that Bilson and her co-star Jamie King are both wonderful collaborators because they know what works for their bodies and respect the work that Markwoth-Pollack's team does. Both King and Bilson will bring in items they were gifted personally that they feel are right for their characters. "We're totally open," Markworth-Pollack says, "Wherever there are cute clothes, we're there!" There's even been some crossover with ShoeMint, as they've used multiple pairs on Rachel's character. In one episode they filled a store with all shoes from ShoeMint! "I don't even know if anyone even picked up on that, but it was a fun little story line!"
When it comes to Bilson's character and her personal style, Markworth-Pollack says that Zoe Hart is "definitely shopping online." Her style remains true to her big city roots, and there is no way that she's getting all her adorable designer finds in the fictional Bluebell, Alabama. Bilson's character's wardrobe showcases a dark color palette, and tends to favor heels and leather over the pastels and girly dresses, unlike the town's more traditional-minded residents. King's character, Lemon, is Zoe's main antagonist and alpha-Belle. Throughout the first season it was all sweet dresses and perfectly coiffed hair, but with the big changes in her life this season, Lemon is getting a modern makeover. She is, for the first time in her life, a "single, modern woman trying to figure out her career path," and Markworth-Pollack "want[s] to show that through her wardrobe." They're staying true to her signature vintage silhouettes, but modernizing it with pencil skirts and button-down blouses from designers like Rebecca Taylor and Marc by Marc Jacobs, as well as custom-made pieces (because of her "control freak" nature). When dressing her, Markworth-Pollack always asks: "What would a lady wear?" It's bright and colorful, but still grown up and professional.
With all the hard work she's put in, it's no wonder that "Hart of Dixie," now in its second season, is such a style hit! Be sure to tune in to The CW on Tuesdays at 8/7c to see all the cute clothes (and men) you can handle.