TNT’s Dallas Styles: ‘Lifting the Veil’

Afton Cooper, Ann Ewing, Audrey Landers, Brenda Strong, Elena Ramos, Jordana Brewster, Judith Light, Judith Ryland, Julie Gonzalo, Linda Gray, Lifting the Veil, Linda Gray, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Julie Gonzalo always looks beautiful on “Dallas,” but the actress was nothing less than radiant when Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing Ewing got married (again) in “Lifting the Veil,” this week’s episode. I love how Pamela’s Vera Wang gown left one shoulder exposed, making her look sophisticated and sexy all at once, and how her hair was pulled to one side, evoking the glamour of Hollywood screen sirens from the 1940s. Also, don’t overlook Pamela’s makeup, which highlighted Gonzalo’s natural beauty without ever getting in its way. This is what perfection looks like.

Of course, everyone looked amazing in “Lifting the Veil.” I especially liked how costume designer Rachel Sage Kunin used color to link the Ewings: John Ross’s tuxedo was dark blue, and so were Sue Ellen and Lucy’s gowns. Whether or not it was intentional, there’s symbolic value here: In some scenes, Linda Gray’s dress looked black, which is fitting when you consider what a dark day this turned out to be for Sue Ellen. In that spirit, Jordana Brewster’s black-and-white dress — which featured all that cool embroidery — was the ideal choice for Elena, a good woman who has gotten in touch with her bad side this season.

I wish “Lifting the Veil” had given us more wedding scenes like the one above, which shows the Ewing women and Audrey Landers’ Afton Cooper (va-va-voom!) waiting for the missing groom to show up. Besides being artfully composed, this wide shot allowed us to see everyone’s outfit from head to toe. On the other hand: There were also some nifty looks in the scenes that took place outside the big event, including the work-of-art tunic Brenda Strong wore when Sue Ellen told Ann that their children are sleeping together, as well as Judith Light’s big-as-Texas hair in the episode-ending revelation that Mother Ryland is a madam. (Speaking of hair: Yes, that was “Dallas” hair stylist Charles Yusko playing the hairdresser who fixed Ann’s tresses in one of the pre-wedding scenes.)

Make no mistake: “Dallas” fans are going to remember “Lifting the Veil” when the Emmy nominations are announced later this year. If we don’t hear our favorite show’s name mentioned when the wardrobe, hair and makeup categories are announced, we’re going to riot — and I’ll be the one leading the charge.

What were your favorite looks in “Lifting the Veil”? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and read more “Dallas Styles.”

TNT’s Dallas Styles: ‘Playing Chicken’

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, Jesse Metcalfe, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Linda Gray, Playing Chicken, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

There were a lot of classic looks in “Playing Chicken,” TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode, including the long-sleeved blue dress that Linda Gray wore during Sue Ellen’s memorable lunch with Bum. Gray looks great no matter what you dress her in, but blue has always been one of her best colors. I also love how Sue Ellen’s blue-and-green dangly earrings complemented the dress. It was kind of hard to see them when the scene began, but as Sue Ellen and Bum’s conversation progressed — and it became clear she was playing him like a fiddle — the earrings seemed to reveal themselves more. They became an effective symbol for her below-the-radar manipulation of poor, well-meaning Bum.

The guys sported timeless looks in “Playing Chicken” too. John Ross spent much of this episode in western garb, including the dark blue denim shirt he wore in the scene where he learned about the plight of the lesser prairie chicken. It evoked the cowboy-hats-and-jeans getups that Josh Henderson sported during “Dallas’s” first season. I also loved the white shirt and khakis that Jesse Metcalfe wore in Christopher’s scenes in Mexico. The outfit was stylish yet practical; if I had to go sleuthing around the hot, dusty streets of Nuevo Laredo, this is probably what I’d wear.

Of course, “Playing Chicken” will probably be remembered for all the revealing outfits. No one showed more skin than Emma Bell’s Emma Ryland, who strutted around Southfork in that tangerine “monokini.” Like Sue Ellen’s earrings, the swimsuit can be seen as a symbol since it helped expose Emma’s determination to undermine John Ross and Pamela’s marriage. (By the way, in response to all the inquiries from fans, costume designer Rachel Sage Kunin tweeted the bathing suit came from Sauvage Swimwear.)

And then there were the dueling emerald green corsets worn by Bell and Julie Gonzalo’s Pamela Barnes Ewing. Yowza! Not since Sue Ellen dabbled in the lingerie business back in the 1980s have we seen such revealing undergarments on “Dallas.” This wasn’t just an excuse to put Bell and Gonzalo in skimpy underwear, either; now that we know Emma intentionally ruined Pamela’s surprise for John Ross, we have a whole new reason to despise her.

The question is: Who wore it best? I like the way Gonzalo settled this debate when TNT posed the question to viewers at the end of the episode. As Gonzalo tweeted, “Who wore it best?!? SCREW THAT. we BOTH did!”

Darlin’, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

What were your favorite looks in “Playing Chicken”? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and read more “Dallas Styles.”

TNT’s Dallas Styles: ‘Trust Me’

AnnaLynne McCord, Dallas, Harris Ryland, Heather, Juan Pablo Di Pace, Julie Gonzalo, Linda Gray, Mitch Pileggi, Nicolas Trevino, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT, Trust Me

The crowd may have been smaller than in days gone by and no one got dunked in the pool, but there’s one area where this week’s Ewing Barbecue lived up to tradition: the clothing. The Southfork shindigs on the original “Dallas” always allowed the characters to dress a little more playfully than usual, and so did the barbecue in “Trust Me,” TNT’s latest episode.

My favorite look belonged to Linda Gray, who sported a nifty brown cowgirl hat that brought back memories of the hats Sue Ellen wore to the Southfork hoedowns of the 1980s. I also couldn’t help but smile when AnnaLynne McCord’s character, Heather, showed up at the party in that beautiful white dress; it reminded me of the simple, elegant dress Pam Ewing sported at “Dallas’s” first barbecue in 1978. I also loved how costume designer Rachel Sage Kunin paired Heather’s dress with weathered cowgirl boots; it was an ideal combination for McCord’s tomboyish character.

Juan Pablo Di Pace was the best-dressed man at the barbecue (although Jesse Metcalfe was a close second in that dark blue denim shirt). Nicolas, an out-of-town Latin American businessman, came to the party dressed just like we would expect him to: Instead of western garb, he wore a light-colored sport coat and trousers and an open-collared white shirt that strategically showcased the St. Christopher’s medal that’s so important to the character. I also loved Pamela’s blue blouse and dark pants and boots — and how gorgeous did Julie Gonzalo’s hair look under that Southfork sunshine? (Kudos, Charles Yusko!)

My other favorite wardrobe selection from “Trust Me”: the purple shirt Mitch Pileggi wore in the scene where Harris pulled a gun on Judith. Only Pileggi could make a paisley print look badass — and wasn’t it nice to finally see him in something other than the gray T-shirt he’s been wearing since the end of the second season?

What were your favorite looks in “Trust Me”? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and read more “Dallas Styles.”

TNT’s Dallas Styles: ‘The Return’

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Elena Ramos, Jesse Metcalfe, Jordana Brewster, J.R. Ewing, Julie Gonzalo, Linda Gray, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, TNT

“Dallas’s” third-season opener, “The Return,” brought the Ewings back in style. My favorite look: the obi-belted color-block dress that Linda Gray wore in three scenes, including the family’s Arctic drilling strategy session inside the Ewing Global boardroom. Costume designer Rachel Sage Kunin created the dress, which evokes the ’70s chic looks that Sue Ellen sported during “Dallas’s” earliest years. What could be better for Gray, who hasn’t aged a day since then?

I also love the sleeveless, blue-and-black dress that Julie Gonzalo rocks in one of Pamela’s boardroom appearances, as well as Jordana Brewster’s dark-frame eyeglasses. Elena is hiding her true intentions from the Ewings, so why not complete the deception by hiding behind those sexy/smart spectacles? Speaking of cover-ups: Who doesn’t love Jesse Metcalfe’s beard? Even “Dallas” fans who prefer their men clean-shaven tell me they find Christopher’s scruff irresistible.

And then there’s J.R.’s belt buckle, which John Ross received in “The Return’s” most touching scene. I like this accessory because it helps keep alive Larry Hagman’s memory, but it also puts the audience on notice: We better all buckle up, because “Dallas” is going to take us on another wild ride this year.

What were your favorite looks in “The Return”? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and read more “Dallas Styles.”

Dallas Styles: 7 Iconic Looks from Sue Ellen Ewing

Dallas, Linda Gray, Revelations, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

She’s got the look

Sue Ellen WeekIn true “Dallas” style, Dallas Decoder’s recent Sue Ellen Week ended with a bit of a cliffhanger. Here at last is the final chapter, in which the wonderful Linda Gray joins me to discuss seven iconic looks she wore as Sue Ellen Ewing.

 

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, Who Done It?, Who Shot J.R.?

1. The Black and White Dress (1980)

Chris: This is the dress Sue Ellen wore when she was arrested for shooting J.R., and to me, it’s her most iconic look of all. Only Sue Ellen Ewing could make “prison stripes” look this fashionable.

Linda: That dress was an accident. We didn’t know that it was going to be the dress she would eventually wear to jail! I thought it was a little too “on the nose,” but as you said, it ended up being an iconic look that the fans just loved.

 

Dallas, Dusty Farlow, Jared Martin, Linda Gray, Lover Come Back, Sue Ellen Ewing

2. The Fur Coat (1981)

Chris: Here’s the coat Sue Ellen wears when she discovers Dusty Farlow is still alive. I remember watching this scene when I was a kid and thinking you were the most glamorous woman I’d ever seen.

Linda: I loved that coat and it was perfect for the scene. Soft and feminine. Remember, that was the 80’s and there was not a focus on not wearing fur as it is now. I don’t wear fur … but Sue Ellen would!

 

Changing of the Guard, Dallas, Goodbye Cliff Barnes, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

3. The Short Hair (1982)

Chris: When the 1981-82 season ends, Sue Ellen is at Cliff’s hospital bedside and your hair is long and flowing onto your shoulders. The 1982-83 season opens later that day with Sue Ellen leaving the hospital — and suddenly your hair is short!

Linda: I loved the haircut. I remember clearly going to [hairstylist] José Eber and telling him that I was tired of clips in my hair, ponytails and the hair constantly sticking to my lip gloss. He said, “Dahling, let’s create a new look!” He did. I loved it … and the producers hated it. Oops! Thank God all the fashion people loved it and we received several awards from hair magazines and fashion magazines as being one of the best coiffeurs in the 80’s!

 

Dallas, Dusty Farlow, Family Ewing, Jared Martin, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Rock Bottom, Sue Ellen Ewing

4. The Funeral Outfit (1985)

Chris: When Bobby’s funeral begins, Sue Ellen looks amazing in that hat, but by the end of the day, she’s come unraveled — literally and figuratively. She even loses that rock she wears on her finger.

Linda: Well, yes! She does look glamorous in that Valentino outfit, but as you said, she quickly unravels! It broke my heart when they literally tore the skirt I was wearing for the scene. They actually had to buy two Valentino skirts so it broke my heart that they had to ruin one! That show was when I first met Lou Diamond Phillips. He played one of the pimps on the street as Sue Ellen was walking aimlessly around having lost her ring!

 

Dallas, Linda Gray, Martha Scott, Pam Ewing, Patricia Shepard, Sue Ellen Ewing, Victoria Principal

5. The Oil Baron’s Ball Gown (1985)

Chris: This is my favorite Sue Ellen gown from the mid-1980’s, when Travilla was the show’s costume designer. You look amazing.

Linda: I loved Bill Travilla. He used to come into my dressing room and sit early in the morning and tell me wonderful stories of the glamorous women of Hollywood that he used to dress. Of course, we all remember the famous shot of Marilyn Monroe in that amazing white halter dress — which he designed — of her standing over the street grate. Talk about iconic. He knew how to dress the female body. He was a genius and designed clothes for the actors that suited their characters and their body type.

 

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

6. The Executive Look (1986)

Chris: This is one of Sue Ellen’s first outfits when she becomes a business executive. I love that sassy expression.

Linda: I remember it clearly. I like that sassy expression too. It’s so funny because in all of these pictures I can “feel” the fabric! I remember the contrasting patterns being a bit bold back then but we were always trying to push the envelope a bit — or a lot — to give the audience an idea to play more with their wardrobe and become a little more creative.

 

Dallas, Ewings Unite, Gary Ewing, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, Ted Shackelford, TNT

7. Black and White Redux (2013)

Chris: To me, this outfit demonstrates the genius of Rachel Sage Kunin, the new show’s costumer designer. She manages to update Sue Ellen’s look while staying true to the character’s traditions.

Linda: I am honored and so happy to be working with Rachel. She gets it! She is creative, talented, knows her fabric and has gotten every single character dressed perfectly for their role. The other thing that people don’t know is that she dresses everyone on the show. Usually they have a woman wardrobe woman and a person for the men. It’s the first show that I have ever worked on where there is only one person — and I’m so glad that it’s Rachel.

Share your thoughts on Sue Ellen’s looks in the comments section below and read more “Dallas Styles.”

Dallas Styles: Pam’s Perm

Twisty

In “Start the Revolution with Me,” Victoria Principal sports a new hairstyle – a frizzy permanent, one of the fashion fads of the early 1980s.

The look demonstrates how Pam is always ahead of the curve, and it also gives “Dallas” a chance to show how cool Miss Ellie is. She’s the only character to comment on Pam’s new style, telling her, “I love your new hairdo.”

But there’s symbolism in Pam’s do, too. In “Dallas’s” previous episode “Making of a President,” Sue Ellen urges Pam to have an affair with Alex. “Pam, I just want you to protect yourself,” Sue Ellen says. “The Ewing men are all the same. Bobby and J.R. are into the same power trip, and for you to survive, you have two choices: You can either get out, or you can play by their rules.”

Pam seems to resist the advice, but we know she’s really tempted by Alex. This means Pam is becoming more like her morally ambiguous in-laws – particularly Sue Ellen, who has cheated on J.R. with at least three men (Ray, Cliff and Dusty) at this point during “Dallas’s” run.

So is it any wonder Pam shows up in “Start the Revolution with Me” wearing a perm?

Think about it: A “permanent wave,” according to Wikipedia, is created by stretching and softening hair and molding it around the shape of a perm rod. By allowing herself to get close to another man, isn’t Pam doing something similar – stretching the boundaries of matrimony, relaxing her standards, molding herself into the shape of a Ewing? Or maybe Pam just wants Bobby to notice her.

Whatever the case, the perm doesn’t last long – and thankfully, neither does Pam’s flirtation with infidelity.

TNT’s Dallas Styles: John Ross’s Vests

Go vest, young man

During the old “Dallas’s” early years, J.R. often wore vests, symbolizing how he was no one-dimensional villain: The extra layer under his suit jackets reflected his multi-layered personality.

On TNT’s “Dallas,” John Ross wears vests too, but his look seems to carry a different meaning.

Josh Henderson’s character is still coming into his own as an oil baron, which his vests signify. Despite his ambition, he isn’t quite ready for full business suits.

Consider the final scene in “Revelations,” the first season-ending cliffhanger, when a vest-clad John Ross turns to his daddy and says, “You start teaching me the oil business – and you start teaching me every dirty trick that you know.”

Will John Ross be a quick study? And once he learns J.R.’s tricks, will he suit up?

Tune in next season.

TNT’s Dallas Styles: Bobby’s Pajamas

Dead men don’t wear plaid. Right?

In “Family Business,” TNT continues an old “Dallas” tradition: using the Ewings’ sleepwear to telegraph their vulnerabilities.

The practice can be traced to “Spy in the House,” the original show’s third episode, when a sexually neglected Sue Ellen buys a negligee, hoping to arouse J.R.’s interest. Her plan doesn’t work: J.R. calls the nightie “cheap” and storms out of the room, leaving his wife in tears.

In the second-season episode “Survival,” a bathrobe-clad Jock weeps when he learns a plane carrying J.R. and Bobby has crashed. Later, in the third-season episode “Ellie Saves the Day,” Jock and Miss Ellie are both wearing robes when they learn J.R.’s latest oil deal has brought the Ewing empire to the brink of collapse.

And when we encounter a deeply depressed J.R. at the beginning of “Changing of the Guard,” TNT’s first “Dallas” episode, what’s he wearing? You guessed it: a robe and pajamas.

In “Family Business,” Patrick Duffy sports plaid pajamas and what appears to be a dark green robe after Bobby is diagnosed with a life-threatening cerebral aneurysm. The PJs, like the reading glasses perched on Bobby’s nose, remind us our silver-haired hero is entering the twilight of his life – a point Bobby himself makes when he poignantly reminds J.R., “Nobody lives forever.”

But the sleepwear lets us know something else too: Even in pajamas, Patrick Duffy is still dashing.

Dallas Styles: Lucy’s Wedding

Sue Ellen’s dress, part 1

Lucy’s wedding in the fourth-season episode “End of the Road, Part 2,” gives the “Dallas” cast a chance to dress up and show off like never before. No one rises to the occasion quite like Linda Gray, who gets to wear two outfits.

When the ceremony begins, Sue Ellen wears a brownish-gray satin dress with shoulders so wide, it makes Gray look like she’s been wrapped in a king-sized bedspread.

… And part 2

This might be intentional. During the reception, a waiter spills a drink on Sue Ellen, and when she retreats to her bedroom to change, she discovers J.R. has been sleeping with Afton – in the same bed he shares with Sue Ellen.

Old-fashioned girl

Until this point, Sue Ellen has been resisting the charms of her old college boyfriend Clint Ogden, a guest at the wedding who has been shamelessly flirting with her. Once she knows J.R. is cheating on her again – and with her “bedspread dress” stained – Sue Ellen apparently decides she has nothing to lose.

She changes into a much different outfit: a form-fitting pinkish-orange garment with three big white flowers printed on the front.

The u-shaped neckline swoops down across Gray’s chest and leaves her shoulders exposed, making this dress much sleeker and sexier than the bedspread. Sue Ellen seems to be letting the world know she’s available again.

Lucy’s wedding gown is also revealing – figuratively, that is. She gets fitted for the dress in “End of the Road, Part 1,” when we learn Miss Ellie wore the gown during her wedding to Jock a half-century earlier.

This seems appropriate. Lucy is a modern girl in almost every sense of the word, but she harbors some pretty outdated ideas about marriage.

In “Start the Revolution with Me,” a later fourth-season episode, Lucy suggests she’d like to drop out of school so she can become a full-time wife to Mitch. At that point, it becomes clear: Lucy didn’t just inherit a wedding dress from the 1930s; she got a Depression era mentality to go along with it.

Dallas Styles: Purple!

It’s a family thing

Pam is the focus of “Executive Wife,” and in all her scenes, she wears purple. It starts off subtly – in Victoria Principal’s first appearance in this episode, Pam sports a purple belt with a blue pantsuit – but the color becomes more prominent as the story progresses.

Perhaps the purple suggests Pam is emotionally bruised after being rejected by Rebecca in the previous episode, “The Prodigal Mother.” Or maybe it signifies Pam’s romantic state: If purple is produced by blending red with blue, then isn’t it the ideal pigmentation to represent Pam’s heart-versus-head struggle to resist Alex Ward’s temptation in this episode?

The color is frequently seen on other characters during “Dallas’s” fourth season, but “Executive Wife” might be the show’s purplest episode of all. In addition to seeing it on Pam, Sue Ellen wears a purple floral print dress when J.R. takes her ring shopping; Donna wears a purple dress when she and Cliff run into J.R. and Sue Ellen during their shopping spree; and Bobby’s secretary Connie sports a pinkish-purple blouse in “Executive Wife’s” first act.

As if that wasn’t enough, when Mitch and Lucy announce their engagement to the Ewings, she wears a purple dress, while he sports a purple necktie. In Mitch’s case, the color is particularly appropriate. After all, if he survives his entry into the family Ewing, he may well qualify for a purple heart.