Year in Review

Through the Decades

18 December 20208 min read

2020 felt like it lasted 100 years, so we’re taking a look at how the behind-the-scenes stars of your favorite Netflix projects brought decades gone by back to life.



Trumpet-player Levee (Chadwick Boseman) rolls into a recording session wearing a brand-new pair of yellow shoes. They are pictured here on a pedestal, just as they deserve.

Trumpet-player Levee (Chadwick Boseman) rolls into a recording session wearing this pair of yellow shoes

Photo by David Lee


“I wanted them to be yellow. In that period, most men had a pair of black shoes and a brown pair. When you went to church, those were the black shoes. The brown shoes were working shoes. But yellow shoes were extraordinary. You had to be a high-stepper to have them.”

—Ann Roth, costume designer

2020 meets 1927 as the crew mill about the set of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

The production team had its work cut out recreating 1927 Chicago

Photo by David Lee


“It’s a complete re-education about what literal materials were invented, like chain link and corrugated concrete, and diving into the details of what makes Chicago, Chicago, from elevated trains to lampposts to trash cans.”

—Mark Ricker, production designer

1930s and 1940s


Gary Oldman as Mank takes what looks to be a very interesting call.

Mank (Gary Oldman) takes a call on a carefully chosen old-fashioned candlestick phone

Photo courtesy of Netflix


“[It’s about] finding the right telephone that doesn’t look like it’s 90 years old — it’s not dinged and chipped and broken and cracked and all that — because in the day, the telephone looked new.”

—Donald Graham Burt, production designer

A sweeping shot of the re-created dining hall at San Simeon, with crew stationed at either side of an enormous table

Production studied up in order to recreate the dining hall at William Randolph Hearst’s palatial estate in San Simeon

Photo courtesy of Netflix


“One book in particular, Hearst Castle Fare, specifically chronicled the dining hall. It had details about gatherings, table arrangements, place settings, furnishings, drink menus, and food menus.”

—Donald Graham Burt, production designer



Between the tiled hospital walls and the actors’ nurse costumes, it’s green overload.

Green hospital interiors are a defining feature of the era and of the series (left to right: Charlie Carver, Judy Davis, Annie Starke, and Sarah Paulson)

Photo courtesy of Netflix


“Green was used a lot in the late 40s as an interior color. We were tying into the reality of the time, but also leaning into the emotional aspects, because it can also be quite an unsettling color.”

—Judy Becker, production designer

Cynthia Nixon and Sarah Paulson both sport a strong red lip in a scene from Ratched

A classic lip comes in many shades, and it was up to the makeup department to find just the right fit for the women of Ratched (Sarah Paulson and Cynthia Nixon)

Photo courtesy of Netflix


“The late 1940s is directly after a war, so it is a period of much optimism, with bright colors and things that are very beautiful. It’s also the lipstick era because lipstick was issued to women with their uniforms when they were enlisted and serving in the armed forces. If they were part of U.S.O.s, they were supposed to wear lipstick because it inspired optimism with the men that were enlisted. So in Ratched, everybody has a very beautiful shade of red lipstick on.” 

—Eryn Krueger Mekash, makeup designer



Did someone ask for more carpeting? 1960s here we come!

The series recreated 1960s America in modern-day Berlin, including this lush Las Vegas Casino set

Photo by Phil Bray


“We walked into one place and said, ‘This is a 60s Las Vegas casino.’ There was just no doubt about it. And then we walked into a gym and said, ‘This is an American high school from the 1960s.’ We started to realize that because Berlin was built in the 1950s, there was just so much Cold War-era architecture.”

—William Horberg, executive producer

Anya Taylor-Joy, as Beth Harmon, wears a pair of blue jeans and a simple white top.

For Anya Taylor-Joy, playing Beth Harmon was about both inner and outer transformation

Photo courtesy of Netflix


“I think what’s fascinating about watching Beth grow up is that she puts on all of these different characters. She’s dressing up like different personas throughout the course of the show. At the very beginning of the story, there’s a push for a more conservative 1950s style. Then she discovers blue jeans and her life changes forever. It was really fun to get to play around with that.”

—Anya Taylor-Joy, lead actress

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Daley Dozers carrying armed men approach from out of the fog.

Recreating the Daley Dozers used for crowd control during the demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic National Convention was an intimidating affair

Rendering courtesy of Netflix


“The Daley Dozers were the military jeeps that were outfitted with barbed wire. And for that we had to acquire five military jeeps from that era that were in the proper drab-green paint color. When all five Daley Dozers are lined up on the bridge, it’s a pretty powerful image.”

—Michael Jortner, property master

Sacha Baron Cohen, as Abbie Hoffman, stands grinning at a mic, wearing an extremely loud American-flag shirt. The sleeves are stripes, the cuffs are stars.

Playing Abbie Hoffman, Sacha Baron Cohen knew his costumes had to make a statement, like with this American-flag shirt

Photo courtesy of Netflix


“Sacha Baron Cohen wanted to make sure that whatever costume he wore had a reference in reality, in history, so we pretty much faithfully recreated things for him. The first time Abbie Hoffman wore that shirt he was charged with desecration of the American flag. Can you imagine?”

—Susan Lyall, costume designer



Chadwick Boseman is dressed in military fatigues and standing in dappled jungle light during one of the film’s flashback sequences

Chadwick Boseman, as Stormin’ Norman, appears in Da 5 Blood’s stylized flashback sequences 

Photo courtesy of Netflix


“It’s similar to the way that you would’ve shot it if you were embedded with the Army in Vietnam in the 60s and 70s. They shot predominantly reversal, or what they called news film, so we’ve gone back to that format. We’re also shooting it in 4:3 aspect ratio, which was the shape that televisions had before our contemporary times. We felt that it was a really evocative way to record the memories: by using a lot of the technology of those days.”

—Newton Thomas Sigel, cinematographer

Looking worn from their characters’ quest, Clarke Peters and Isiah Whitlock Jr. dap in front of stone ruins

Playing Otis and Melvin, Clarke Peters and Isiah Whitlock Jr. dap, a practice that originated amongst Black G.I.s during the Vietnam War

Photo courtesy of Netflix


“It was a very important handshake that showed fraternity, showed togetherness, showed that I have your back and you have mine. It was basically a sign to signify the burgeoning Black Power movement. Black soldiers found themselves fighting two wars: They were fighting for civil rights at home and they were also fighting a very unpopular war against other brown folks abroad. The dap creates an understanding. If you weave it tight enough, you become inseparable from your brother.”

—LaMont Hamilton, cultural advisor



Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret looks chic in this deep-purple get-up.

The costume department procured this vintage Guy Laroche coat for Helena Bonham Carter in her role as Princess Margaret

Photo courtesy of Netflix


“Now that we’ve moved into the 80s, I have been able to buy far more original clothing for this season, seeing as there’s still vintage pieces out there in immaculate condition. One of my favorite buys was an original 80s Guy Laroche coat in such beautiful condition — perfect for Princess Margaret — that I found when rummaging in a junk shop in Paris for a fraction of the price it’s worth.”

—Sidonie Roberts, assistant costume designer and head buyer

Emma Corrin as Princess Diana has a sweep of blonde hair and eyes framed in blue liner. For all the glamour, she looks troubled.

For actress Emma Corrin and The Crown makeup department, trends like blue eyeliner told their own stories about Princess Diana

Photo courtesy of Netflix


“We used beauty makeup trends of the 1980s to age Emma Corrin and to emphasize her emotional narrative. We knew from research, for example, that Diana would apply her iconic blue eyeliner and mascara when she felt vulnerable and targeted.”

—Cate Hall, hair and makeup designer



Haley Bennett as Lindsay Vance wears a blue babydoll dress that stands in contrast to the oversized t-shirt her co-star Glenn Close sports as Mamaw.

Haley Bennett, portraying Lindsay Vance, was styled in babydoll dresses (on her right, co-star Glenn Close)

Photo courtesy of Netflix


“We put Haley Bennett in babydoll dresses, which were popular in the 1990s, and that helped push Lindsay’s story forward. We tried to stay true to Lindsay’s love for Doc Martens, so you will find a beautiful variety of Doc Martens in the film!”

—Virginia Johnson, costume designer

Amy Adams as Bev has messy, red hair and retro bangs

Playing Bev, Amy Adams showed off her 1990s bangs

Photo courtesy of Netflix


“Amy loved to do her own little 90s mall bangs, so I would get the wig all ready and she’d do her thing. That was her treat!”

—Patricia Dehaney, hair department head