How SNL Perfectly Recreated Kamala Harris' White Pantsuit With Just Minutes to Spare

The Saturday Night Live costume team revealed how they recreated Vice President Elect Kamala Harris' white ensemble in time for Maya Rudolph to perform the cold open.

By Cydney Contreras Nov 09, 2020 11:09 PMTags
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After more than 30 years on air, Saturday Night Live has accumulated quite the wardrobe, with nearly every piece of clothing one could need.

But even with their massive collection, the show's wardrobe team still scrambled to recreate Vice President Elect Kamala Harris' ensemble from her Saturday night acceptance speech in Delaware. As SNL producer and costume designer Tom Broecker and wardrobe supervisor Dale Richards told PopSugar, their work began around 8:30 p.m., when Kamala took the stage ahead of President Elect Joe Biden in her cream-colored suit by Carolina Herrera.

Tom recalled, "My assistant started capturing screen grabs of everything [Harris] was wearing so we could get all the details right—the shoes, the jewelry, the hair, makeup, blouse, and the suit. By 9 p.m. we had pulled all the 'research' photos together and started looking through our stock to see if there was anything that could work. Every store in the city had been closed for hours. There was no way to shop this look anywhere, except in our back rooms."

They were in luck though, having bought a white suit from a suit supplier the year prior for a skit in which Cecily Strong played Melania Trump.

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However, the suit went unworn, so it was quickly tailored to ensure Maya Rudolph's looked the same as the one sported by Kamala. Tom said of the process, "It would require an incredible amount of work to recut a double-breasted suit into a single-breasted suit, but I work with the most incredible tailors in the world. They put the jacket on Maya's mannequin form in the office and went to work, just like in the movie Cinderella."

NBC; Getty Images

As for the pussy bow blouse, the team fashioned that out of a cream charmeuse fabric that they had laying around. "Eighty minutes later, and four tailors exhausted, Maya did a fitting," Tom shared. "It was perfect and she was ready to go to the stage."

They completed their look with a pair of Jimmy Choo heels and an American flag pin, the latter of which was almost forgotten. The producer recalled how Maya's dresser ran back into the wardrobe room in a hurry to grab the accessory, marveling, "I will say this: Nowhere else in the world could this happen."

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Though the flag pin was just a small detail of the outfit, Tom said it's just as important in creating the character. "I believe fashion is always incredibly important in helping an actor play a character. Whether that character be a real person or an 'invented' character, that actor must rely on costume to help them define their character... [it's] an impossible task for any other place other than Saturday Night Live," he explained, adding, "We have the best people anywhere in the world."

Tom and Dale also stated for the record that they did not have any communication with the Vice President Elect's team prior to her speech. Dale insisted, "Even if we had a contact in Kamala's camp, by the time they told us who designed it, the stores would be closed and it would be way too late to source it."

(E! and NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)

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