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Interview: ‘What We Do in the Shadows’ Costume Designer Laura Montgomery on Introducing Color

Now in its fifth season, What We Do in the Shadows has had audiences in stitches since its premiere in 2019.

Costume designer Laura Montgomery has been there since the beginning, growing alongside the show as it continues to push the envelope creatively. Montgomery began as an assistant costume designer, and even won a Creative Arts Emmy for her work as the lead designer on season 3. Highlights included a not-so-glamourous trip to an Atlantic City casino, as well as an entirely new look for Nandor when he joins a 1980s-inspired wellness center.

Season 4 continued to up the ante, injecting even more color and variety into the horror mockumentary. The greatest challenge came in episode six, “The Wedding”. Montgomery and her team built 50+ costumes for that episode alone, tailoring each to the atypical characters and environments that populate the world of Shadows.

“One of my first go-to’s is always the production designer because our characters exist in the space that they are creating. I need to know what color is the furniture and what color are the walls. So for the wedding, we knew there were going to be a lot of burgundies and golds, so we had to make sure what’s going to be behind the costume.”

Montgomery notes that earlier seasons of the show often strived to incorporate a wide palette of colors, but the darker lighting often turned shades of blue to grey and black in the final cut. As the show has evolved, more expansive colorways have become more viable, and Montgomery has taken full advantage.

“Because it’s a comedy, we can have a little more fun with lightening it up. The amazing, incredible gift that we got in season four was the nightclub. It gave us an excuse to go wild and really do things we probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. It’s a club, so we can do the bright pinks and more electric colors.”

Montgomery also assures fans of the show that the characters do not get rid of their clothes, so Nadja’s iconic pink coat will return in the show’s fifth season, airing now on Hulu. That coat may even make its way onto another character this season as well.

Listen to the full interview to find out who, and to hear Montgomery’s additional thoughts on the collaborative nature of What We Do in the Shadows.


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Written by Cory Stillman

Cory Stillman is a 25-year-old writer with a BA in Film and Media Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and an MA in International Film Business from the University of Exeter. His favorite movies are The Truman Show and Election. He's also obsessed with Planet of the Apes, Survivor, and the Philadelphia Eagles.

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