Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Fans are obsessed with the candy-colored dresses and coats Midge Maisel wears as she glides through 1950s Manhattan, but her style isn't as effortless as it appears.
A team of about 25 shoppers, seamstresses and dressers led by costumer Donna Zakowska help Midge -- or at least Rachel Brosnahan, the actress who plays The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel -- and those in her orbit achieve their glamorous looks.
"Whatever it is you put out there, whatever it is you design, it has to have appeal. You have to really want to look at it," Zakowska, a native New Yorker, told UPI in a recent phone interview.
The designer said the way a frock fits is essential.
"It can be an overwhelming piece of clothing, but it does not overwhelm the person and that is the art of how you fit these clothes and how when you respond to a character -- whether it's an extra or a principal -- that somehow, when you see them, you believe it."
Zakowska won an Emmy for the garments she whipped up for the 2008 miniseries John Adams. She also dressed the cast of TURN: Washington's Spies from 2014 to 2017 before joining the juggernaut that is The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which returns for a second season on Amazon Wednesday.
The series was created by Gilmore Girls writer-producer Amy Sherman-Palladino and focuses on a pampered and hilarious housewife who discovers she has a talent for stand-up comedy after her husband Joel (played by Michael Zegen) leaves her for another woman.
Alex Borstein plays Midge's manager Susie, while Tony Shalhoub and Marin Hinkle play Midge's parents Abe and Rose. The show also features dozens of actors playing university students, department store employees and factory workers.
"Sometimes, in period things, you really just see the clothes. You don't see the person," Zakowska said. "It's very important to see the person and then everything else follows from that."
The further back in time a project takes place, the fewer images there are to study and draw upon for inspiration. Of course, that also means there are less judgmental people who can still remember firsthand what the fashions of the day looked and felt like.
"When you put an 18th century suit on someone or a dress, people are not going to say, 'Well, I never would have worn it that way,' or, 'That doesn't look right,'" she said.
Most of the exquisitely dressed Maisel extras wear vintage clothing, while the leads wear original pieces.
"That clothing has been designed and built for them," Zakowska said.
Working on the show doesn't make the designer yearn for the tight-waisted dresses, gloves and high-heeled shoes women wore every day in the 1950s. But she isn't entirely keen on how people dress in 2018 either.
"I like the past and I think knowing about it helps you understand things and clothing. I would say, particularly in the case of men, I do wish people made a little bit more of an effort," the designer said.
She gave as an example a recent entertainment industry screening she attended at an upscale theater where most of the men wore baseball caps.
"I was just sort of thinking, 'First of all, we have to deal with your brims, every time you move your head.' But that sort of thing. It would be nice to just be a little more charming in the way you dress," she laughed.
Acknowledging that clothing evolves to suit the lives people live, she said she wished people had more unique and affordable options.
"These large conglomerate businesses have sort of taken over all these stores. Unless people are willing to spend a lot of money, there isn't really that much available to you. That's why vintage is sort of great because mixing in vintage, you can at least have something that not everyone has," she said.
Zakowska is getting ready for Season 3 of the show, which is scheduled begin filming in March.