Madly Marvelous: The Costumes Of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel by Donna Zakowska

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel has long been on the list of shows I’d watch if I had more time in my life, so I was immensely grateful to receive this book so I could make the time to watch at least the pilot episode.

Even as someone unfamiliar with the show, I’ve long been a fan of the costuming: when Bergdorf Goodman had the coat sale inspired by the show, I was sorely tempted, even though my signature winter coat is Arsene Wenger’s full-length puffy Arsenal jacket, lol. And while I do tend to the practical when it comes to dressing, I do have a weakness for materials that flow and for bright colors and patterns: 100% a result of my Malaysian upbringing and my very elegant mother. Who, like the titular Mrs Maisel’s mother, is also named Rose!

So what an absolute joy this book was for me, especially once I’d familiarized myself with the basics of the show by watching the pilot and getting a feel for not only the characters but also the general aesthetic. Even before delving into the nitty gritty of this lovely volume, I was dead impressed by the care taken in the show to stick to the 1950s’ New York vibe. The costuming plays a HUGE part in this, and Donna Zakowska has rightfully won (tho, in my opinion, not enough) awards for her work making sure everyone looks period-appropriate.

And not just period- but also character-appropriate. Tho it isn’t stated explicitly in the pilot, the series’ eponymous heroine Midge Maisel (and, to a lesser but just as obvious extent, her #1 supporter Susie) is the kind of woman who dons clothing like a camouflaging armor. Midge dresses differently for the Upper West Side than she does for Greenwich Village, always looking stylish but never out-of-place. The book delves into why this is, and whisked me away on a magical journey through not only the pilot but also the rest of the episodes of the next few seasons — so you might want to leave this volume for later if you wish to avoid even the mild spoilers included here.

Of course, if you’re already a fan who’s seen all the episodes and are craving a TMMM fix, this is the perfect book for satisfying that, with gorgeous set photos as well as behind the scenes snaps of the actors modeling test pieces. It’s also a great book for anyone with an interest in costume design or fashion, as Ms Zakowska writes wonderfully about her art. And if you, like me and Mrs Maisel, believe that clothes are an expression of your personality, and especially if you love the silhouettes and fabrics of 1950s, then I can’t recommend this gorgeous art book highly enough.

Madly Marvelous: The Costumes Of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel by Donna Zakowska was published today November 30 2021 by Abrams and is available from all good booksellers, including

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