EXCLUSIVE: The Costumes of WGN’s “SALEM”

Just like the exterior set that was built from the ground up, the witchy wardrobe for WGN’s “Salem” was no easy task.

“Our corsets are real. There are no zips, no buttons. They’re incredibly restrictive and I don’t feel that elegant in it, because there are so many layers,” Ashley Madekwe (“Tituba”) said.

“It is difficult, because I’m in like three skirts and two corsets, and then I have to act on top of that,” Janet Montgomery (“Mary Sibley”) said.

For a closer look at the costumes, our camera crew went deep into the forest, or at least that’s how it appeared. It was actually an interior set that’s part of a soundstage in downtown Shreveport, LA.

It had been transformed into a wardrobe, displaying some unique and downright disturbing outfits.

“I have a ghoul over here who’s a reoccurring character, made out of human skin. He has everything from ears to real human teeth as buttons,” Porro said. “I wanted faces and hands, backs and highs, and they’ve all been hand sewn together. So that was one of the craziest things I’ve ever made in my career.”

That`s just one of many costumes you`ll find on the set of “Salem.”

“This is one of Mary Sibley’s dresses,” Porro said as we continued our tour of the costumes. “The dress is half silk and half patent leather. And this is Petrus, our alchemist who lives in the forest and blends in. It’s almost like a forest camouflage he wears.”

Porro said the inspiration for many of the costumes came from paintings and photographs from that period, the late 1600’s.

“Then our producers wanted us to have a little fun with the stuff, make it a little sexier, a little more fashionable for modern audiences,” he said.

They may not be the most comfortable outfits, but they`re helping the actors get into character.

“Joseph has done such an incredible job with the costumes, and he’s so period accurate. As much as I might complain about it when I don’t want to put it on at like 6 in the morning, it actually does help my character. I’m a sloucher. I have no choice but to stand up properly,” Montgomery said.

“Salem” premieres Sunday, April 20th at 9 P.M. on WGN America.

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