The Hulu show’s Latina costume designer dished on the inspiration behind the looks worn by the star-studded cast.
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Only Murders in the Building drew our attention with its talented actors, had us glued to our TVs with its plot and kept us wanting more with a visual feast of color and fashion.

Dana Covarrubias is the brains behind the costuming on the binge-worthy show and for season two, she found her inspiration in the archives of cinema history.

"I started rewatching classic Hitchcock films, Birds and Rear Window and Vertigo, but I wanted to really do a deep dive. I started watching a little bit of the more obscure ones and I think I watched maybe 30-something films of his," shared the Mexican American designer.

"Things started popping out at me and inspiring me and I was like, 'This is perfect. This should be the inspiration for season two,'" Covarrubias admits.

In an exclusive interview with People Chica, Covarrubias gave us a glimpse into her creative process and how she rose through the ranks of her industry.

Only Murders in the Building
Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

What was your overall vision for the costumes for season two of the show?

My overall vision was based in this world of [Alfred] Hitchcock, which was really exciting. I got word through the grapevine that we might be doing an entire episode that was based on Hitchcock or Hitchcockian themes, and that got me really thinking and really excited. They ended up cutting that, but I just got so excited about it.

Hitchcock plays with a lot of different themes—staircases, grids, shadow, dark, and light and all these kinds of things. I was using both the costumes as inspiration, mostly designed by Edith Head, and also some of the more thematic stuff in his films as inspiration.

Only Murders in the Building
Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

The show features stars from every generation. How do you tie them together as an ensemble through fashion?

In season one, we've established a very cohesive look for the Arconia and our version of the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Because of that, it's sort of clear how to bring everyone together. We mostly do that through palette and some through pattern. Almost everyone's costume has somewhere in it a little bit of a plaid, or like, almost like a men's suiting texture or pattern to it.

It elevates it and makes it feel a little academic or a little refined, a little Upper West Side. We're pretty hardcore about sticking to our color palette. I think just working within those parameters, it very clearly defines the world. And of course, all the amazing coats we always have. Every character we're like, "Okay, what amazing coat can we put this person in?"

Only Murders in the Building
Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

How did you get your start in costuming?

I grew up in San Antonio, Texas, as far away from the industry as you can get, and I was a theater kid. I did performances, but I also loved the costume aspect of it, and I was always mostly excited to get dressed as a character. I also loved the research part of it. That was my favorite—doing image research or learning about whatever world it was that you were creating and the play that you were doing.

I got the bug when I was little, even though my family is not at all in the arts world, and I went to art school for performance. Then a friend of mine asked me to costume design their play, and I did it. And I thought, "This is it. This is where I really belong."

Out of school, I got an internship for a TV show in their costume department, a comedy TV show. I started as an intern and worked my way up. I've probably done every position you can do in the costume department.

It feels like it was an accident, but it's not. I was raised in malls. My mom and dad both had second jobs in the malls, so as a kid, I was always thinking about shopping or looking at stores. I remember running under the racks of clothing and rubbing the fabrics on my face and loving being immersed in fashion.

Dana Covarrubias, Only Murders in the Building
Dana Covarrubias at the Los Angeles premiere of "Only Murders In The Building" Season 2
| Credit: Amy Sussman/Getty Images

What advice do you have for other Latinos who want to get involved in your industry?

I think it's not actually that hard for us because we are already go-getters, it's in our personality. I try to always approach everything with a smile and kindness and just being a normal, nice person. In the world of production, film and television, there's a lot of negative energy. If you're the one person who's smiling, I think that alone brightens up other people's day and can help you out. I think it's helped me out a lot in my career.

The other advice I usually give people is that it's really important to know what to prioritize. Knowing what's important and when is the strongest skill you might have. A lot of positions within the film industry are you being creative, but you're also managing a big team of ten to 20 people, and you're managing a really intense shooting schedule.

I'm part designer, but I'm also part manager and organizer, and I think if you don't have both of those elements, then it doesn't really work out. You have to have that other side of your brain working that is very organized and knows how to sort of be a leader.