The first ever labradoodle wasn’t a designer dog, he was a guide dog

A white labradoodle wearing a leather harness stands in a garden.

Thirty years ago, Wally Conron was asked to breed a non-shedding guide dog. Looking back, he worries that he created a monster.

“I bred the labradoodle for a blind lady whose husband was allergic to dog hair,” he says.

“Why people are breeding them today, I haven’t got a clue.”

In the 1980s, Wally worked as the breeding manager for the Royal Guide Dogs Association of Australia, now known as Guide Dogs Victoria.

Most of the time, that meant breeding Labrador pups. But one day he received a letter from a blind lady in Hawaii whose husband was allergic to long-haired dogs.

“She wanted to know if we could come up with a dog that she could use as a guide dog and her husband wouldn’t be allergic to,” he says.

At the time, Australia and Hawaii had similar quarantine provisions so a partnership had been struck up between Guide Dogs Victoria and Eye of the Pacific, a Hawaii-based organisation for the vision impaired.

Initially, Wally saw the task as fairly straightforward — “the standard poodle would do the job”.

But after trialling 33 different standard poodles, Wally came to the conclusion that the poodle didn’t have the right temperament to be a successful guide dog.

All the while, Wally says he was very aware of the “poor lady sitting in Hawaii with no guide dog”.

So after three years of attempting to find a solution, Wally came up with the idea of a brand new crossbreed —”a dog with the working ability of the Labrador and the coat of the poodle”.

Enter the labradoodle.

The experiment

Firstly Wally needed to find a suitable standard poodle to breed with one of the Guide Dogs Victoria Labrador bitches. He didn’t have to look too far afield.

“Our boss had one, a standard poodle, that as far as I knew it had no hereditary problems, so I used it,” Wally says.

So one afternoon in 1989, Wally brought Brandy, a Labrador bitch, over to John Gosling’s house to meet Harley.

Nine weeks later, Brandy delivered the first known litter of labradoodle pups.

Wally was thrilled, although still slightly apprehensive, unsure if any of the three pups would be suitable guide dogs.

“It was great, but I still had worries. Were they non-allergic? Were they going to be suitable?” Wally says.

Coat clippings and saliva from each of the pups were sent to Hawaii for testing and just one of the pups came back compatible.

That pup was named Sultan.

Temperamentally, Sultan was considered the best of the three labradoodle pups, so Wally says he was trained up and sent off to Hawaii to begin work as the world’s first labradoodle guide dog.

A gimmick that caught on

With Sultan in Hawaii, Wally says he still had two other labradoodle pups that would make great guide dogs — except no-one wanted them.

Despite a six-month wait for a Labrador guide dog, Wally says not one family was willing to take one of the Labrador crosses.

Out of sheer frustration, Wally went to the Guide Dogs Victoria PR department.

“I said ‘can you get onto the media and tell them that we’ve bred a special breed? A breed called the labradoodle — it’s non-allergenic’,” Wally says.

So it was then that the name labradoodle was invented: a desperate attempt to get guide dog clients on board with this new crossbreed.

And quickly it became apparent that the demand for the labradoodle went well beyond the vision impaired community. Guide Dogs Victoria became inundated with labradoodle enquiries from all over the world.

“I could not visualise the publicity that a crossbred dog would get,” Wally says.

“Cars would stop and people would get out of the car and say to me, ‘excuse me what sort of dog is that?’ I’d say ‘it’s a labradoodle!'”

The reason the labradoodle took off was fairly straightforward, according to Jessica Hekman from the Broad Institute in Boston, who researches dog behaviour and genetics.

“A lot of the way that we think about dogs is the story that we can tell about the dogs that we’ve got,” Dr Hekman explains.

“Having the story, ‘well this dog is just a mix of a couple of different things’ — it didn’t used to be a good story.

“So when you start attaching cool names, then it starts turning into a new, cool story.”

The regret

It was amongst the media hype that Wally says his feelings about the labradoodle began to change.

“I realised what I had done within a matter of days.”

As a professional dog breeder, Wally says his biggest concern was always about breeding the healthiest pups, but he believes that didn’t end up being the case for a lot of labradoodle breeders “who got on the bandwagon”.

“I realised the reason for these unethical, ruthless people [was] to breed these dogs and sell them for big bucks,” Wally says.

The popularity of the labradoodle was overwhelming and Wally became increasingly concerned about the quality of the breeding process being adopted. Thirty years on it still haunts him.

“I opened a Pandora’s box and released a Frankenstein’s monster,” he says.

“When I’m out and I see these labradoodles I can’t help myself, I go over them in my mind.

“I find that the biggest majority are either crazy or have a hereditary problem. I do see some damn nice labradoodles but they’re few and far between.”

But not everyone shares Wally’s regret.

John was equally as surprised by the uptake of the breed but saw it as a positive turn of events.

“We could never have thought it was going to become so prolific,” he says.

“Our thinking was particularly toward guide dogs and vision-impaired people who had a difficulty with an allergy, but it’s gone way beyond that.

“It’s actually turned out to be something, in my opinion, quite fantastic.

“I don’t have regrets at all.”

Dr Hekman says labradoodles are just one of many dog breeds with runaway popularity.

“My feeling is while there are certainly a fair number of people crossing poodles to anything and everything — and maybe not always in the wisest way — there were always people out there trying to meet the insatiable demand that we have for dogs,” she says.

The labradoodle legacy

Even though Wally still regrets creating the labradoodle, his science experiment back in the late 80s led to numerous successful labradoodle guide dogs, as well as kickstarting the entire “oodle” trend.

The origins of the cavoodle, groodle, jackapoo, schnoodle, golden doodle (the list of poodle crosses really is endless) all stemmed back to the birth of Sultan and his labradoodle siblings.

Additionally, the original labradoodle guide dog, Sultan, served as a highly regarded guide dog — so much so that when he was due for retirement his owner struggled to decide who should adopt him.

“The challenge that the client had was that there were so many people who knew Sultan, they all wanted him when he retired,” John says.

John had ongoing contact with Sultan, doing annual check-ups in Hawaii. So when it came time to retire, Sultan’s owner approached John and asked if he would like this highly sought-after dog.

Sultan was flown from Hawaii to Melbourne and spent the last three years of his life with John.

“He came to work with me back at Guide Dogs Victoria where he started,” John says.

And then when Sultan died it only made sense to bury him in John’s backyard alongside his standard poodle dad, Harley.

Now in the backyard of this suburban Melbourne home just between the hills hoist and the boundary fence, rests the origins of the labradoodle.

Hovering over two large stones that mark the dogs’ graves, John reflects on Harley and Sultan’s life contributions.

“You were here for a reason,” John says, as if speaking directly to the dogs. “It was a reason for many people to have good guide dogs.

“You did what you had to do and you did your best at that.”


So you want to be a designer? Here’s how one of the greats will make it happen

The Alessi Design Awards are here — and things just got even more exciting.

A fledgling designer can look to many places for inspiration. From a book or the pages of a magazine such as Vogue Living, learning the tips and tricks of the trade are all part of the journey into becoming an established, career designer. But, like in every industry, there’s nothing better than learning on the job — or from the people who know best.

Alessi’s annual Design Awards, which have seen the iconic Italian brand partner with Vogue Living yet again for the ultimate up-and-coming Australian design award, could see that dream become a reality. With two categories, Emerging Designer and Established Designer, the award fosters talent from all corners of the Australian design industry, with the two finalists of the Emerging Designer award winning the opportunity to travel to Milan to present their big idea to the in-house team.

Now, excitingly, a living legend and design icon has joined the judging panel. French designer Philippe Starck has been announced as one of the judges for the Alessi Design Award, and will be personally involved in selecting the final winner. A known figurehead in the industry, Starck’s prowess as an architect and industrial, furniture and lighting designer has seen him work with a slew of much-lauded brands, including Alessi, throughout his impressive career.

Known within the Alessi family for his unique take on the classic citrus squeezer, Starck designed the ‘Juicy Salif’ in the 1990s as part of the Project Solferino, a working group between Alessi and Francois Burkhardt from the Centre de Creation Industrielle at the Beabourg in Paris. The design was functional and controversial all at the same time, transforming the humble juicer into a staple design object — and becoming one of Alessi’s best-selling products of the era. “He is a living example of my dream: design, real design, is always highly charged with innovation towards the word of manufacturing trade, bringing results that need no longer be justified solely on a technological or balance sheet level,” said Alberto Alessi himself said of Starck’s genius.

Starck is among an impressive list of designers who have collaborated with Alessi over the years, including Patricia Urquiola, Adam Goodrum and Marc Newson.


The 5 worst shoes for your feet that *aren’t* high heels, according to a podiatrist

I used to wear heels almost every day, until things like bills and meal prep and burnout became my real life. And while I’ve always known that heels are among the worst shoes for your feet (something to save for very special occasions), apparently there are a few less obvious choices that podiatrists don’t recommend either.

a person standing in front of a brick wall: worst shoes for your feet

For the sake of your feet, Miguel Cunha, DPM, founder of Gotham Footcare, would like you to stay away from five specific shoe styles. What better way to usher in Sad Girl Fall (is that what we’re calling it?) than with a list of things you can’t have? It’s a mood.

The worst shoes for your feet, according to a foot doctor

1. Slides

Dr. Cunha says to avoid slide shoes that are completely flat, because they don’t give your feet any support and can lead to “pronation and collapse of the arch”—which can lead to other bad things like shin splints, knee pain, and back pain. If you do wear a slide, he recommends choosing one with a wedge that’s 3/4-inch tall because it will place less tension on your Achilles heel.

2. Sock sneakers

TBH I am not mad to see sock sneakers make this list, because I am not a fan. Basically, sock sneakers may feel super comfy but, according to Dr. Cunha, “they are not advisable shoes because they provide no support to the top and outside of your foot which can easily lead to an ankle sprain.”

3. Slingback flats

“This shoe is an upgrade from a slide shoe only because it has a sling back that adds some support to the ankle,” Dr. Cunha says. “Shoes with ankle straps help support the shoe on the foot and eliminates the need for your toes to hang onto the shoe thus reducing the development of hammertoes.” Sounds good, right? Wrong. While marginally better than a slide, slingback flats are also, well, flat which can lead to the same arch issues.

4. Western cowboy boots

“This is not the natural shape of the foot so the big toe is going to exacerbate a bunion, cause hammertoes and irritate neuromas,” Dr. Cunha says. You may be thinking, How can I keep my Free People-catalog aesthetic without my cowboy boots? (No? Just me?) Dr. Cunha says to choose a pair of cowboy boots with a square or wide toe box.

5. Ankle boots with stilettos

“The higher the heel, the shorter strides, which means more pressure is placed on the balls of your feet. This throws off your center of gravity putting unneeded and unnecessary stress on your knees and lower back,” according to Dr. Cunha. (You can also file this under “advice I plan to ignore even though I know I shouldn’t,” a frequent theme of my life.) Ankle boots with chunky heels are fine, though, so long as they aren’t over 1.5 inches.

a person in a blue shirt: After a long day exploring a new city or a strenuous sweat session at the gym, you can pretty much expect your feet to feel like they're on fire when you finally get a chance to sit down. However, if you're at a desk at work all day and somehow still find yourself dealing with aching feet, there could be bigger issues brewing—ones that may even require a podiatrist appointment to sort out. If your feet are aching on a regular basis, keep reading to learn about some of the most common causes of foot pain. And for more medical mysteries explained, This Is What Your Chest Pains Really Mean.

These $150 slip-on shoes can be customized to fit your feet – my left foot is wider than my right, so I was able to get a custom fit without needing to size up

kizik life

I love slip-on shoes because they’re so convenient to wear.

I can throw them on when I want to get somewhere quickly, and slip them off easily when visiting a “shoes-off” household. And I’m not ashamed to say that I’ll occasionally pop them off in a movie theater or while driving, or anywhere else where I’m sitting for long periods of time and want to let the “dogs” breathe.

The problem with a lot of slip-on shoes is that they aren’t very fashionable. It’s like designers decided that their shoes couldn’t be convenient and attractive at the same time. Fortunately, footwear startup Kizik offers sneakers that look good, provide a custom fit for your feet, and be taken on and off without using your hands.

I tried the Boston and New York styles, and both looked great and were customizable to my feet

I tested out two styles of Kizik sneakers – the $160 Boston and the $150 New York. The Boston Sneaker comes in 11 different sizes ranging from 8 to 14, and there are three colors – Black, Date Tan, and Castle, which is a gray shade. The New York Sneaker comes in the same sizes and colors, but there are also White and Coffee colors.

When I opened the boxes, I was hit with a couple of odors. First, there was the pleasant new leather scent from the full-grain leather upper. However, the soles had a chemical stench to them when I brought them close to my nose. This dissipated over time.

I wear a size 15 shoe in most brands, but I’ve grown used to squeezing into 14s when that’s all that’s available. So I tried out the 14s in the date color for both styles and found they actually fit perfectly; a 15 would not have fit as well.

I tried the Boston Sneaker first. My left foot slid in comfortably, but it was a tighter squeeze for my right foot – it happens to be wider than my left. Fortunately, I was able to adjust the tongue to provide more room. At first, the shoes were slightly uncomfortable and stiff, but after about 10 minutes of walking around in them, they started to feel better. The New York Sneaker seemed to fit better from the get-go. It felt like it had more support for my medium arch. I didn’t need to adjust the tongue at all.

I have a medium arch and found the shoes provided excellent arch support. A cool feature of the shoes is the adjustable Velcro strips on either side of the tongue. If your foot feels too loose around the bridge, you can just lower the tongue on each side and tighten the Velcro. If too tight, raise the tongue and loosen the Velcro.

Neither of the styles have laces, but they each have a series of four elastic bands along the tongue where laces usually are so it looks like you’re wearing lace-up shoes.

kizik nyKizik/InstagramThe Kizik Boston, $160

The titanium wire spring in the heel doesn’t fold down when I slip my feet into the shoes

As I mentioned, I love slip-on shoes. For the past decade, my shoe of choice has been the $79.95 Merrell Men’s Jungle Moc. Though it’s incredibly comfortable, versatile, and durable, it’s not much to look at. I feel like they give the impression that I’m either lazy or don’t know how to tie my shoes, but can assure you that I know how to do.

The Kizik shoes are comfortable, easy to slip on, and look great. Though appearance is a matter of preference, I like the look of the Boston Sneakers more, but the New York Sneakers felt better on my feet, especially during long walks. Both pairs garnered compliments from friends.

The shoes are also truly hands-free. Thanks to a titanium spring wire built into the heel, you can really just slide your foot into the shoe without needing to use your hands to hold the back of the heel up – it’ll spring back into position if your heel pushes it down a little. I never had an issue with the heel folding in or staying scrunched down.

Though the shoes were a little stiff at first, they have a contoured footbed that provided the right balance of comfort and support for long days on my feet. And I didn’t notice any pain after wearing the shoes for longer periods either.

My only complaint is that the shoes aren’t waterproof. I’m used to footwear that keeps my feet dry in the rain. I like to go for walks in all kinds of weather, and I found that water would seep through in when I wore my Kiziks. On the plus side, they do breathe well, so I haven’t developed any foot odors in the shoes yet.

The shoes start at $150 so they’re not cheap, but reasonably priced for something that looks and fits great, and can be customized for your feet

kizik carKizik/InstagramThe Kizik New York, $150

The Kizik sneakers are among the best shoes I’ve worn. At $150, they’re not cheap, but the price is not unreasonable, for a shoe that demonstrates your individuality and practicality. The fact that you can move the tongue around to ensure a custom fit is a nice option if you have trouble finding footwear for a perfect Goldilocks fit.

Personally, I think the Boston Sneakers look better in the Date color. But if I had the opportunity to choose the shoes all over again, I would get a pair of the New York sneakers in Castle because the shoes felt better to me, and I like the gray color. If you’re concerned about having footwear that matches your wardrobe, then black is your best bet since it can go with just about anything.

Overall, I strongly recommend the Kizik sneakers if you want comfortable and convenient slip-ons that are appropriate for any occasion.

Buy the Kizik Design Men’s Boston Sneakers from Zappos, Nordstrom, and Amazon for $160

Buy the Kizik Design Men’s New York Sneakers from Zappos, Nordstrom, and Amazon for $150

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Find all the best offers at our Coupons page.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at [email protected]


‘GLOW’ Costume Designer on Creating Bridesmaids Leotards, Borrowing a Bob Mackie Original

Beth Morgan photographed by Dan Doperalski at the PMC Studio in Los Angeles for Variety on July 23, 2019

Beth Morgan received her first Emmy nom for the first television show on which she ever worked, “Deadwood.” Now, she is nominated in the period costumes category again for the costume design of Netflix’s “GLOW.” Morgan is up for the second season finale “Every Potato Has a Receipt,” in which she got the chance to create a full set of bridesmaids leotards for a special stunt in the 1980s wrestling comedy. But not to be outdone, she worked hard to top herself in Season 3, when the characters went on the road to Vegas.

In the second season, the female wrestling troupe becomes much more comfortable in the ring and the actresses perform more complicated stunts. How did that kind of wear and tear affect the amount of doubles of costumes you needed?

It didn’t affect it as much as some shows because we don’t have stunt doubles. Really we have a double for an emergency, but the girls really wear their one. The wear and tear on them has not been extreme. We were fortunate in all of the fabrics we chose in the beginning; they can stand the test of time. What does change is the girls’ bodies. In the reality of our show, and in life, as you’re getting better at something and training more and more, your body is more physically fit, so some of the costumes were tweaked a little bit for that.

What is something about the way the costumes are made that you think no one thinks about when they watch the show?

The Zoya costume gets the most beat up because I was insistent that she had the belt. A lot of things about “GLOW” and the ’80s is about the silhouette and it being simple, so a lot of them are very simple leotards — especially in the ring because you have to make sure they can be safe. Everyone except Zoya wears Capezios. But we had to make sure they could grab each other — the wrestling is about interacting closely with each other and making sure you’re a good partner, so what fabrics were too slick, that when they go to grab to turn them around, they can’t get the right grip. All of that had to come into play. Also, we have to think about everybody’s ring looks and their entrance looks. We don’t always see everybody enter, but what is that — because wrestling is about showmanship, but these girls are gritty and they don’t have any money, so they’re putting these things together themselves. So it’s about what found objects can they use? We wanted it to be realistic that they could put this together, so when we were picking fabrics, it was about what would they be able to get and augmented? Season 2 was kind of a leftover from Season 1, but we wanted them to be iconic looks.

Speaking more to that realism, then if something does start to fray, do you leave it, rather than rush to make a new double?

We leave it. Because we’re shooting in chronological order, if somebody would have busted a seam, we would have it look liked it’s hand-stitched up. Carly [Mensch], one of our showrunners, would be so happy if we had a busted seam; she loves stuff like that! And people always notice that we do a lot of repeating — because I wear three pairs of jeans, and I feel like that’s the one thing that TV makes not as realistic. These people, especially in Season 2, have a small amount of money to spend. Rhonda is living in her car; she wouldn’t have this copious amount of wardrobe. And they’re wearing the same wrestling things. So I wanted it to feel realistic and organic. And some people who would have a lot of clothes, like Melrose has a trust fund and Debbie has divorcee money, we do a little more with.

Something really big and new in the second season was in the finale episode, for which you are nominated, when you made bridesmaids leotards and a wedding dress.

That is actually why I entered this episode. In my career, it was my favorite creative collaborative experience to date.

So how did the design come about?

Originally it was going to be that the girls were in their “GLOW” costumes for the wedding, and I was like, “Can I pitch something?” It was my own doing, but we didn’t have a lot of time. My sketch artist and I started working on Rhonda’s wedding dress, but we didn’t know what was going to happen — was she going to have to wrestle? So I decided to make the tearaway leotard. And then we sketched all the girls in the leotards — the pink side and the gold side. I went and pitched that because I knew they wanted “GLOW” costumes, but I thought there was something about the girls being on this journey, and being a bridesmaid for a person is really a symbol of showing up for them, no matter what. And that’s what I wanted to show for the girls, but I just thought it translated better in something new. And bridesmaids dresses in the ’80s were insane, and there’s something about being in an iconic part of each decade that weddings does, and we were going to get that opportunity only once, so I was like, “We need to do the big ruffle and the headpieces and all that.” It was really a time when it showcased how supportive the whole creative process is there.

How functional did the wedding looks have to be, knowing they would start wrestling around the ceremony? 

I was adamant I wanted the ruffles to be off the shoulder for the ceremony, but then they would pull them up when they go to the Battle Royale. But the functionality of building a garment that’s off the shoulders is very different than on the shoulders because of the fit. And we have many different body types in the same look, which is the beauty of bridesmaids dresses: How do you make 15 women look good in the same thing? Who gets what color? Originally it was going to be the good girls in pink and the bad girls in gold, but it didn’t quite work out that way because of how they were walking down the aisles. But then we also had to double the fabric and get cups because we have a nipple issue in general because it’s cold. We love nipples, but we don’t want to distract!

Do you have to use special fabrics or line the costumes so they stay perfectly in place while the women are moving so vigorously to avoid other wardrobe malfunctions?

We’ve had no wardrobe malfunctions. There’s not a lot of coverage, and every once in awhile I will watch something like, “When is there going to be a slip?” We are so lucky; we’ve never had anything pop out. Season 1 we used this Bikini Bite and these different things to keep the wedgies in place, but as we were watching it — and as you watch ’80s wrestling and aerobics — wedgies were such a part of it. So we stopped. We really only used it for the fantasy match in Season 1, Episode 1. We used it and then we stopped, and it’s a wing and a prayer, and that speaks to how perfectly fit how all of those leotards are that we’ve had no slips.

Going back to the philosophy of reusing certain looks, how did those bridesmaids’ leotards end up in Season 3?

I didn’t make them specifically to reuse them. I had specifically said to my assistant, “Don’t worry, they’re only going to wear these once.” Because they were such an engineering feat — they’re delicate costumes to wear — we assumed they would only be in that one episode, but then they loved them so much. They weren’t meant to be worn again, but usually I am thinking of how they can be. Like, in Season 3 now that they have more of a bond and they’re living in the same place, you see them wear each other’s things. It’s that thing that girlfriends do, so I always try to think of, “Oh, this piece would be great on multiple actors.” And when they’re at the pool, well I know for each season I usually have one piece and a backup, so we have to really love the looks because we’re going to see them again and again, and that does inform the idea of signature pieces. Ruth’s jeans with the seam down the front, the minute she tried them on, we knew everyone would know we were repeating because they’re so obvious.

When you end a second season in such a big way, do you feel you need to go bigger the next year to continue to challenge or further inspire yourself?

It’s hard because you have to hope the story lends itself to that. This one, luckily, we go to Vegas, so it’s easy to top [Season 2] because we’re in Vegas and everything is bigger there. I love the storytelling part of what I do, so that’s what always draws me in. One of my favorite jobs was “Key and Peele,” and when it started we had no money and I had a department of me plus two and every day they’d be, like, vikings in the morning and DJs in the afternoon. It was the best training ground, and because I had assisted on “Deadwood” and “John Adams,” these amazing period shows, I was able to take that knowledge and underappreciated genre of variety sketch and make it historically accurate.

Was there one of those big moments in Season 3 that stands out as a favorite?

The Geena Davis Bob Mackie Jubliee outfit. In general Season 3 is like Season 2 on steroids. Everything is bigger: People are in formal wear, we had so many more background fittings, we had so many more changes, the girls had money. Basically it was like the finale every episode. But the Geena Davis moment at the end when they’re at the ball — the writers had gone to Vegas and they got a tour of the Jubilee costumes, and then I got in contact with them and we were able to actually rent them, which has never happened. Bob Mackie is one of the reasons I got into costumes. I’m a “more is more” type of person and when I started, he was the master, and the fact that I got to pay homage was amazing. I added pasties, but we took a Jubilee costume and put it on Geena Davis, and she was game for it, and she looked amazing. I did get to design originals for our Fan-Tan girls with our show in mind, but the Jubilee is a special aesthetic. So we definitely got to have the best of both worlds in Vegas.

Your first Emmy nom was for a period piece, as well. What keeps you coming back to that realm?

I think just because you have perspective. You have research that you’re doing. It’s hard to say today what exactly the forecasting of the future will be — especially working on Netflix when it’s a year to go. But I think you can really develop a character in a different way when you’re doing a period show — because you have all of the information already. You know what the outcome was. So you’re getting to delve deep into the character aspect, and usually you get to make more. You have a little more of a budget, where typically on modern shows you’re doing more shopping, more putting pieces together, and you don’t have the budget or freedom to create your own things. It depends on the show, obviously, but for me, I love that we can create so many original pieces and delve deep into what was happening in the time period, what was going to happen, what happened already, and how that informed the characters at the time.

What are the quintessential colors, design aesthetics and style pieces that you try to infuse in all your jobs, no matter the time period?

I have an insane love for vintage belts, and I feel like it’s something that’s an insane hole in the market. I always use vintage belts on any show I’m doing, and I feel like it really becomes my favorite thing that ties everything together. But it’s hard to say that there’s something quintessentially me because I want to be here to serve the characters, so of course my stamp is on it — it can’t not be — but it’s about thinking with the character’s brain: What about these characters, when they went in their closet, would they pick this particular outfit in this particular moment?


Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams Dazzle at a Screening for After the Wedding

Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams Attend a Screening for After the Wedding

In the new drama After the Wedding, Isabel (Michelle Williams) is the manager of an orphanage on the verge of bankruptcy in Kolkata, India. So she travels to New York to meet Theresa (Julianne Moore), a benefactor who could solve all her financial woes but who may be harboring ulterior motives. To reveal anything further would take away from the twists and turns the film piles on after Theresa brings Isabel to her daughter’s wedding—an invitation that sets off a chain of events that will change their lives forever.

Though it’s not a particularly cheery premise, the stars at the center of the family drama were thankfully all smiles on Tuesday night when the Cinema Society and Chopard hosted a screening for the film. Wearing a chic Givenchy dress, Moore especially had reason to celebrate as the film represents her fourth collaboration with her husband, director Bart Freundlich.

“We’ve really only ever worked together when there’s been a part for me, and when Bart started to adapt this, it was clearly was something I was really interested in,” Moore said. “We’re great partners, and we’re producing partners on this movie too, so it’s the first time we actually worked on something from the very beginning to the end together.”

As both star and producer, Moore was involved in nearly every aspect of the production, including finding the right costar who could bring the necessary emotional intensity to the material. Moore says Williams was an obvious choice, and she emailed the actor directly to offer her the role.

“I mean, when Julianne Moore sends you an email, you pay attention!” Williams said.

While the biggest thrill of After the Wedding is seeing Williams and Moore, two of the greatest living actresses, deliver unstoppable performances, they give their costar Billy Crudup just as much room to shine as Oscar, Theresa’s artist husband. The film served as a reunion for the actor and director, who’ve remained friends since Freundlich first directed Crudup in 2001’s World Traveler.

“Bart was talking about this script he was working on, and needless to say, as an actor, you’re always like, ‘Is there a part in there for Ol’ Bill?’ ” Crudup joked. “I read the script and couldn’t quite find my way into the character, but after having a conversation with Bart and then seeing the movie on which it’s based, it became clear he was trying to tell a subtle, nuanced family drama.”

After the screening the after-party kicked off at the Crown, the chic rooftop bar in Hotel 50 Bowery. The DJ kept spirits high with a pop-heavy playlist before Abby Quinn, who plays Moore’s daughter in the film, performed a brief set including covers of “Sea of Love” and “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” Backlit by a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline, Moore and Freundlich made the rounds, eager to hear everyone’s thoughts on the film.

After the Wedding was an especially personal project for Moore, who has made it her mission to bring dynamic and layered female characters to the screen. “It’s really wonderful to see these two self-actualized, self-created women in sort of a struggle for dominance,” Moore said. “You don’t see that in movies very often, especially when it’s between two women and not centered around a man!”