SoGayTV recently did an episode entitled "My Faggy Job," where they interviewed a variety of gay men who have occupations that are typically seen as being... well, 'faggy.' One of their guests was Patrick Antosh, Costume Designer for Queer As Folk, who showed viewers that what he does for a living is really more of a DREAM job for any designer--gay or straight! Mathieu sat down with Patrick to talk about his job, and we were treated to a video of their day together in the wardrobe department on the set of Queer As Folk!
Mathieu: If there's one thing more gay and fun than being on the set of Queer As Folk, it's being in the dressing room for Queer As Folk.
Patrick: It can be exciting; I think that my job as a Costume Designer, obviously working in clothes is a pretty 'faggy' thing to do. I started in action movies and now I'm doing this and I think it's more of a fag dream job than a big faggy job. I've done it for a year and a half and in the last six months I know everybody in the city in, like, the club scene, drag queens, everybody!
Mathieu: I spent a day with you on the set, we're going to see that, and we're also going to dress our model in one of the sexiest [pairs of] underwear.
[cut to clip of Patrick walking down the hallway at QAF and entering his office; he is greeted by Mathieu at the door.]
Mathieu: Guess what? I'm going to spend the day with you and your big closet today and getting to know about your big faggy job. Do you think you have a big faggy job?
Patrick: Me? [laughs] The best designers in the world are male, and they're not always gay.
Mathieu: Which one is not gay?
Patrick: [smiling] I'll have to get my assistant to look that up.
Mathieu: What does a Costume Designer do?
Patrick: Basically they pick all the clothing and the look for the show. I work in cahoots with the directors and producers - they have a vision. The producers and the writers are the ones who created the initial concept. They hire a crew to surround them that are going to interpret that.
[Mathieu follows Patrick down a hallway filled with shelves of shoes to the main wardrobe room]
Patrick: I'm one of those people and I have my crew that work for me, and we all work together to try to do this. Each episode we bring in a director, so I have to make sure that his new concepts actually coincide with what we've established for the characters already so it gets a little dicey.
Patrick: There [are] a lot of opinions, all being thrown together, and I think the biggest part of being Costume Designer is making sure that all the different people are happy including the actor, but my artistic integrity isn't questioned there, you know. I'm not giving up anything just so I can please these people. I have something I want to do too.
[Patick shows Michelle a shirt that Mel will wear on the show]
Patrick: What do you think of that?
Michelle: Oh cutie-cute!
Patrick: This one is for when you go to Dirty Frieda's or whatever [the lesbian bar].
Michelle: Oh. Can I-
Patrick: [reading her mind] You can wear a tank underneath.
Michelle: [laughing] Can I do like a little wife-beater or tank top?
[voice-over of Mathieu talking to Patrick while Michelle tries on a tank top and jeans]
Mathieu: How can you be inspired by your work day after day and not feel like you're doing the same thing?
Patrick: Well, actually that happens, for sure; like, I find the dynamic this year is completely different - well, not completely different - you know, the producers and writers are a great team to work with and it's a very collaborative set compared to other sets that I've worked on, so that's a really good thing - but obviously it gets into a cycle of what's going on and I have to be careful as a costume designer not to just change things or spice things up, to make my job happy, to make me challenged - it has to be a real reason. A lot of times we'll take a regular outfit and make it into something crazy and wild and very sexy.
[cut to Patrick showing Mathieu the characters' clothing racks]
Patrick: These pants were in the episode last year where we had the political fundraiser and everybody tries to shock everybody and they're an ostrich skin - they're made to measure for Gale Harold - not one inch of extra [fabric]... he can't wear underwear in them, they're that tight.
Mathieu: [laughing] Poor thing.
Patrick: Poor thing.
Never mind the pants... check out Patrick's snazzy boots!
Mathieu: Part of your job is to meet amazing guys with amazing looking bodies and have to dress them.
Patrick: That's the hardest part [laughs].
Mathieu: I'm sure it is! How can you stay professional when you have so much flesh in your face?
Patrick: Well I try to keep the flesh out of my face which is really hard, but as a courtesy, I would expect someone to do the same thing to me, when it comes down to removing everything I always turn my back - it's just a courtesy. But I have to say there are times at the end of the day that I'm friskier than I normally would be and the weekend can't come fast enough. I've got to get out and see this stuff for real - out of the professional atmosphere. And if I should meet them in an unprofessional atmosphere - it's open fire. I can do whatever I want!
[cut to them dressing someone in a leather jock strap]
Patrick: How many times I'm in a fitting room -- and I'm trying to think of a specific one - I've had so many penises fall out of their underwear and into my hand that I... That's one of the hardest parts of the job. I just can't wait to get home to bed and call it a day.
Mathieu: [sarcastically] Sure!
[Mathieu asking Patrick about the job]
Patrick: I think, like totally professionally speaking, anybody could technically do any job, but obviously somebody who has worked in, perhaps been overseas or comes from, I don't know, Serbo-Croatia, and were going to do a movie about that, that person's going to be better at applying themselves to that and know that and know that idea. I've done films that have nothing to do with my lifestyle, but I can research it and find it out and I expose myself to that.
[cut to a clip of Patrick walking through the backroom at Babylon, and running into Peter Paige as Emmett]
Patrick: QAF - one hundred percent has exposed me to so much gay stuff I didn't even know existed. I had never gone to any club at all like 'fly' which is where we shoot Babylon. I've only been going in the last few months. Now it's like this huge fruit bowl of information for me to grab from and even when I see people on the floor I'll talk to the director and say, 'Oh my god, I saw this guy get tossed around in the air,' -- it's usually me -- and that would look so great on film and that's what we're going through. So, I think that if a straight guy had the drive to do it, he could definitely find that stuff out too. Obviously it's going to come a little easier for me.
[cut to a clip of Patrick and Scott Lowell]
Patrick: Great coat!
Scott: is this the right lining? Maybe put some silk because it's kind of rubbing and chafing.
Patrick: I'll see what I can do.
Scott: It feels a little tight.
Scott: It's a little tight. If you could just loosen it a little...
Patrick: [teasing] Sometimes that's a good thing.
Scott: He's so accommodating. It's great. He clothes for the actor rather than for his own ego, which is...
Patrick: I'm a very selfless person.
Scott: Thank you, Patrick. I appreciate it.
Patrick: Thank you.
[they hug and the dildo gets in the way]
[cut to 2 Hot Dancing Gay Boys (HDGBs) in a trailer trying on little wrap-around skirt things.]
Patrick: Oh, I like these.
Patrick: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. I promise you, they're going to read on camera better.
HDGB: Than these ones?
Patrick: Yeah, totally.
Patrick: Because cifonda [a type of silk] is going to be in all the...
HDGB: But the other ones match cifonda better.
Patrick: I know, but she's already got that fabric on. You know what I mean? If you were doing live performance stuff, that would work.
HDGB: Okay, I see. Okay.
Patrick: We're going to see her visuals, and we're going to see all your bodies...
Patrick: What are you wearing underneath? Are you naked?
HDGB: Are you kidding? We have to wear something. [flashes black underwear] Because we're going to be doing "moves," [moves his legs around] and I don't wanna...
HDGB: Should I show it on camera? Really?
[flashes Patrick off camera]
Patrick: That's my favourite part [wags his tongue]
[Patrick is feigning sleeping in the chair in his office. Mathieu comes in, lifts Patrick's shirt, and gives him a raspberry on his belly]
Patrick: [jolting 'awake'] "Less clothes, more G-strings!"
Mathieu: [laughing] Good morning, Patrick. It was a very exhausting day at work today.
Patrick: Oh, just the same thing as usual. Dressing beautiful boys trying to make them look even more beautiful.
Mathieu: It's a tough job, but...
Patrick: Somebody's got to do it.
Mathieu: And you do it!
Patrick: [laughing] Yeah, all the time.
Mathieu: Thank you so much. So, if people want your job, what do they have to do?
Patrick: [laughing] Fight like a bastard. Can't have it - it's mine.
[Back on the couch in the SoGayTV studios. One of the models is wearing a pair of underwear that has a plaid square flap in the front, and only a black elastic waistband in the back]
Mathieu: It was a great day, and this is a great outfit. Patrick, this is one of the sexiest outfits that you've put on one of the models in Queer As Folk.
Patrick: Actually, it's been hanging up in my office for a year, waiting for the perfect opportunity to use it.
Mathieu: What is it exactly?
Patrick: It's a...
Mathieu: Oh, there's nothing behind it! It's pretty cool, actually. I like it. What about the back?
Patrick: There's not much to the back. You know, in this age of simplicity, you've got to keep the lines clean.
Mathieu: Keep it simple?
Patrick: Yeah, keep it simple. Less is more.