Portrait of the Artist: Rosemary Lepre Forman

“Portrait of the Artist” is a series by photographer Claudine Williams. The Q&As are with people in the arts and culture industry — actors, musicians, painters, writers, designers — with photos to suit each artist.

Rosemary Lepre Forman is a costume designer for TV and film, and is currently working on “Bridge and Tunnel,” the latest project by Tribecan Ed Burns, to be released in January. She lives with her husband and twin boys in Battery Park City.

These shots were taken in a conference room at a hotel in Rockville Centre that the production team was using as fitting room.

Describe what you do for a living and how did you get started in that business?
I am a costume designer primarily for film and television. I moved to Manhattan six months after I graduated college. I worked for free as a production assistant on a film starring Neil Patrick Harris and ended up being the key PA at the end so I was in charge of running the team. It’s all about networking in this business so I would make phone call after phone call on landlines and pay phones to get my next gig! Eventually, I was lucky enough to meet an exceptionally gifted costume designer, Suzy Benzinger. I was Suzy’s wardrobe PA on two Woody Allen films, “Deconstructing Harry” and “Celebrity.” This was what I wanted to do, make characters come to life by creating their costumes.

Where did you grow up and how did you wind up in Lower Manhattan?
I grew up in Holmdel, New Jersey, which was a great location – I was 20 minutes from the beach, and 50 minutes from Manhattan. When I was a teenager, I modeled for Butterick Patterns. My parents would take turns bringing me to the city and I fell in love! I knew that one day I would live there. I met my husband in the late 90s and he had a place in the West Village. I was living on the Upper West Side at the time, but I discovered a whole new world downtown — I never wanted to leave. We ended up in Battery Park City after 9/11 to see if we would like it for one year. We got engaged, married and raised our twin boys there. We will never leave downtown!

What kinds of projects are occupying your time right now?
I was co-designing the last season of “Younger” right before the shutdown. They told us we would not be back until Feb of 2021. I honestly thought I would never work again. We have a place upstate that we bought four years ago, so we left the city to quarantine there. I took the role as full-time mom — I now have a bunch of recipes that I am proud of. I also taught myself the ukulele! My mom’s dad died before I was born and she gave me his ukulele. I’m really having fun with it.

In July, I got a phone call to costume design for “Bridge and Tunnel,” a series written and directed by [Tribecan] Ed Burns. This is my second project with Ed. “Bridge and Tunnel” is set in 1980 and revolves around a group of recent college grads setting out to pursue their dreams in Manhattan, while still clinging to the familiarity of their working-class Long Island hometown. I read the first two scripts and knew it was going to be fun and very much about the clothes! It’s great collaborating with Ed. He puts his trust in you and that’s all you can ask for on any project from a director. “Bridge and Tunnel” will air January 24, 2021 and I could not be more excited! I think this will appeal to a wide range of audiences.

How has Covid-19 impacted your line of work?
There is a very strict protocol with testing. There are still a lot of people who are afraid and do not want to work. Once I assembled my “Bridge and Tunnel” crew, we all needed to be conscious about where we were going, and careful about wearing masks and washing our hands. Once I started the actors’ fittings, I had to get tested three times a week, wear a mask and a shield. This made it very difficult but I powered through it. At the end of the day, I was just happy to be creating something and making sure our cast and crew would be able to finish the project.

What’s the best thing about living in Lower Manhattan?
I’d say the Hudson River. We have a south-west view from our window so I get to stare out at the boats and Ellis Island. It’s a beautiful part of town to live in and very family oriented. When the weather starts to get nice in the spring, I look forward to the boats coming back to the marina, the outdoor concerts along the promenade, eating outdoors, I could go on!

What is the perfect downtown weekend for you and your family?
We love walking around the neighborhood running into friends. If it’s a really beautiful day, we love to eat at Gigino’s at Wagner Park. The boys can run around on the lawn and play while we wait for our food, and the scenery is like no other! We love walking around South Street Seaport and Tribeca as well. Some of our favorite spots would be Cowgirl Seahorse for brunch and Il Brigante for dinner. We also like Locanda Verde, Bubby’s, and for a quick bite between games at the BPC field, the Gee Whiz diner.

Anything else we should know about you?
When I’m not costume designing, I love to take advantage of the outdoors as much as possible. I enjoy skiing with my family, running, paddle boarding in the summers and landscaping.

 

 

 

5 Comments

  1. Fun engaging profile to read this morning. Looking forward to the Ed Burns project!

  2. Great profile, shows how hard work and dedication pays off. I can’t wait to watch Bridge & Tunnel. Cheers to you and all the crew who worked hard under these crazy circumstances to get this done.

  3. Go Ro!!! What an amazing person and article :)

  4. Congratulations Ro! Great article! Can’t wait to see the show & see the clothes!

  5. Great article about the classiest girl I know!! Rosemary is like an Audrey Hepburn. So beautiful inside and out!

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