logo

Nolan Miller: Hollywood’s Pygmalion remembered

One could say Nolan Miller did more for the shoulder pad than Farrah Fawcett and Pamela Anderson did for the one-piece swimsuit. In actuality, and in retrospect, Nolan Miller was a product of his time and of his industry, and a consummate professional.

Nolan Miller 1980s fashion Dynasty TV Series

Nolan Miller - the man best-known for unleashing the 'Dynasty' look on the world.

Nolan Miller 1980s fashion Dynasty TV Series

'Pygmalion and Galatea' by Jean-Léon Gérôme (French, 1824–1904), ca. 1890.

Famed Hollywood Pygmalion, Nolan Miller, concocted the stuff of dreams for legions of TV fans. He skillfully extracted the fashion trends, distilled their iconography, and unleashed what is seen today as the Nolan Miller look… or “Dynasty style,” if you will.

Nolan Miller 1980s Dynasty TV Series Costume Designer

The Dynasty style as conceived by designer Nolan Miller

Nolan Miller 1980s Dynasty TV Series Costume Designer

McCalls Pattern 2223 - Dynasty TV Series Collection

Nolan Miller 1980s Dynasty TV Series Costume Designer

TV's favorite Divas in Barbie form - Krystle and Alexis by Mattel

Yes, the Reagan Years (1980-1988) didn’t pass unnoticed — nor did the world’s obsession with anything and everything American! The American dream, as seen through the televised 80′s prime-time dramas, was all about glamour and the ubiquitous shoulder pads. Excess was in, and if a little bit was good, more was better!

Nolan Miller 1980s fashion Dynasty TV Series

First Lady Nancy Reagan jokes with Elizabeth Taylor at a White House party. Tom Selleck is left of Ronald Reagan.

Nolan Miller 1980s fashion Dynasty TV Series

President Reagan welcomes Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to the White House.

As over the top as this particular fashion style reads today, it actuality reflected how the ‘Rich and Famous’ dressed for red carpet affairs or fancy dinner parties. Look back at the work of Gianfranco Ferré or Gianni Versace, Pierre Cardin or Thierry Mugler, James Galanos or Bill Blass — you’ll see the same.

Nolan Miller 1980s fashion Dynasty TV Series

Princess Diana's wedding dress made VOLUME the new norm.

Nolan Miller 1980s Dynasty TV Series Costume Designer

Actress Yvette Mimieux Ruby is part of the big-skirt brigade in a creation by Nolan Miller

Nolan Miller 1980s Dynasty TV Series Costume Designer

Nolan Miller sketch for Joan Collins' character on Dynasty.

What Nolan Miller brought to the table, with the support of his greatest ally Aaron Spelling, was a dose of old school Hollywood fantasy. Aaron Spelling cared so much about his Dynasty cast appearance, that he gave Nolan Miller a whopping $35,000 per episode to make the fantasy real. Miller used the most exclusive furs, silks, and embroiderers for his costumes… nothing was done half-way.

Nolan Miller 1980s Dynasty TV Series Costume Designer

Joan Collins, Diahann Carroll and Linda Evans flaunt the time when shoulder pads ruled the world.

Nolan Miller 1980s Dynasty TV Series Costume Designer

Nolan Miller going over costume ideas with Joan Collins.

Nolan Miller 1980s Dynasty TV Series Costume Designer

The Dynasty look

Nolan Miller became a favorite couturier of the Hollywood elite, leaving an indelible mark in fashion historyNolan Miller (January 8, 1933 – June 6, 2012), né Nolan Bertrandoff Miller, was a Texas native, who moved westward to make a name for himself. As lady luck would have it, she introduced this little unknown to a few key Hollywood key players with whom he struck a close friendship. And the rest is some of Hollywood history…

Nolan Miller 1980s fashion Dynasty TV Series

Jane Wyman with Nolan Miller.

Nolan Miller 1980s fashion Dynasty TV Series

Katy Perry Goes 'Gatsby' in Nolan Miller Gown.

Selected credits

These Old Broads (2001) (TV)

Dynasty: The Reunion (1991) (TV)

Soapdish (1991)

Peter Gunn (1989) (TV)

Skin Deep (1989)

Malice in Wonderland (1985) (TV)

Hollywood Wives (1985) (TV miniseries)

The Colbys (1985) (TV)

Making of a Male Model (1983) (TV)

Hotel (1983) (TV)

Don’t Go to Sleep (1982) (TV)

Bare Essence (1982) (TV)

Paper Dolls (1982) (TV)

T.J. Hooker (1982) (TV)

Dynasty (1981) (TV)

Nolan Miller 1980s Dynasty TV Series Costume Designer

Nolan Miller's costume design work on 'The Addams Family' included the long black form-fitting dress worn by Carolyn Jones' Morticia.

Nolan Miller 1980s fashion Dynasty TV Series

Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith were the original 'Charlie's Angels.'

Nolan Miller 1980s Dynasty TV Series Costume Designer

The cast of The Love Boat, from left, Fred Grandy, Patricia Klous, Ted McGinley, Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, Jill Whelan and Ted Lange.

Nolan Miller 1980s Dynasty TV Series Costume Designer

Joan Collins, John Forsythe and Linda Evans from the ABC-TV show 'Dynasty.'

Rest in peace, Mr. Miller. Thank you for allowing us to dream big!

Comments ( 0 )

    Leave a Reply