Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Collectors Weekly has a surprisingly lengthy history of the Cosby Sweater, the gaudy, occasionally hideous, but always eye-catching knits Billy Cosby wore throughout the run of The Cosby Show. Writer Hunter Oatman-Stanford talks to the show’s costume designer, Sarah Lemire, Koos Van Den Akker (the Dutch designer who created some of Cosby’s signature threads), and even a few mostly dismissive quotes from Cos himself. (Asked about the resurgence of the Cosby Sweater, he says, “I have no idea, and I’m not going make up anything. But I think youthful people have a long time to live, so they can waste some time on something like that.”)

Most interesting in the story, though, is how sweaters were a practical necessity for how The Cosby Show was shot:

The show often relied on close-up shots of Cosby to capture such moments of improvised humor. However, tight shots like these caused problems when matching the scenes from two different takes, as a slight difference in costume positioning would become a glaring mistake.

“Usually you don’t do close-ups on TV, and that’s why we started using sweaters,” says Lemire. “As our bodies move around, the clothes are going to shift between the first and second take. If you have a jacket on, and the shirt collar’s in one spot, it’s going to slide off a little on one side or the other, or it might do something else that didn’t match. Sandrich was a real stickler for things matching, so we just did the sweater thing. I actually sewed his shirts to the sweaters so that nothing moved.”


And fashion history was born. [Via The Dish]

Share This Story

Get our newsletter