Mischa Barton had to wear designer knock-offs during the first season of The O.C..
The actress played Marissa Cooper in the hit teen TV drama, which aired in the U.S. from 2003 to 2007. Centred around the dramas of the wealthy elite in affluent Newport Beach, California, Mischa famously carried designer bags throughout her scenes, but costume designer Alexandra Welker has revealed that there were many cost-cutting measures put in place during The O.C.’s debut series.
“We started with a little tiny budget, which was a challenge – because everything had to look super high-end,” she told Page Six. “There was absolutely no borrowing (from brands) involved either, because nobody had ever heard of us, so they were very leery of loaning anything. I’ll be honest: Those Chanel bags that she carried, those weren’t something I could have on my budget, but I found this amazing store in Downtown L.A. (Los Angeles) that sold the best-looking fakes I’d ever seen! So we used some really, really good knock-offs.”
Although Welker had to hustle at the start of the show, her hard work paid off – The O.C., which also starred Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson, became one of the most popular series on television.
“We had our heads down, hard at work – and all of a sudden, you’d pass a newsstand and every magazine would have an article about us,” she recalled. “I remember Rachel and Adam coming back from lunch one day, and they were like, ‘The weirdest thing just happened: We were just sitting there eating, and people came up to us asking for our autographs!’
“It was really cool and terrifying and exciting to be part of it as it was blowing up, and the fact that the show launched fashion trends is pretty fantastic.”
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