See the Early '90s Movie That Inspired Empire Costume Designer Paolo Nieddu to Go Into Fashion

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Sure, Paolo Nieddu grew up being meticulous about his clothes ("I can't wear jeans to school—it's not dressy enough!" he recalls), but it wasn't until he saw Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead around age 10 or 11 that he realized he could make a career out of his love for fashion. "Growing up in Michigan, there's not people with jobs in fashion," Empire's costume designer says in the video above. "That was probably the first introduction I had into what I thought that world was like."

©Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

In the 1991 film, teenager Sue Ellen (Christina Applegate) is forced to grow up fast after the elderly babysitter left to care for the 17-year-old and her four siblings while mom is away in Australia unexpectedly dies. In an effort to get some cash to pay the bills, Sue Ellen lies about her age and experience to land a job at the fictional General Apparel West. "When I walk out of this film, I feel inspired by taking a chance," Nieddu says, who joins other style setters for a glam edition of Fandango's fun web series, "I Love Movies," where notables talk about the films that affected them most.

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Though on the surface, the movie is a lighthearted comedy, for Nieddu, it holds a deeper meaning. "It showed that there's not always a direct path to find something you love," he says. "Watching movies and seeing—particularly in this film—this sort of path, it definitely made me know that I wanted to pursue something in fashion." And we have to say Nieddu, legions of Empire fans are so glad that you did.

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To hear Nieddu talk about the scene that impacted him most, watch the video above, and check back here weekly to see more tastemakers, like Olivia Palermo and Isaac Mizrahi, talk about the movies they love.

SHOW TRANSCRIPT

[MUSIC] Hi, my name is Paolo Nedule and my favorite movie is Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead. [MUSIC] I remember Where like in grade school I was definitely the most meticulous about my clothes and I didn't want them to get dirty. I didn't like recess. I never wore jeans. I was like you can't wear jeans to school. It's not dressy enough. My parents ran a drapery company. I just remember seeing the fabric pinned to the tables and the rulers and the chalk and Things that would be in a tailor shop, really. I think I was probably 10 or 11 when I saw Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead. See, Christina Applegate plays a character named Suellen, and she gets a job in fashion. Growing up in Michigan, there's not people with job in fashion, other than a store. That was probably the first Introduction. I had to what I thought that world was like. In Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter is Dead, there is a scene where she is looking for somebody and the woman is sitting at the desk and she says, I'm just a temp. This woman is wearing this hot pink sort of puff sleeved top or dress and her hair is pulled back and she has on these big earrings. She's fashionable for 1991, but is also a little over the top. When it's impactful, like I remember that temp. And I sort of have you know, applied that to my aesthetic where I'm, no part is a small part. And it was through, you know, the power of her costume, that hot pink dress. When I'm in a fitting for Empire, for any of my cast, I definitely Think about the importance of every detail of the costume. Even if I'm not gonna see this shoe, I'm thinking about how that shoe is important for that part and that person. When I walk out of this film, I feel inspired by taking a chance and going after something that you love and you don't always have to Follow all the rules, or, you know, it sort of showed that there's not always a direct path to find something you love. Watching movies and seeing, particularly, in this film, this sort of path, it definitely made me know that I wanted to pursue something in fashion. My name's Paolo Nieddu, and I love movies. [MUSIC] [BLANK_AUDIO]

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