Feature Stories

Summer 2019

Tapping Three Histories: Hollywood, Fashion and Lawry’s

Meet Kit Scarbo, the L.A film and TV costume designer who developed our stylish new server uniforms.

Kit Scarbo, who designed the new uniforms at Lawry's The Prime Rib Beverly Hills

Prime rib, the shining silver cart, welcoming hospitality—these are hallmarks of the classic Lawry’s experience.  Our female servers’ iconic uniform also has a well-deserved place on the list. Since Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Beverly Hills first opened in 1938, we’ve periodically modified what co-workers affectionately call the “brown gown.”

As part of the new look at our flagship restaurant, we’ve introduced stylish new uniforms—dresses for our female servers and complementary vests for males—created by the talented L.A. costume designer Kit Scarbo. She attended the Fashion Institute of Technology NYC, graduated Magna Cum Laude from Palimoda in Florence, Italy and was an alumnus of Gen Art and Project Runway. You may have seen her work most recently on The Jim Jeffries Show and Stargate Origins.

In an interview with Kit, we learned about her ideas, her inspiration and Lawry’s.

How did your career as a costume designer help you with the “brown gown” redesign?

I base my work on scripts and the ability to bring imagination and history to life. The Lawry’s project immediately captivated me with the iconic garments and the restaurant’s story. Like a movie set, I found the new interior to be an elegant stage.

So, you see the uniforms playing a significant role in what our founder called “the show?”

Yes. I thought of the guest as being a viewer in a movie theater. At the same time, though, I hoped to inspire the guest to feel the nostalgic mood of a vintage dinner party.

Speaking of inspiration, what were some of your inspirations for the new design?

One was the historic Harvey Girls uniform. It established the standard for the American diner waitress uniform as a serviceable and respectful, yet alluring and decorative garment. Lawry’s original server dress was loosely modeled after it.

The Harvey Girls diner waitress uniform circa 1925 were an inspiration for uniforms at Lawry's The Prime Rib

The Harvey Girls diner waitress uniform circa 1925

Another big inspiration was the silver serving cart, a stunning representation of the Art Deco era during which it was conceived. It led me to thinking about the dress fashions of that period, which were sophisticated and progressive but also felt classic.

And, I considered the silhouette of women’s full skirt cocktail dress and men’s exposed waistcoat party attire of the early 1950s.

How did you connect Lawry’s 80-year history to the design of the new server uniform?

I spent a lot of time with the company’s family owners learning the legacy of the brown gown. I also spent a lot of time listening to female co-workers who provided invaluable insight into the part they play in the Lawry’s experience.

One of Kit’s initial uniform sketches for the new uniforms at Lawry's The Prime Rib Beverly Hills

One of Kit’s initial uniform sketches

What happened to the white cap, collar, cuffs and apron?

In keeping with the new interior design’s relaxed elegance and sophistication, we removed these familiar American “diner waitress” components to elevate the dress’s appearance from daywear to eveningwear. I also took advantage of today’s fabric technology to give the servers comfortable new gowns and vests that are functional while retaining the aesthetic of a vintage costume.

How did you select the new russet color?

In black and white film, brown was often used to capture more light and shadow than black, yet appear black to the viewer, like the famous formal Bette Davis dress in All About Eve designed by Edith Head. I was inspired by this classic movie technique when asked to present new tones of brown for the uniform. I’m so pleased with the russet color we settled on. Like in classic pictures, it’s a tone that moves with the light and, in the context of Lawry’s new atmosphere, feels both appropriate and still welcoming.

Servers at Lawry's The Prime Rib Beverly Hills take their fabulous new uniforms for a "test run" preparing Lawry's Famous Original Spinning Bowl Salad

Servers take their new uniforms for a “spin.”

Final thoughts?

To be part of this exciting moment in Lawry’s history was an honor and a challenge. I hope my efforts will contribute to the restaurant’s guests’ enjoyment for years to come.

Lawry's The Prime Rib — Beverly Hills

100 N La Cienega Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

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