Olivia Pope, America's favorite political fixer from ABC's ridiculously addictive Scandal, is a badass mess — but, who cares, it's crazy entertaining and she always looks amazing. For the people out there who are looking to pull off "Washington D.C. HBiC", her modern feminine wardrobe is perfection. Of course, it doesn't hurt that Kerry Washington imbues her character Olivia with the panache to pull off the tailored pant suits, luxe winter coats, and sick gowns.
However, the brains behind the beautiful looks is Lyn Paolo. As the hit show's costume designer, she's responsible for orchestrating all of Olivia's covetable ensembles. She spoke with The Washington Post about outfitting Olivia, dressing for D.C., and fashion meeting feminism.
When asked about women and the workplace — including an obligatory Lean In reference — Paolo says:
I think that the women in power should be representing women in a different light and be more innovative.
Regarding Sheryl's book and the "leaning in," I think there were a couple of interviews she gave that resonated with me. When people ask me about success, I tend to respond with the female platitudes of, "I was really lucky, and I met the right people and worked hard." Whereas men say "I deserved it. I worked for it, and I deserved it." I don't think we have to be so self-absorbed, but I think there is a fine line in how we present ourselves.
There is a constant worry about not being too pushy, but I think Olivia Pope can be quite pushy. But because she represents herself in a feminine way, I think it works. I don't think if she was in more of a masculine suit and stomping her feet — I don't know if it would work as well.
I'm not entirely sure what that means, but maybe it's that if Olivia wore Army fatigues and Doc Martens, it'd be harder for her to get things done. Or something.
Paolo also talks about how Mellie dresses very "old D.C." and Olivia is supposed to represent "new D.C." Both stylish, but one significantly more traditional in terms of colors and shapes. For the record, both women look amazzzzing on the show, and all I want is to watch them act together in the same scenes forever.
Now, let's get to the good stuff — Paolo's favorite things in Olivia's wardrobe:
We do shop really great designers. But it's really more about color and silhouette. We are loyal to some pieces because they work so often for us. Max Mara and a lot of Christian Dior, which is just a wee bit more girlish in its designs–-super feminine. If we have a different theme where Olivia has to be more businesslike we'll end up back in a more structured Armani suite.
Her absolute favorite pieces? The stunning Jean Fares gown Pope wore in the scene where Fitz was shot. Man, she looked so good, but that was not a good night. Paolo also loves the shell pink Ferragamo coat, and Olivia's gorgeous signature long gloves. Those gloves! Ugh, they are divine.