Much has been made of the costumes on Empire, specifically Cookie's costumes, specifically Cookie's jaw-dropping array of furs.
According to the New York Post, many of them are borrowed from costume designer Rita McGhee's mother in law, Janet Bailey, who was married to Earth Wind & Fire's Philip Bailey. And McGhee told Fusion that there's a point to all those furs:
"[Cookie's] metaphor for her furs is a soft, warming, secure, luxe blanket, but it also shows her feminine side. Y'know, she's not so hard, she's still really soft but when you say 'bawse', she's 'bawse', but she's 'soft bawse', she's classy still. [Her fur is ] like the warm-soft strong blanket giving you luxe, giving you fabulosity."
But it's easy to underestimate just how damn many furs this single character has worn. Here, a chronicle:
The first time we see Cookie sprung from prison and wearing her own clothing, she's wearing what she wore to court on that fateful day 17 years ago—a leopard-print minidress topped with a white fur coat. This, my friends, is how you introduce a character who's coming to get hers:
Just a simple fur trim, for when you're getting back into the swing of things (though Lord knows this woman has picked up the fashions of 2015 very quickly):
When she rolls up to make her play for a piece of the company, holding the threat of the SEC over Lucious's head, note that she dresses for success:
Just one brief bit of fur this week, and it's maybe a repeat:
I'm inclined to think they just didn't want to overpower that marvelous zebra-striped sequin creation she wore at the end of the episode.
With her massive salary newly wrenched from Lucious's overflowing coffers, she has clearly upgraded her white fur (for everyday business wear). Is it even legal to look like such hot shit?
And of course she honors her cousin Bunkie by dressing appropriately for his memorial service:
Here we have my very favorite fur. What, you don't host meetings in a burgundy stole? (Note the coordinating lipstick.)
A special treat this time, in the form of a flashback fur:
Perhaps the most memorable of Cookie's furs is the one she wears for what she THINKS is going to be a romantic reunion with Lucious and is, in fact, the announcement of his engagement to another woman. We should all be positioned to flash wonderful lingerie-clad posteriors framed in sable at our enemies:
I think this coat she wears to roust Elle Dallas from her heroin stupor is trimmed in some sort of fur:
Her white fur makes another appearance:
Cookie's not in this shot but I have to include it because they've managed to work three separate fur coats into a single shot and that deserves a mention:
Look, if you MUST deal with a relapsing addict and your pain-in-the-ass ex-husband/business partner, you might as well be wearing an overpowering fur coat. That's a goddamn life lesson right there:
We get another glimpse at the coat Cookie was wearing when she was locked up in this flashback:
Back in the present day, she's gotten a better relationship with her youngest and a fur vest. It's really tough to pull off bare arms AND fur but of course Cookie can:
Then she rolls up to the white party wearing this show-stopper:
Another enormous fur coat, this time at Andre's therapy appointment:
And they're getting a lot of mileage out of this flashback fur:
TOTAL FURS: This is a conservative estimate, because I think she might have multiple black coats with black fur trim. But let's call it twelve separate furs. Plus there's the two-hour season finale coming up next week, so by my reckoning we ought to see at least four more before we're done.