‘Emily in Paris’ Costume Designer on Her Favorite Season 3 Looks and Taking Inspiration in Lily Collins’ Bangs
SPOILER ALERT: This interview contains spoilers from Season 3 of “Emily in Paris.”
The process of designing the costumes for Season 3 of “Emily in Paris” started with a bang.
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Or rather, with bangs. Lily Collins, who plays the Netflix dramedy’s title role, first cut some fringe into her hair in her own life before the look made its way into the show. Attempting to turn over a new leaf after the dilemmas created by the Season 2 finale, Season 3 begins with Emily feeling manic and grabbing a pair of scissors — an ordeal that costume designer Marilyn Fitoussi found inspiring.
“Everything starts with Lily’s bangs. She sent me a picture, and suddenly, it reminded me of French icons of the ’60s,” Fitoussi says. “New wave movies. You have Jean-Luc Godard, you have Brigitte Bardot, you have Jane Birkin — all these delicate, graceful silhouettes.” I said, ‘Jesus, she looks like Françoise Hardy!’ So the ’60s is the starting point for the design. We’re playing a Parisian game; it’s time for her to embrace the French culture.”
Fitoussi also pointed out the character growth emulated in Season 3’s costumes: “Emily starts dressing a little like Sylvie [her boss, played by Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu]. I made a mirror game between them. They love-hate each other, so Sylvie is dressed with a bit more color and Emily is using high-waisted and wide trousers that she didn’t have before.”
See a breakdown of some of Fitoussi’s favorite looks from Season 3 below.
The Pierre Cadault Retrospective
All of the looks at the event honoring Pierre Cadault (Jean-Christophe Bouvet) in Episode 2 allowed Fitoussi to tribute a real-life fashion designer: Stéphane Rolland, who has offered his work to “Emily in Paris” since Season 1 and is the basis for Pierre’s designs throughout the show. Many of the outfits in this scene are Rolland pieces that represent the different stages of his career, and Rolland himself makes a cameo.
Emily, however, dons a jacket from Dolce & Gabbana with dramatic, zebra-patterned wings.
“I noticed this piece when I went to Milan, to a runway show. I was thinking of this jacket for Mindy [Ashley Park] at the beginning,” Fitoussi says. “But when I received the script and saw the tribute to Pierre Cadult, and of course Stéphane Rolland, I decided to use it for Emily.”
In this scene, Emily’s warring bosses Sylvie and Madeline (Kate Walsh) show up in the same grandiose Rolland dress, which Fitoussi notes was chosen to to make them look like “two witches.” The Rolland costume also informed the loudness of Emily’s: “Everything will be question of proportion, and I cannot lose my main character! So I called Dolce & Gabbana and said, ‘We need to have this jacket as soon as possible.'”
Gabrielle and Camille’s Wedding
Camille (Camille Razat) wears an elegant but understated off-the-shoulder dress that cuts off at the mid-thigh for her wedding to Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) in the Season 3 finale. Designed by Jacquemus, it isn’t actually marketed as a wedding dress — which makes sense, given that the event was only meant to be an engagement party before the couple spontaneously decides to make it official that night.
“It was quite a challenge, because when when you are thinking about a wedding or engagement party, you want to be over the top. You want to be spectacular,” Fitoussi says. “But with Camille, we wanted to do this in a very modern way. She works in an art gallery, so she couldn’t look like a cupcake. I wanted to give poetry and delicacy, because I knew she would cry, and in close-up, it looked wonderful.
Emily’s dress for the wedding is from Italian designer Giambattista Valli that Fitoussi says she used to conjure the era of neo-romanticism: “Lily loved this piece because she likes to be a little bit covered, and she has a swan neck. To me, she looked like an antique painting, a woman from another century. I thought it was beautiful to cover her from head to toe and still show her legs — she always reminds me of a beautiful bird, so I like to have her in these long pieces of pieces of fabric and trains.”
“She doesn’t want a bright color for once, because she was not the bride. She doesn’t want all the attention on her,” Fitoussi says, referring to the muted pink floral pattern. But obviously, all eyes do end up on her. When Camille stops the wedding to announce that Gabriel is actually in love with Emily, the soft white peeking out from behind the pink flowers on her dress begins to make sense.
Mindy’s Party and Performance Looks
While Emily’s costumes in “Emily in Paris” get a lot of the attention, it’s Mindy who sports the boldest ensembles. One of Fitoussi’s favorite Season 3 looks is the Souraya Chalhoub gown above, which Mindy wears to the opening party for Pierre Cadault’s store in Episode 8: “Souraya was working with us back in Season 1. When Mindy was first singing in the first season, the little red lace dress she wore from was from Souraya. I like what she’s doing, because it’s very dramatic and perfect for performing.”
“She’s performing everywhere, every single day of her life,” Fitoussi says about Mindy, who sings in a jazz club throughout Season 3 but is dressed to impress even when she doesn’t have a gig. “She’s sparkling. She’s over the top. It’s one of the funniest characters that I have to dress, because it’s never enough. It’s glitter at 10 a.m. or 3 p.m.; it’s all day long.”
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