Never let it be said that Insecure doesn’t know how to carry a theme alllllll the way through. Even as the show prepares for its farewell, it marked another first on Sunday night—an episode themed around the girls’ night of Issa, Molly, Kelli and Tiffany—by dressing its entire cast of characters in a wardrobe entirely designed by Black women. And it has two women to thank for the feat: the episode’s director, Amy Aniobi (also a writer and executive producer on the series) and Insecure’s acclaimed costume designer Shiona Turini.
“I thought it could be really interesting to devote one episode that was so focused on this friendship to celebrate Black women and make it a really intentional experience,” Turini explained to Vanity Fair during a joint interview with Aniobi, who said that upon hearing the idea, “I felt chills...It just became an encompassing idea that became really fun to play with, from their shoes to their socks to their jewelry,” adding that the theme extended through: “The makeup they have on set, the liquor they drank, the coffee…”
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Turini first had the idea while watching Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration. In the lead-up, there had been much talk about supporting Black designers, as well as speculation about what Kamala Harris, who was about to become the first Black and South Asian vice president in American history, would wear. She ultimately chose looks by brands Pyer Moss and Christopher John Rogers, sparking excitement over her decision to highlight two Black designers. While Turini is a fan of both labels and has featured looks from both on Insecure, she realized with disappointment that “no one wore any Black female designers.”
In the opening scene alone, the featured designers include many of The Glow Up’s perennial faves, including Fe Noel (Issa’s plaid shirt), Brother Vellies, and Emmy-winning designer Zerina Akers’ capsule collection for Macy’s. There were also new faves to be found in Lionne, Sorella, Samaria Leah and Kendra Duplantier, the latter two designing Molly’s lace-up denim ‘fit and multi-strapped tank, respectively.
And if Tiffany’s Adidas tracksuit gives you pause in cosigning the theme, never fear; the look was part of the brand’s collaboration with Wales Bonner.
VF had the deets of the rest of the ep’s looks:
The second key look of the episode features the ladies getting ready to go out. Issa wears a Lisa Folawiyo dress. Tiffany wears a crop top and skirt by House of Aama. Molly wears Aisling Camps with shoes by Ade Samuel...Kelly wears a robe by Misa Hylton for Macy’s and earrings by L’enchanteur.
The third and final key look is the pajama party, with the girls transitioning into dreamy sleepwear. Both Turini and Aniobi say it’s their favorite set of ensembles. Issa wears a custom set by Bephie’s Beauty Supply and a bralette by Savage X, Rihanna’s lingerie brand. Kelly wears Diarrablu. All four women wear Brother Vellies shoes.
Nathan, Lawrence and Condola—and presumably, baby Elijah Mustafa—were also outfitted in Black female designers...and there were so many rich possibilities that Issa herself put the kibosh on more.
“Issa ruined our lives and told us we couldn’t add more outfits,” Turini shared.
“She wrote an email being like, ‘Just to be clear—this is the same day!’” added Aniobi.
If you caught Girlfriends vibes from the ep, Aniobi admits that was intentional, with a healthy dose of Waiting to Exhale, for good measure. Both inspired the scenes’ blocking, which she designed to showcase the looks as well as the plot—because as we all know, Insecure’s covetable (and typically Black-designed) costumes have long been supporting characters in the beloved series, as Turini acknowledges.
“I hope that in 10 years, or in 20 years, when people are watching reruns of Insecure, they still feel connected to the wardrobe,” she tells VF, while noting that Black female designers—or Black designers, in general—shouldn’t only be relegated to Black shows. “It doesn’t always have to be on the shoulders of us,” she adds.