'Girls' Costume Designer On Her HBO Hit: 'It's Not A Clothes Whore Show'
With season three starting on Sunday, we try to find out what this year's unflattering onesie moment will be.
Girls is not a show about fashion.
As costume designer Jennifer Rogien puts it: "It still surprises me that we're talking about the clothes and that people are fascinated by the clothes because it's not a clothes whore show. It's not a fashion show, which is really fun for me."
Girls, however, is a show driven by a certain kind of style. Who can forget the mesh tank top, the plastic dress, the short-eralls and the floor-length, white, see-through dress paired with visible hot pink underwear (worn to a babysitting job, mind you) that have all graced the screen?
Also, look to season two's plastic dress worn by Marnie (Allison Williams). You know, the one she wore to Booth Jonathan's (Jorma Taccone) party, hoping to impress her kind-of-not-really boyfriend and his art snob friends.
"It's so indicative of Marnie's frame of mind in that moment because she's trying so incredibly hard to impress this other person," Rogien explains. "It just doesn't quite work the way that she expects it to." While not particularly trendsetting, it was a memorable fashion moment from the show nonetheless. The look, of course, is a bit far-fetched. Here, Rogien notes that although Girls is set in the present, it's a TV show and therefore lends itself to a mix of realism with the fantastical.
"As realistic as we try to have the characters appear through their wardrobe, there still is an element of theatrical reality when we're trying for comedy or we're trying for deep embarrassment and trying to affect the audience that way," Rogien says. "It is okay to break that reality for a moment to achieve that effect because it still is a television show. We're still using the magic of the medium to tell the story. The most important part of the story is that it's a very realistic group or characters."
When we left off in the season two finale, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) was nowhere to be seen, Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) broke up with Ray (Alex Karpovsky), Marnie and Charlie got back together (though offscreen we know that Christopher Abbott has left the show) and in a dramatic turn of events, Adam (Adam Driver) came to Hannah's (Lena Dunham) rescue, running through the New York City streets, all the while remaining on FaceTime, to save her (essentially from herself).
Going into season three, which premieres Jan. 12, Rogien -- who also has Orange is the New Black under her belt -- refrained from specifics (spoilers!) but said that the costumes will reflect the evolution of the characters.
Rogien looks to Hannah's wardrobe throughout the series to illustrate this sense of development.
"You know Hannah started out very disheveled and making some deeply questionable choices," Rogien says. "We try to do that with the wardrobe as well: colors that don't work on Lena but work for Hannah, awkward hemlines, alterations that don't quite make sense in the fashionable sense of the word. And in season two, she tried to make some choices that had her almost, kind of getting it together, which was the tagline for the season."
As for the other characters' style evolution, Rogien notes that Marnie started out polished, went through her ups and downs and is now trying really hard to hold it together. Shoshanna began very sweet and feminine, made some specific choices in season two and will settle into herself in season three. She'll become more self-aware. And Jessa, ironically enough, has remained the most stable in terms of her style. ("She was always eclectic and unpredictable to begin with.")
The real curve ball of the group, surprisingly, is Adam. Hannah's often-shirtless man candy will get a coat this season.
Still, one question lingers: What will be this season's short-eralls? Hannah's "short overalls" were seen throughout season two and quickly became a topic of much discussion. Rogien wouldn't let on, but between the show's track record and Rogien's vague inklings, it sounds as though we'll have many a fashion faux-pas to pour over.
"There are certainly some moments that stand out for me," Rogien notes. "Yes, there will be some pretty specific costumes in season three."
Prepare to take to Twitter, people.
Short-eralls aside, Rogien wraps season three up this way: "I think overall we get to know the girls a little bit better. And that's what I was trying to reflect in their outfits, sort of seeing kind of explicitly where they are in their lives."
That said, we look forward to becoming better acquainted.