POPSUGAR Fashion

Scandal's Costume Designer Talks Red Wine, White Outfits, and Prada Bags

Feb 27 2014 - 11:15am

Suit up, Gladiators: Scandal is returning in just a few short hours! And while we we can't wait to be entertained by the insanely juicy storyline, we'd be lying if we said we weren't counting down the minutes until we see the outfit Olivia Pope wears to take on her next client.

We can thank costume designer Lyn Paolo, the woman who's made #ScandalThursdays the most stylish night of the week. We spoke with Lyn, who revealed how exactly Olivia Pope came to be Washington DC's best-dressed fixer, who miraculously never spills a single drop of red wine on her cream sweater. Some of the details may surprise you — almost as much as the return of Mama Pope!

Photo courtesy of ABC

How to Wear the White Hat

POPSUGAR Fashion: We love how Olivia Pope fearlessly wears white. Do you have any styling tips for wearing white, especially during the Winter?

Lyn Paolo: I love Winter white, and I always have, even as a young girl growing up in the North of England. During those cold months, my eye was always drawn to that fearless lady who dared to wear white in the slushy Winter grim.

Obviously, we are all aware of how difficult wearing white can be — especially in colder climates. If a long white trend is a bit too much, I always suggest a gorgeous white hat [1] or scarf near your face as a great way to liven up the Winter months.

Photo courtesy of ABC

The Pope Wears Prada

PS: Confession time! We're eternally jealous of Olivia Pope's bag collection. Is there any reason why she continually carries Prada [2]?

LP: Well, I adore all things Prada! Also, this season when Olivia was mugged and then saved by Huck, you can see that soon after, Olivia started to carry Prada bags since the script and story drive the costumes. Kerry and I thought this would be a good moment to make that that change [to carrying Prada bags]. Prada was kind enough to loan us the bag carried by Meryl Streep [3] in the beginning of The Devil Wears Prada, which was so gracious of them.

Photo courtesy of ABC

Toot Toot, Tweet Tweet!

PS: Scandal has such a loyal following, especially on social media! Does social media affect the outfits you style in any way?

LP: While I love to discuss the costumes with our Gladiators, I work very hard with Kerry at telling the story that Shonda Rhimes has created. Therefore, it is the script that leads our decisions with regards to the look of all of the characters. Shonda really does captain the ship, and it is the script that she and the writers put on paper that inform and lead my styling decisions.

Photo courtesy of ABC

Dress Like a Pope-ressional

PS: We love how Olivia Pope doesn't sacrifice style in the office! What are your tips for putting together stylish alternatives to the business suit?

LP: I always tell my clients to be true to your body type. Go on a wild fashion adventure on the weekends if you want to experiment, but at work, stick with what agrees with you and be consistent. I try to treat my work attire like a uniform: I want to get dressed quickly in the morning for those 5 a.m. calls on location. So, simplicity, style, and limited choices work for me.

Photo courtesy of ABC

Break Open a Bottle

PS: What do you think about how people marvel at Olivia Pope's ability to wear white without ever spilling a single drop of red wine on her outfit? Have there been any accidental spills on set?

LP: My amazing team of costumers, including the ever delightful Francesca Bruno, ensure that all remains pristine on the set. We have actually not had any problems at all. I personally would not fare as well. Kerry Washington, as always, is a consummate professional, and her "wine and popcorn" moments have definitely become a fan favorite!

Photo courtesy of ABC

A Tale of Two Washingtons

PS: How much of Kerry Washington's personal style goes into the outfits that Olivia Pope wears?

LP: I think that Kerry would agree when I say that we talk about Olivia Pope as a third person in our fittings. Although Kerry's innate sense of fashion is an inspiration for me in dressing the character Olivia Pope, I do not think that their two styles overlap. They are very separate women.

Photo courtesy of ABC and Getty