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Lena Dunham’s new HBO comedy ‘Girls’ seems to have everything figured out, right down to main character Hannah’s awkward purple ‘shorteralls.’
The show recently won two Golden Globes, one for best television comedy and best actress in a television comedy. It’s clear that the writing and acting are solid but the perfection is in the details. For a show that many assume has no costume designer there is actually a lot of work put into each character’s wardrobe.
Costume designer Jennifer Rogien has carefully crafted the wardrobe of each girl, Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna, to reflect their personality.
Rogien told the Daily Beast that if her job is done right ‘no one should notice the clothes,’ which is true in most cases, until Hannah appears wearing a neon yellow mesh top without a bra underneath.
If you do take a moment to think about it each character does have a very definitive look. Marnie goes for body hugging, colour-blocked dresses and a sleek ponytail. Jessa will show up in just about anything she’s found while out travelling, including her giant black feathered night club outfit in season one. Shoshanna always looks very polished and put together while keeping a simple colour palette. And Hannah just never gets it right, but that’s why we love her.
Aside from creating a specific look for each woman, Rogien also had to be mindful of the character’s sex lives and how the clothing would aid or hinder in those situations.
Rogien said that how the character’s clothes are handled and fastened- and how they come off- is just as important as simply being worn on screen.
Last season we saw Hannah comically struggling to pull off her tights and skirt while remaining lying face down on a couch. Shoshanna was outfitted in a dress that opens down the front during her attempt to lose her virginity. And Jessa seemed to always be wearing a dress she could simply hitch up when she brought a man back to her apartment, or just to the bathroom downstairs in a shop.
“Sometimes you want the magic, you want the clothes to fall off effortlessly, and it’s intimate all of a sudden,” said Rogien. Whereas “with Hannah, we want the clothes to come off over the head and be awkward and uncomfortable.”
The styles are set to change slightly in season two to reflect the journeys of each character.
“Hannah and Jessa are very much exploring, and Marnie and Shoshanna have a very clear idea of how they want to express themselves,” said Rogien.
Shoshanna, who has grown significantly since losing her virginity in the season one finale, will have a different colour palette and more opportunities to wear heels. Marnie begins to wear more patterns after realising her pantsuits may not be the image she needs to portray. Jessa keeps being Jessa and Hannah pulls out the shorteralls.
While Sex and the City allowed viewers to lust over the designer and couture pieces being worn, Girls really reflects the clothing of 20-somethings in the same situation as the characters.
“We joke amongst ourselves that Marnie probably lives at Lord & Taylor (a department store somewhat similar to Myer) and Bloomingdale’s (similar to David Jones), while Shoshanna is a mix between Saks and H&M and Zara. We love that Shoshanna wears Shoshanna,” said Rogien.
“Jessa is clearly a world traveler so she collects things…Hannah, being so vintage-driven, none of that is short for editorial, so it was Etsy girls, and style blogs, and [I] pulled some stuff from Madewell and Anthropologie.”
Many of Hannah’s clothes also come from shops in Brooklyn, where the show is based, such as Beacon’s Closet, a warehouse type second-hand store where you can purchase everything from nice vintage dresses to incredibly cheap throwaways from anyone who has come in to get some cash for clothing.
The broad mix of clothing and styles and the occasional awkward fumbling during a sex scene all add to the amazing charm of this new hit show.
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