From that one-of-a-kind sculptured flower dress to the unforgettable bucket hat, the fashions of Emily in Paris’ first season left a distinct impression on viewers. So, suffice it to say, the pressure was high when cameras started rolling on Season 2. Thankfully, both costume designer Marylin Fitoussi and Emmy-winning consulting costume designer Patricia Field are back on board to style Emily & Co. Ahead of the comedy’s highly anticipated return on Dec. 22, we spoke with Fitoussi and Field about how the costumes differ this season, working with star and executive producer Lily Collins and their approach to costuming this season’s key pieces.
Coming off the success of Season 1, how have you worked to differentiate the costuming in Season 2?
Marylin Fitoussi: Part of the first season’s success was the freedom the costume design gave people to mix things up however they liked. It showed them that they could combine polka dots and stripes, throw colors together, and not limit themselves. My motto, for this season and the last, has always been: “Too much good taste is boring.” My trademark is eclecticism and mixing everything together. So if people thought Season 1 was a little much, a little flashy, then Season 2 will be more so. And I’m proud of it. Emily has a strong personality, and we’ll keep her costumes just as strong this season.
Patricia Field: It was very important that we try not to repeat what we did in the first season. I wanted to show our audience some new ideas. Last season we used a lot of black and white, so I didn’t want to do that anymore. We didn’t want to do the bucket hat again, obviously, because we don’t want to bore our audience. We don’t want them to think, “Oh, I saw that already.” We want to provide something new and exciting and interesting. Fashion is liquid and fashion, the most important thing, as far as I’m concerned about fashion, is, as other forms of art, it reflects the time. Whatever time we’re in, you will see it in the fashion. But we try to avoid fashion trends in the show. I say over and over again that trends die young; trends get very tired very quickly.
Can you talk about continuing to work with Lily Collins this season?
Fitoussi: It’s wonderful, she’s completely absorbed all of Emily’s mannerisms, her vocabulary, everything that goes into Emily’s very special look. Since Lily is a total professional, she never says no. It’s true there are outfits that pull her up short; when she sees some combinations she says, “Really?” with a little smile. If it’s just the least bit disturbing, I know it’s good. If she’s not shocked, I say, “It must still be too simple.” We try a lot of things, I put together catalogs of outfits to show her and from that she decides which she wants to try, what speaks to her. She is very open. Luckily, none of our actors set limits. They trust me and they trust Patricia, and it’s wonderful to work that way, because we can take it a little further every time. We can set the bar higher.
How do you approach sourcing the key costuming pieces?
Fitoussi: For the past seven years, I’ve been pushing upcycling and recycling. We only buy new if something is needed the next day and can’t be delivered in time. I love vintage shops, I’m friends with most of the Paris vintage store owners. They phone me when they have unique or very special pieces; anything that the ordinary mortal would shy away from. For Season 2, I decided my challenge would be to combine a couture piece, Dior or Balmain, with a young designer, with a vintage piece, with something you would find at a store like H&M or Zara. Everyone must be able to buy something they love, according to their resources. Buy designer if you can, buy H&M. I do most of my shopping between 3:30 and 5:30 a.m., that’s when my mind is at its best.
Color seems to be a very important part of the costuming, especially for Emily’s character. Can you talk a bit about the importance color carries this season?
Field: I recently coined an expression for myself that describes what reaction I like to see with costuming, and it’s “happy clothes.” I love color. It enables me to mix and match different combinations that catch peoples’ attention. Emily is the perfect gal for color because when we first started, I was told she’s from the Midwest, so she dresses in a Midwestern style. We found, I believe, the right recipe for her last season, and color has been a huge part of that. People like color and need color these days. When we aired episode one, I heard over and over again that it was so much fun to watch Emily in Paris during the pandemic, and that it helped lift peoples’ spirits. That has made me happy, and so I hope the clothes this season continue to make our audience happy.
Emily in Paris Season 2 debuts Dec. 22 on Netflix.