The New York Times
After “Emily in Paris” hit Netflix at the end of last year, the series — about a prodigy young marketing executive who moves to a new city and faces several problems — has been criticized for portraying a fanciful version of French culture. Parisians were irritated by the inaccuracies and clichés of the plot, from people smoking in the office to the number of berets seen in the scenes.
“It’s the show the French love to hate,” said Marylin Fitoussi, the show’s costume designer.
But the program still offered a welcome escape for people confined to the home. It was like a hot bath for weary souls; a romantic, silly and colorful adventure in a beautiful city untouched by the pandemic. And clothes had a role to play in that.
Fitoussi originally tried a realistic look for certain outfits. In the case of Mindy (Ashley Park), an heiress who works as a nanny to pass the time and becomes Emily’s first real friend in Paris, her instinct was to choose comfortable clothes and sneakers. But that changed after a conversation with the series’ costume consultant, Patricia Field, known for her fantastic costumes for the series “Sex and the City”.
“They told me a magic phrase: ‘Marylin, we don’t want to know about reality,'” said Fitoussi, with whom I spoke via Zoom. (She was wearing a black turban, gold-collared shirt and yellow patterned jacket, plus a set of huge rings. “And that’s my spirit in life.”
For season two, which arrived on Wednesday, Fitoussi and Field were determined to push the show’s fashions even further. Emily (Lilly Collins) is trying to navigate a complicated love triangle as she settles into Paris, and her style has become more sophisticated, yet continues to garner attention. Even Emily’s imperious boss, Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu), is pushing the limits of French office fashion, wearing metallic-colored suits with dramatic fringed hems.
As these clothes demonstrate, in Emily’s Paris, more is always more.
A BOLD PRINT AND AN EXECUTIVE ASSEMBLY
Emily has evolved beyond the Eiffel Tower print of a season one costume, but the obvious remains her signature. For a party on the Seine to promote Chopard’s heart-shaped jewelry collection, she wears a white Anouki dress with a red heart print. Field didn’t put much faith in the dress when Fitoussi bought it.
“At first, I didn’t know how the hell I was going to use it, exactly, because it looked kind of silly in a way,” Field said in a video chat. “But then that scene came.”
Fitoussi said he loved the puffy sleeves. “Pat hated the sleeves, and I said the dress without those sleeves was nothing – just a tube with a heart print,” she said. (The red and pink striped jacket Emily wears with her dress had to be custom-made to accommodate the sleeves.)
Mindy, meanwhile, now sings in a band, and showcases her vocal talent on the streets of Paris. (Park has already been nominated for a Tony and a Grammy.) Her concert scenes have given the costume department the opportunity to be bold, with sequins and feathers.
An example: the green Zadig & Voltaire suit she wears to sing at Chopard’s night out, paired with rhinestone high shoes by Roger Vivier.
“We are so used to seeing Mindy looking very sexy, very feminine, very daring,” Fitoussi said. “And I thought to myself: why not a suit?”
To give this look “the Mindy touch,” in Fitoussi’s words, they’ve boosted the glamor quotient with a vintage jeweled choker, which extends below the neckline.
A NEW APPROACH TO FRENCH STYLE
Sylvie is the first to criticize Emily for her ignorance of French culture and her American arrogance, berating her for talking about working at parties and treating Paris as “a personal amusement park.” But while Emily’s boss is in many ways the archetypal Frenchwoman in the series, Fitoussi had no interest in dressing her that way.
“I know how to create a look for the ‘perfect Frenchwoman,'” she said, enumerating “boring” basics: jeans, t-shirt, white sneakers, white or blue blazer, “or even beige if we’re crazy today.”
For season two, Fitoussi selected for Sylvie several red and one silver ensembles. (Silver earned the nickname “Tailleur Mick Jagger”). A flashy look she flaunts at the office includes a low-cut, gold Saint-Laurent blouse, black Maje skirt with a high thigh cutout, and Alaïa belt.
“That’s my idea of a work outfit,” Fitoussi said. “Black skirt, but instead of white, black or navy blue top, you choose gold.”
THE STYLE OF A NEW CHARACTER
Some of the more extravagant looks of the new season belong to a new character, fashion designer Gregory Elliott Dupree (Jeremy O. Harris). He initially appears in Saint-Tropez, wearing a green and white Casablanca faux fur coat slung over his shoulders and a Patou hat decorated with a Dolce & Gabbana flower pin.
“The truth is, when Jeremy O. Harris arrived, he was already dressed,” Fitoussi said. “Perfect, I don’t have any work to do, that’s what I thought.”
Although Fitoussi feels a special affinity for Gregory – “:if I were a man, I’d look just like Gregory Dupree” – she identifies a lot with Emily’s fashion sensibility.
“I’m always very colorful, and I mix patterns because I was a textile designer,” she said. “In Paris, people call me a parrot or a clown.”
For her, the important thing is that Emily always retains her audacious sensibility, even as she begins to learn the language and customs of her new city.
“I don’t want her to look like an ordinary French girl,” Fitoussi said. “I don’t want her to be a clone of what is or is supposed to be French fashion. If that happens, I will have failed in my mission.”
I am currently a news writer for News Bulletin247 where I mostly cover sports news. I have always been interested in writing and it is something I am very passionate about. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and spending time with my family and friends.