One of the most exciting features of FOX’s new hip-hop series, Empire, has been its revolving door of impressive guest stars. The series quickly cemented its star-studded status with appearances by Naomi Campbell and Gabourey Sidibe, but the show’s star power went through the roof last night with the debut of Courtney Love’s character, Elle Dallas. Once one of Empire’s most successful hit-makers, Dallas has since fallen off the charts. The drug-addicted, delusional, demanding diva is in dire need of a comeback (and a serious reality check!) or she risks being dropped from the label.
Elle’s opening outfit reflects her desperate attempt to cling on to the remnants of her fading diva status. “She tries to hide the hot mess [she is] and her pain behind the big furs and the bling,” costume designer Rita McGhee tells InStyle about Elle’s bright, turquoise Haute Hippie dress and vintage fur coat (above). “Elle wants to show the world that she is still a star.”
Cookie (Taraji P. Henson), who is one of Elle’s biggest fans, eventually convinces the singer to become one of her clients with the promise of rejuvenating her career. Ready to get to work, Cookie shows up to her first meeting with Elle in her version of office chic: a leopard-printed DVF jumpsuit (above). “This jumpsuit is Cookie’s way of doing the pantsuit,” McGhee explains. “This look shows her sass and her sexiness but it also shows her power because it’s controlled. This is how a music woman does a business suit.”
We’ll be catching up with Rita McGhee in between scenes of Empire, airing every Wednesday on FOX at 9 p.m. ET, to chat about our favorite looks from the episode so be sure to check back in next week!