Season three of How to Get Away with Murder premieres tonight on ABC, and the Shondaland series is returning to TGIT with a whole new look—at least when it comes to the clothes. This season, Scandal costume designer Lyn Paolo has joined the show's creative team, and she’s giving Annalise Keating (played by Viola Davis) and her minions a fresh fashion update.
“These characters have gone through so much together as a group over the past three seasons, and I wanted to reflect that in a nuanced change in their costumes,” Paolo told InStyle. “Even though really only about a year has probably passed in their lives since the show started, the characters have seen such horror. They’ve definitely evolved, and now they look a little more grown up.”
When it came to choosing looks for Annalise in particular, Paolo had to make sure that she got it right. To do so, she channeled another fan-favorite character that she styles, Scandal’s Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington). “Annalise is being attacked on every front, and so many things have happened to her,” said Paolo. “After we learned about the loss of her child last season, I wanted to feel like she’s sort of suited up for this—much like the way I speak about Olivia on Scandal. Annalise is armored up to make it through the trials and tribulations that she’s experiencing this season.”
Paolo’s armor of choice for the legal powerhouse? “You’ll see a lot more jackets on her, as well as very structured dresses,” said Paolo. “We’re using a lot of Escada, Altuzarra, and Victoria Beckham to create a very body-conscious look.” In addition to her new designer pieces, Annalise’s wardrobe will be looking a bit brighter. “Her color palette is slightly different this season,” said Paolo. “She actually wears a lot of red, and there’s a lot less black than there was last year.”
Scroll down for 9 things that Paolo told us about the show’s new costumes.
1. You’ll See The Many Shades of Annalise Keating.
“Annalise’s coats are off the chart this season. She wears this Ferragamo coat with three-quarter sleeves (pictured above), and I loved that juxtaposition of the colors. The outside of the coat is a neutral and you don’t really know what’s happening, but on the inside you’ve got this raging purple. It reminds me of Annalise, because on the outside she appears one way—to people who don’t know what’s going on, she always seems so confident and calm. But then on the inside, when she gets home, she goes for that bottle of vodka. So I’m playing with the juxtaposition of colors a little bit. On the first day of filming, she wore a midnight blue Escada suit with abstract patches of burgundy, and I thought, well there you go—you think you’ve got this solid woman who has her act together and is a high ticket lawyer, but then inside everything is a little bit of a mess. It really resonated with me that the outfit displayed the two tones of this person.”
2. There are Key Differences Between The Characters’ Classroom and Courtroom Looks.
“Everybody has had a subtle change in their look. They’re evolving, and I don’t think they look the way they did before. It’s subtle on some, and it’s less subtle on others. There’s a great juxtaposition for the younger characters, because they’re students. So you have that world and that life that comes with an ‘I’m at a great school, but I’m still in my twenties’ look, and then you have them in the courtroom where they seem more grown up. There’s a balance of the two worlds and we focus on making the transition from the classroom to the courtroom seem seamless to the audience.”
3. The Wardrobe Changes Aren’t Just for the Girls.
“There’s been subtle changes in the guys’ looks, too. For Matt [McGorry], his character is a little less preppy. He’s growing up, he’s evolving, he’s broken up with his family. All of these things have happened with him, and now he’s not with Bonnie anymore and he’s moved on.”
4. Laurel Will Be Getting A Major Fashion Makeover.
“I think Laurel is very different this year. She’s got a little harder edge to what she’s wearing—it’s more abstract. I’m playing a lot within the parameters of fashion right now, and that's tricky. For instance, I don’t know what’s happening to the suit. Everything in our fashion world is constantly changing. Is the suit dead? I really don’t know.”
5. Salaries and Student Loans Are Taken Into Wardrobe Consideration.
“Oliver is the tech guy, and we didn’t really know how much money he made before—but I think he was better off than everybody. He does have a little Dior jacket that he’s obsessed with. The other characters are students, so they don’t have a lot of money—but I did buy each of them a significant statement piece. Michaela has an amazing Burberry pea coat that you’ll see her wear.”
6. Bonnie Is Switching Up Her Style.
“There is definitely an evolution on Bonnie. Her look is less floral and pink, and a bit bolder. We’ve really gone with the high-waisted, wide leg pant for Bonnie—which she rocks, and looks stronger wearing. Bonnie and Annalise are probably the biggest changes this season.”
7. The Keating Five Wears a Mix of High and Low.
“There’s such a dichotomy between our characters and the people that they work for every week. Sometimes the new characters are high-powered and other times they’ll be working-class folks that Annalise is helping out. But one thing that I really love about the show is that I can put one of our actresses in a skirt that was $12 with an amazing jacket that was $1,000. We can mix in Forever 21, because they’re kids.”
8. The Guys Will Have a Bit of British Flair.
“I’m making most of the shirts for the guys, but I have my usual gamut of friends all over the world. Paul Smith is always amazing and sends me brilliant things from London that you can’t get here, so there’s a lot more of the British look—skinnier trousers and shorter jackets—on the show than there was before.”
9. There Will Be Bigger Bling for Some, and Less for Others.
“The jewelry is a little more cutting edge and fashion forward. I’m loving ear crawlers and younger, hipper jewelry. You’ll see Laurel’s whole ear with cuffs, and diamonds up the whole lobe of her ear. For Annalise, we went really subliminal on the jewelry. She used to have a lot of statement vintage-looking jewelry, and that’s gone now. Annalise is so strong that less is more with that character, anyway.”