'Scandal' Fashion Credits: All the Details on What the Stars Wore
The Winter finale of Scandal sure didn't disappoint! Last night's episode reached a dark turning point where Olivia (Kerry Washington) decides–spoiler alert!–that she wants her father dead. This decision is especially evident in her wardrobe choices–where was all her signature white? "If you look at the whole episode, there are tiny touches of white, but it's pretty much all dark gray and blacks," costume designer Lyn Paolo tells InStyle. "We actually end in complete black. After Olivia decides she's going to take her father out, she's in dark clothes. Before that, the Prada houndstooth coat that she wears is actually the lightest she gets in the whole episode."
She wears the Prada houndstooth coat specifically when she goes to help Cyrus Beene (Jeff Parry). At this point, she's still in Gladiator mode with her white hat on and ready to fight Cyrus's battles. "It's the one moment in the whole episode where she's a bit more like the Olivia we knew in the beginning," Paolo explains. "We didn't want her costumes too dark at this point." From there, it goes straight into the darkest colors. "Everyone was freaking out on Twitter that Olivia was wearing so much black, especially when she was in her apartment!"
We'll have to wait until January for the next episode, but in the meantime, be sure to catch up on all the Scandal fashion looks from this season!
Season 5, Episode 4: Crown Jewel Shirt and J Brand Jeans
In the episode, titled "Dog-Whistle Politics," Olivia kept her wardrobe on the casual side while still holed up at home, wearing a simple gray tee from Crown Jewel, J Brand jeans, and Burberry boots. She topped her look with another oversized cardigan, this time a black and white one from St. John. "For the bulk of the episode, she's wearing jeans and a tee," Paolo explains. "But at the end when Fitz comes to pick her up and takes her on a date, she throws the cardigan on. She needed to be a little more 'Olivia Pope' as she went down the hallway to leave."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 21: MAX MARA COAT
"Shonda [Rhimes] came up with that symbolism," Paolo explained to InStyle.com. "The white coat now has blood thrown on it. It's been such a tough season for Olivia and her struggle with PTSD. She's still not back to her normal self yet and this shows it."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 21: ARMANI JACKET, ARMANI SHELL, RALPH LAUREN PANTS
"We were playing with color for this one because it's such a dark episode," Paolo said. "She's trying to help this young woman, regardless of all the stuff going on her in life right now."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 21: SCANDAL COLLECTION FOR THE LIMITED CARDIGAN, MAX MARA SHIRT, ARMANI PANTS, TIFFANY & CO EARRINGS AND NECKLACE
SEASON 4, EPISODE 21: ST. JOHN SUIT
"It's true blue Mellie," Paolo said. "We so often have her in red, but this just seems even more regal. There's so much red on the stage already from the stripes in the flag hanging behind her, so that's why we choose this blue."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 18: MAX MARA COAT, RAG & BONE SHELL, PRADA HANDBAG, J BRAND JEANS, GUCCI BOOTS
"We bought seven of the Max Mara coat that she wore throughout the show just in case," Paolo said. "But even so, she barely got blood on any of it. She's like a magical unicorn!"
SEASON 4, EPISODE 17: ARMANI JACKET, ARMANI PANTS, NATORI SHELL
"We're starting to play with color now," Paolo said. "It's a pivotal moment when she finds out about Michael and she knows she has to deal with it."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 17: ARMANI JACKET AND PANTS ON OLIVIA, ELIE TAHARI DRESS ON MELLIE
"We started her in dark navy pajamas, then moved to the black Armani suit, then on to lighter colors as the show progressed," costume designer, Lyn Paolo, tells InStyle.com. "Now she's doing her 'Olivia Pope' thing!"
SEASON 4, EPISODE 16: PROENZA SCHOULER JACKET, ARMANI PANTS
"She's trying to get back to normal, but she's still struggling," Paolo said. "This was our way of bringing her out of it a little bit. We rarely use that tone of blue, but you also see her usual grays and blacks in that jacket as well."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 16: ALICE AND OLIVIA DRESS
"We really felt that we had to create a different version of Lena," Paolo told InStyle.com. "We tried to make everything that she wore more structured than she normally would wear. Lena would say, 'These are grown-up lady clothes!'"
SEASON 4, EPISODE 16: VIVIENNE WESTWOOD COAT, ARMANI PANTS
"We're trying to introduce her normal colors back into her wardrobe," Paolo said. "The blacks, the grays, the silvers. But she's still struggling so we made sure the textural mix of colors in the coat showed that."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 16: DONNA KARAN COAT, CHANEL SCARF, MAX MARA DRESS
We've had to change Abby's look now that she's in the White House," Paolo said. "She is much more into suits now, but we didn’t want her to lose her personal style completely, so even though she was in a structural Max Mara dress, we made sure to put her in the Donna Karan coat, which she has worn the past 2 seasons."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 15: ARMANI COAT AND PANTS, MANOLO BLAHNIK PUMPS, PRADA HANDBAG
"Even though she looks good in her clothes, she's still struggling with PTSD," Paolo tells InStyle.com. "We wanted it to be true to how she would be feeling on the inside, so we kept her in dark clothes throughout the whole episode. Even the Armani coat she wears is from last season. We didn't want her to be wearing anything new."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 14: GIORGIO ARMANI COAT, PRADA BAG, J BRAND JEANS, GUCCI BOOTS
"She's still suffering post traumatic stress. She's not Olivia Pope yet," Paolo told InStyle.com. "We were playing with the idea that she blends in with the police in the beginning wearing a navy coat. Then she transitions into into realizing that there's been an error and goes into the crowd to be part of the protest. In those scenes, she stands out because no one else around her is wearing navy."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 14: OSCAR DE LA RENTA DRESS, NEIMAN MARCUS SHRUG, MAJORCA JEWELRY, MICHAEL KORS PUMPS
"Now that Mellie is running for office, we dressed her in red, white, and blue," Paolo said. "She is like the American flag!"
SEASON 4, EPISODE 13: BURBERRY COAT AND BOOTS, J. BRAND JEANS, VINCE SWEATER
"We wanted the look to be slightly off from her normal look so that it was clear that her kidnappers dressed her," costume designer, Lyn Paolo, explains. "We wouldn't normally use this particular coat on Olivia. Baby pink is not generally in her colorway, but overall it looks like they were at least trying."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 11: LELA ROSE DRESS, LYN PAOLO'S PEARLS
"This is typical Mellie," costume designer Lyn Paolo told InStyle. "She's trying to be strong, especially in the scene where she's seducing Andrew to steal his phones, so the dress was perfect for that."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 11: GIORGIO ARMANI SILK BLOUSE AND SKIRT
"We wanted her in all neutral because we knew there was going to be a big reveal of the damage on her back," Paolo said. "It would be more graphic with the muted colors of her wardrobe."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 9: PRADA HOUNDSTOOTH COAT
"It's the one moment in the whole episode where she's a bit more like the Olivia we knew in the beginning," costume designer, Lyn Paolo, explained. "We didn’t want her costumes too dark at this point."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 9: ESCADA BLAZER, PRADA HANDBAG, NATORI SHELL, ARMANI PANTS, MANOLO BLAHNIK PUMPS
"The ivory lapel insert makes it feel like a tuxedo jacket, but it's really not," Paolo said. "After she decides to take her father out, she's in dark clothes with tiny peeks of white."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 8: SCANDAL COLLECTION FOR THE LIMITED PEPLUM BLOUSE
SEASON 4, EPISODE 8: RALPH LAUREN COAT, ARMANI PANTS, PRADA HANDBAG
SEASON 4, EPISODE 8: CELINE BLOUSE, ARMANI SKIRT AND JACKET
SEASON 4, EPISODE 7: PRADA COAT, PRADA BAG
SEASON 4, EPISODE 7: PAUL SMITH DRESS AND JACKET
SEASON 4, EPISODE 6: SCANDAL COLLECTION FOR THE LIMITED COAT, CHRISTIAN DIOR TROUSERS
"Kerry and I designed that one," Paolo said. "Because you don't know who she's going to go see as she's walking down the hallway surrounded by guards, we wanted something really striking and strong looking so we went with that." Olivia Pope in Scandal
SEASON 4, EPISODE 6: ARMANI JACKET AND PANTS, MANOLO BLAHNIK PUMPS
"For her confrontation with David Rosen, we wanted her not in white because her life is conflicted at this moment. So we went with black and white," Lyn Paolo told InStyle.
SEASON 4, EPISODE 6: MICHAEL KORS DRESS, NEIMAN MARCUS SHRUG, VINTAGE CHANEL PEARL NECKLACE
"Mellie's back!" Paolo said. "We loved the oversized houndstooth print. The houndstooth is a thematic thing. There is lots of houndstooth throughout the show."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 5: DRIES VAN NOTEN BLOUSE, ALC SKIRT
"With Abby, we're starting to ramp up her wardrobe," Paolo said. "We're getting rid of her more urban look and moving towards a more professional look. Her fashion will start evolving and you really see it this season."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 5: ARMANI JACKET, TOM FORD TOP, ARMANI PANTS
"This is a signature Olivia look," Paolo explained. "We kept the colors dark and muted because she's working hard on a new case."
SEASON 3, EPISODE 4: ARMANI JACKET, TOM FORD SILK TANK, ARMANI COLLECTION PANTS
"We definitely picked a jacket was easy to take off," costume designer, Lyn Paolo, explained. "For that scene with the two of them, we couldn't have him unbuttoning 30 buttons. We consciously did that."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 3: ARMANI TWEED COAT, PRADA HANDBAG, MAX MARA PANTS
"Olivia wore this coat last season too," Lyn Paolo told InStyle. "It's so pretty in real life! It's a gray and multi-colored tweed."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 3: DONNA KARAN CARDIGAN, ARMANI BLOUSE, MAX MARA PANTS
SEASON 4, EPISODE 3: ARMANI JACKET
"This jacket is very reminiscent of Maya Pope from last year," Paolo said. "We're still playing with that this year."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 2: ARMANI JACKET AND PANTS
"Because she's doing this huge favor for the White House, the white hat's back on," costume designer, Lyn Paolo, told InStyle. "The white Armani jacket represents that she's back and not on the beach anymore."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 2: THE LIMITED'S SCANDAL COLLECTION JACKET, PRADA HANDBAG
SEASON 4, EPISODE 1: LA PERLA SWIMWEAR, DIOR SUNGLASSES
"For the first scene, Shonda Rhimes wanted sizzling heat, a white beach, and a white bathing suit," costume designer Lyn Paolo said. "Like a James Bond movie! We wanted something really romantic – an amazingly different image for the beginning of the season."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 1: GIORGIO ARMANI COAT
"This is actually what she wore when she left," Paolo explains. "This shows how little she took with her."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 1: GUCCI COAT
"This is an old coat actually," Paolo said of Olivia’s gray Gucci jacket with gold detailing. "She wore this a lot in Season Two. It's funny to bring back something that was an old friend."
SEASON 4, EPISODE 1: ESCADA JACKET AND PANTS
"We wanted to bookend the show with white," Paolo said. "Olivia's on the beach in white, then she's in muddy grays and dark colors during the show, and all of a sudden once she decides she's going to take the case, we decided to put her in the white hat again. When she and Fitz walk past eachother, we wanted it to be the Olivia Pope that he remembers – the Gladiator in white."
SEASON 3, EPISODE 18: VICTORIA BECKHAM JACKET, ETRO SHELL
"Because of the dark nature of the show, we definitely needed a lot of black," Lyn Paolo told InStyle.com. "We added the white Etro shell because you needed to see the tiny spot of blood on it."
SEASON 3, EPISODE 16: ESCADA JACKET
"We liked the fact that her black and white jacket looks like the Scandal logo, like paper going through a shredder," Lyn Paolo said. "It's very reminiscent of that."
SEASON 3, EPISODE 16: STELLA MCCARTNEY BLOUSE
"We didn't want Olivia in a suit for this episode," Lyn Paolo said. "We fell in love with the blouse and liked how it felt. It was better and softer for her meeting with Rowan at his office."
SEASON 3, EPISODE 16: ESCADA COAT
"If Abby was going to be Olivia's surrogate, she needed to look the part," costume designer, Lyn Paolo, told InStyle.com about her white Escada coat. "In that moment, she is Olivia Pope."
SEASON 3, EPISODE 16: AKRIS JACKET
"Since Olivia is at work first, it had to feel like an office look," Paolo said. "We wanted something soft and not black because she wears a lot of black in this episode. Plus, when her mother shows up, we wanted a stark contrast in their outfits."
SEASON 3, EPISODE 15: GIORGIO ARMANI JACKET & PANTS
"It's a very simple, clean look," Lyn Paolo said. "We wanted her to look business-like and prepared for a normal day in the West Wing."
SEASON 3, EPISODE 14: LAFAYETTE 148 JACKET
"We’ve never used this brand before," Lyn Paolo told InStyle.com. "But we choose this print because it showed how complicated and interwoven her life is right now. Everything is going wrong."
SEASON 3, EPISODE 14: GIAMBATTISTA VALLI DRESS, MICHAEL KORS CARDIGAN
"There are actual butterflies and flowers on the dress," Paolo said. "Because of this whole flirtation with Andrew, we wanted something with a little romance to it. Something sweet and innocent."
SEASON 3, EPISODE 14: ALBERTAFERRETTI COAT
"We needed to find something that didn't bulk and still looked elegant," Paolo said. "It symbolized her on the moral high ground and wearing the 'white hat.'"
SEASON 3, EPISODE 13: DOLCE & GABBANA BLOUSE
“The reason we loved this one is because of it’s beautiful and complicated pattern,” Lyn Paolo said. “It really represents how complicated the Daniel Douglas thing is.”
SEASON 3, EPISODE 13: ARMANI JACKET, PRADA TOTE:
“At the end of the episode, Olivia finally makes the decision to tell Fitz about Daniel Douglas,” Paolo said. “We wanted her in a simple, clean silhouette because it was back to business.”
Season 3, Episode 12: Dolce & Gabbana Jacket and Rebecca Bourke Necklace
Season 3, Episode 12: Melinda Eng Gown
“We wanted Mellie’s gown to echo Jackie Kennedy’s gown in her portrait,” Paolo explained about the scene where Mellie is standing near the portrait of the former First Lady. “It has a similar construction and drape that Jackie’s did, but it’s a modern reinvention of it.”
Season 3, Episode 12: Akris Jacket and Giorgio Armani Blouse
“These colors are a continuation of the ‘dark’ theme in this episode,” Paolo said. “Olivia’s confronting Mellie about her affair and it’s a really difficult topic for both of them. We couldn’t put her in white.”
SEASON 3, EPISODE 11: PRADA COAT (ON OLIVIA), ESCADA DRESS (ON MELLIE)
"They're like the red queen and the white queen," costume designer, Lyn Paolo, told InStyle.com about the ladies' striking looks. "Olivia's wearing her typical battle armor coat with chrome buttons because she knew she had to face Mellie."
Season 3, Episode 10: Armani Collection Jacket
“Since the story is a continuation from episodes 8 and 9, we wanted to keep her in gray,” Paolo explained of Olivia’s checkered Armani jacket. “We wanted to darken her costume up a bit because she finally realizes who her mother is.”
Season 3, Episode 10: Dolce & Gabbana Jacket
“We played with the black and white theme with this jacket,” Paolo said. “We wanted something a little bit feminine for this moment she has with Jake, so we found this jacket with lace on it, which we rarely use. Her clothes are usually much simpler than that.”
Season 3, Episode 10: Joie Sweater
This is Olivia’s wine and popcorn look,” Paolo explained. “We dressed her the way she would on a normal evening when she calls Fitz, but this time, she’s calling her father.”
Season 3, Episode 9: Max Mara Suit
“We know that Olivia would wear this Max Mara suit across three episodes (Episode 8, 9, and 10),” Paolo told InStyle.com. “But it turned out to be a happy fate because I wouldn’t have wanted her in white. The muted dark tones of the suit worked for the dark storyline.”
Season 3, Episode 8: Dior Houndstooth Coat
“We wanted this moment to be super dramatic and feminine, like an Audrey Hepburn moment,” Lyn Paolo explained of Olivia’s houndstooth Dior coat that she wore when getting off of Fitz's helicopter. “It’s her honor, she’s full of confidence in this moment.” Paolo paired the coat with a Bajra scarf, Gaspar Gloves, and Olivia’s signature Prada bag.
Season 3, Episode 8: Chloe Blouse and Armani Pants
“We wanted this to be a typical Olivia Pope look for during the day, because she technically didn’t know she would end up at Fitz’s,” Paolo said. “But we knew we were going to have a shot of Fitz’s hands on the back of her blouse, so we changed the buttons to darker ones for contrast. They really stood out.”
Season 3, Episode 8: Burberry Blazer and Armani Pants
“This is a more traditional Olivia Pope office look,” Paolo told InStyle.com of Olivia’s structured Burberry blazer, silk Armani tank, and wool Armani pants. “ It’s her white gladiator suit.”
Season 3, Episode 7: Michael Kors Houndstooth Dress
“For the whole beginning of the episode, Mellie (Bellamy Young) is in Michael Kors houndstooth,” Lyn said. “We thought it would be great if both women were in blue and black so that they echo each other.”
Season 3, Episode 7: Giorgio Armani Blouse
“The Giorgio Armani blouse is a royal blue silk with a navy lining, which changes color in different light,” Paolo said. “Olivia never wears blue, but we did that on purpose because we wanted to juxtapose the two women in Fitz’s life.”
Season 3, Episode 7: Christian Dior Coat
“We had initially intended to use it as an evening coat,” Paolo explained of the black and white Christian Dior coat Olivia wore. “Kerry Washington and I decided just to use it for a moment that was really striking – the phone call with Fitz. We figured, why can’t she go to work in a black coat with a satin collar?”
Season 3, Episode 7: Dolce & Gabbana Dress
“The Dolce amp Gabbana floral and fruit motif dress is so out of character for Mellie,” Paolo said. “Because it’s a flashback, we wanted to make it feel like a different Mellie. It’s so sweet and adorable.
Season 3, Episode 7: Escada Dress
“We wanted a completely different vibe than the Dolce amp Gabbana dress,” Paolo said of Mellie’s Escada dress. “All of a sudden you see her in this bright red sheath dress, sort of like a fallen women, angry with Fitz. It works with the red, white, and blue of politics.”
Season 3, Episode 6: Armani Jacket and Stella McCartney Pants
“The reason we started with this jacket is because when you first find her at the desk, she’s really sad,” Lyn Paolo explains. “She’s learned this horrible truth about Fitz. It’s a chaotic print and that represents how chaotic her life is right now.” She pairs the Armani jacket with Stella McCartney slacks and a Prada handbag.
Season 3, Episode 6: Escada Jacket and Rachel Zoe Pants
“Every time Olivia is with a client, she’s wearing the ‘white hat,’ so whenever she is with Josie (Lisa Kudrow), she’s wearing white,” Paolo said of Olivia’s Escada jacket. She paired her classic white jacket with Rachel Zoe pants and a Kim Lee Ozawa necklace. As for Abby's (Darby Stanchfield) look, Paolo chose a striking Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress, a Robert Rodriguez leather trench, and jewels by Robyn Rhodes.
Season 3, Episode 6: Armani Coat
“This coat is more texture than we normally use and again, it feels chaotic,” Paolo explained of Olivia’s buttoned Armani coat. “It’s a super mixed up, chaotic boucle wool. It actually has gray and pink and blue in it as well, which doesn’t show on camera, but it’s so beautiful.”