Attention Gladiators: Your relentless fangirling over Olivia Pope’s fashion has paid off! Scandal’s lead, played by the gracious and gorgeous Kerry Washington, and costume designer Lyn Paolo have taken their killer style to The Limited. The two are crafting a line with the retailer's creative lead, Elliot Staples, that channels Pope's take-charge attitude.
“Dressing as a Gladiator means not being afraid to have it all—to be glamorous, smart, powerful, and sexy,” says Washington. "There’s this history in fashion that in order to be a powerful woman means you have to dress like a man, and we wanted to go away from that. We wanted to figure out how to express both power and femininity through fashion for this character, because she's a woman who is not afraid to be the most powerful character in the room."
The result is a collection that includes all of Pope's staples: a pastel coat, an up-for-anything blouse, and a cape trench in her signature white, which “reflects the armor Olivia puts up,” says Paolo. The reason white is her go-to color is both a reflection of the character and the call of TV, Paolo explains. "It was really important that Olivia Pope stand out in a room full of men dressed in dark suits; that she be the central focus, the main power point of that room."
Speaking of standing out, there are also some gorgeously soft colors in the line, including baby pink, sage green, greige and ivory. "This is a woman who when she walks into a room, she needs to feel like she brings a sense of openness and justice and calm and peace," explains Washington. "I don’t want to walk into a room and intimidate clients who come to me on their most terrified day, I want to wear colors that make them feel comfortable and relaxed and at ease."
And because “she wears the pants in her life,” says Washington, the duo drummed up three Pope-approved trouser styles—a slim-cigarette, a wider regular cut and a super-wide leg. "I figured when you’re a woman who wears pants all the time, you want to have some options," she says. "We’re trying to update this idea of the sexy powerful woman, and settling on pants as her standard allowed us to really play with more femininity in the jacket shapes."
Get ready to give your closet a Scandal makeover—the mix-and-match pieces start at $49. Just in time too: Season 4 premieres September 25. So, your closet? You bet it’s handled.
Monday, September 22, Kerry Washington will be instyle.com/kerryday.Guest Editor! Check back throughout the day for exclusive content straight from the actress herself. Go to