The Hidden Meanings Behind the Outfits From 'Emily in Paris' Season 3

Costume designer Marylin Fitoussi breaks down the details and reveals how colors, cuts, and even socks are part of the story.

Emily in Paris - Season 3 Costumes


Something fun about watching your favorite TV show? Often, the outfits tell part of the story — and that's especially the case when it comes to Emily Cooper from Emily in Paris (played by Lily Collins). While we've envied the character's ability to mix prints and rock whimsical hats for three seasons now, even the smallest of details, such as the shape of her pants or the color schemes she gravitates towards, hold great meaning.

For instance, the show's costume designer, Marylin Fitoussi, tells InStyle that the first form of symbolism for season 3 occurs in the very first scene, which is a dream sequence (spoilers ahead).

“I love that in the first episode you see Emily falling down from the Eiffel Tower in this pink feather cape," she tells us. "For me, a very nice way to say, ‘Bye-bye, pink.’ Because now I've maybe created a monster — pink is everywhere. So, it was a funny and poetic way to say, ‘OK, bye-bye, birdy. Bye-bye pink.’ And let's find the color of the next season. What will be the next 'it' color?"

Emily in Paris Costumes


For the record, our guess is green, which both Emily and her pal Mindy (Ashley Park) do wear quite often in the latest episodes. Fitoussi doesn't disagree with this assessment, although she says it wasn't intentional.

"My favorite outfit is a white-and-green outfit, so you're probably right," she says.

Emily in Paris - Green Outfits


One thing that Fitoussi does know for certain is that Emily's style is evolving and she's beginning to dress more like the core group around her. In season 3, Emily and her French boss, Sylvie (Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu), begin to adopt each other's aesthetics, and their fashion choices hint at their growing relationship.

"I wanted to make a game — a mirror between Emily and Sylvie. [Lily] said, ‘OK, it's a great idea.’ So, I said, ‘OK, Sylvie will take a touch of color from Emily. Because you have love and respect, and you both know that the other one has a great style.' And, for example, Emily is wearing high-waisted trousers, which are typical Sylvie. So, we were playing this mirror game between the two characters, which was fun to do — to make Emily more Parisian with some very precise details but to keep her very colorful style.”

Emily in Paris Pants


Emily in Paris Sylvie


A similar connection can also be seen with Emily and her friend Camille (Camille Razat). Fitoussi says she'd often add color to Camille's look if "it was a strong moment," because the character typically wears black and white — something, she jokes, the show's creator Darren Star calls "the French national colors." However, Emily can be seen in plenty of black and white this season, as well, showing the influence Paris has had on her. Even Emily's new love of socks ends up being meaningful.

“Camille was the first one wearing socks with loafers, et cetera. So now, Emily's also a little bit into it because she was watching Camille, the fashion girl.”

Emily in Paris Camille


However, while Fitoussi may have considered every tiny detail when dreaming up these looks, she's still stumped when it comes to one thing: Season 3's must-have piece. In years past, the Netflix show has led to spikes in Google searches for random items, such as pink pants or Hood by Air jackets. "I couldn't imagine that the red beret would be so present in Paris on many, many, many tourist girls," she adds. "It's very funny and lovely to see."

The costume designer does predict that people will love all the long boots and chunky shoes she used to complete outfits.

"I think maybe chunky shoes can be the pieces of the moment," she says. "I am really curious. I will see the next day. On the 22nd, we will need to check the Instagram account and see what is the favorite."

Emily in Paris Outfits


Fitoussi says that this time around, she really tried to have a fresh approach when it came to Emily's style. She even collaborated with Collins to make sure nothing felt too repetitive.

"It was very helpful to have Lily with me because she has a great memory. As soon as she said to me, ‘Oh, Marylin, I think that this print reminds me too much of print that we use in season 1.' OK, we reject those pieces," she tells us. She says the two have gotten close after working together for so long, so they're no longer afraid to be open and honest. "She allowed me to push my limits and to go further."

Emily in Paris Costumes


There is one small connection to season one buried in this batch of episodes, though — a purple dress, which Fitoussi originally bought years ago, but could never quite make work. It finally makes an appearance when Emily in at the Luberon in Provence.

"I bought this dress for season 1 and I couldn't find a way to style it — I couldn't find a nice jacket or whatever. And suddenly, in season 3, I found the perfect jacket. So, sometimes you need to collect and be patient. I do that for my own clothes — sometimes, I really love pieces, but I can't find the perfect top or the perfect jacket. You need to have a little bit of space, but no rush. Don't worry, someday you will find the perfect combination. It took me three seasons to finally find the perfect match for this very nice dress."

Emily in Paris Purple


Fitoussi makes clear that no matter how much each character's style choices shift, she will never stop adding hats to outfits.

“I read some criticism that said, 'Please, please, make her stop the hats,'" the costume designer tells us. "I love hats. I think it finishes a silhouette in a very nice way."

Emily in Paris Hats


She says that historically, hats hold meaning. In Europe at the beginning of the 1900s, "to have a hat on your head was a sign that you belonged to the aristocracy." Plus, they're fun.

"For me, it's a very nice accessory. I don't know why people are so shy regarding caps, hats, scarves. It's beautiful. So, I'm fighting for hats and all kinds of things that you can have on your head."

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