Get the Style Scoop on This Week's Episode of Empire from Costume Designer Rita McGhee
The Empire is starting to collapse and the drama just keeps on coming in this week’s episode at the Lyon family’s annual, extravagant white party. Jamal (Jussie Smollett) steps into the spotlight and shows his homophobic father, hip-hop mogul Lucious Lyon (Terrence Howard), his loud and proud Lyon roar and—spoiler alert!—finally comes out to the world. Hakeem (Byrshere Gray) and Camilla (Naomi Campbell) step out in public arm-in-arm for the first time and Lucious tries to have his cookie and eat it too by telling both Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) and Anika (Grace Gealey) what they want to hear.
Upon her arrival on the white carpet, Anika announces to the press and to the party-goers that she will reveal a “special announcement” at the end of the night. Cookie confronts Lucious and finds out that he is no longer going to leave Anika, as he had promised, and has moved up the wedding to next week. Being a Lyon, Cookie hides her heartbreak and gets ready to pounce on Boo Boo Kitty. She congratulates Anika and drops her own “special announcement”—that she and Lucious had a second, steamy hook up in the studio the day before.
“Cookie’s white party look was a collaborative effort with Taraji,” reveals costume designer Rita McGhee. “Taraji said ‘everyone wears dresses to white parties, but Cookie is not everyone.’ Cookie is a boss and is a powerful businesswoman, which is why we went with the structured, white Gucci jumpsuit and the Chrisitan Louboutin shoes (above),” explains McGhee. “The Roberto Cavalli jewelry Cookie is wearing came straight out of Monqiue Mosley’s closet. Monique’s husband [Timbaland] produces all the music for the show and Monique has been kind enough to lend us many of her personal pieces for Cookie’s wardrobe—she is our couture angel!”
While Cookie won the battle at the white party, Anika was not going down without a fight. “I put her in white again for her final look in the two-piece, white Gucci ensemble and paired it with a bold, burgundy ostrich feather jacket from Bex (above) because red is her signature color and gives her power ... but this was a deeper and darker red because Anika is about to get her revenge. She lost at the white party, but she wins at the end,” McGhee divulges.
We’ll be catching up with Rita McGhee between scenes of Empire, which airs every Wednesday on Fox at 9 p.m. ET, to chat about our favorite looks from the episode. Be sure to check in next week!