Empire's Greatest Season 2 Fashion Moments
SEASON 2, EPISODE 10: THE ULTIMATE STATEMENT PIECE
"It's by Helen Yarmak and I loved the colors in it," Nieddu says of Cookie's over-the-top fur moment.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 10: ALL BLACK EVERYTHING
"This is her ensemble for the whole episode," Nieddu says of Cookie's look. "It's a Gucci dress and it's a crackled, black-brown, stretched leather turtleneck dress. It's really structural and fit amazingly. It was sort of like armor. It was really fitted on the waist and hips and has a ruffle at the knee. Her ring is Kimberly McDonald."
SEASON 2, EPISODE 10: COMEBACK COUTURE
SEASON 2, EPISODE 10: BROCADE BEAUTY
"We try to do her in these sort of opulent power looks. They're just very rich and again they don't have to be typical boardroom looks," Nieddu says of Tomei's Lanvin jacket, which he paired with a silk black top from Milly.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 10: INMATE STYLE
For his performance inside Cookie's former jail, Hakeem rocks an Alexander Wang red and black hoodie with black Topman jeans. "A lot of times the surroundings will dictate the clothes and the color choices, so in this instance it needed to be something that was approachable and casual but still performance worthy."
SEASON 2, EPISODE 9: FIERCE IN FUR
For the first time in Season 2, Cookie rocked a look-at-me Georgine fur coat with matching Givenchy pants, a graphic MSGM blouse, Stuart Weitzman boots, a braided Givenchy belt, a Jimmy Choo handbag, and oversized sunglasses. Vivica A. Fox, who portrays Cookie’s sister, was meant to look like Cookie’s complete style opposite, Nieddu explains. Here, she’s dressed in an Elie Tahari coat with an Hugo Boss dress, Jimmy Choo pumps, Oliver Peoples sunglasses, and a Kate Spade handbag.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 9: DAYTIME GLAM
Don’t think a daytime stroll means Cookie’s going to take it down a notch. The beauty rocked a Versace sweatshirt with black pants along with a textured Comme des Garcon jacket and gilded Michael Kors cuffs. Actress and comedian Rosie O’Donnell hilariously wears an Old Navy jacket with a spoon-print skirt, while Fox sports a Tahari coat with a purple Reese blouse.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 9: Purple Poison
Alicia Keys made her Empire debut as Skye Summers, the pop diva that may or may not win over Jamal’s heart. For her cameo, Keys stuck to sexy statement pieces like a black and gold striped turtleneck, matching hoop earrings, and a suede lavender jacket.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 9: THIS GIRL IS ON FIRE
Keys stuns in a sexy, chest-bearing ensemble while recording with Jamal. In this scene, she rocks a bright red Opening Ceremony coat with a black bustier and fitted Dolce & Gabbana rose-print pencil skirt.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 9: POOLSIDE EASE
To welcome Anika to her and Andre’s new home, Rhonda took the casual route in an A-line Theory dress with a Red Valentino angora cardigan and grey suede Vince booties. “She’s at home, so I wanted her to have a kind of maternity vibe,” Nieddu adds.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 9: ICED TEA CONFESSIONS
As Anika struggles to decide how to handle her pregnancy, the formers Mrs. Lucious Lyon rocks a Thomas Maier shift dress with a vintage Yves Saint Laurent coat and a cream-colored Celine handbag.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 8: SQUAD GOALS
For Empire and Lyon Dynasty's megawatt battle, Cookie brought the drama in the fashion department. The matriarch rocked a head-to-toe Balmain look with a personalized "Cookie" Judith Leiber clutch and matching Christian Louboutin pumps. Porsha's sheer and metallic top is actress Ta'Rhonda Jones's own, which Nieddu paired with a miniature Betsey Johnson tie. To fit in with the crew, Laura rocked a matching Free People crop top with pants.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 8: BALMAIN ARMY
"It's such a don't f— with me outfit," Nieddu says of Cookie's look, which she sported as Hakeem and Freda Gatz engage in a rap battle. "She tried it on and it was perfect on her. I loved it on her. We put super high Louboutin pumps with it because the pants were so long."
SEASON 2, EPISODE 8: SECRETS REVEALED
For Vivica A. Fox's Empire arrival, the actress spilled the beans on Cookie's real name, Loretha. Of course, she did it in style with a Victoria Beckham dress.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 8: GRAPHIC STYLE
As usual, Hakeem rocks nothing but designer duds. For his rap battle, the artist donned a Givenchy tee.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 8: ACCESSORIES OVERLOAD
It's never too much for Cookie, which is why here she's dressed in a Dries Van Noten cardigan with a matching Wolford top and colorful Chanel pants. The artist hilariously carries her Christian Louboutin pumps along with not just one, but two Fendi handbags. So what was her standout piece? The sunglasses, Nieddu says. "She hadn't worn them this season, but these are actually the sunglasses from the pilot episode where she walks into the boardroom for the first time. I love those sunglasses and I said, 'Let's bring them back out!"
SEASON 2, EPISODE 7: A FOOL IN LOVE
“It was sort of like a '60s—it felt very '60s girl in love. It was like a romance novel meets '60s Mad Men,” Empire’s costume designer Paolo Nieddu says of Cookie’s Tom Ford blouse, Oscar de la Renta pants, and Iradj Moini ring.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 7: PINK PANTHER
For her latest flashback scene as Lucious Lyon’s mother, Kelly Rowland slipped into a vintage pink nightgown. “I chose this color because this scene is sort of depressing, and having her in the pink nightgown made it even more depressing,” Nieddu says of the thrift store find. “She’s a very inexpensive character for me to dress.”
SEASON 2, EPISODE 7: LADIES WITH AN ATTITUDE
Laura, the Mirage à Trois lead singer, rocks a Free People lace crop top with Forever21 pants. For the band’s look, Nieddu took inspiration from the Spice Girls and modern hit girl groups like Fifth Harmony. “Carmen is the one in black and I sort of made her, I call her the gothic one. I wanted each one to have their own really exaggerated look,” he says. “For Raquel in the blue, we call her Sporty Spice.”
SEASON 2, EPISODE 7: "WESTERN GLAM"
“This outfit came together literally at the last minute,” Nieddu says. “We had to scramble to put it together. It’s her Lyon Dynasty work look.” In the scene, Cookie sports an MSGM graphic blouse, high-waisted Derek Lam flares, and a Loewe belt with Kenneth Jay Lane rings and Fallon hoop earrings.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 7: BOARDROOM APPROPRIATE
For a serious deal-making scene, Marisa Tomei rocked an orange Maison Rabih Kayrouz dress. “She loves the colors and when she was standing it was really cool. It showed the body but it was still baggy. Her character has been sort of arty and sexy,” Nieddu says.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 7: GET DOWN TONIGHT
The '70s came to life in this party scene. Marisa Tomei sports a silver Costume National jumpsuit with Manolo Blahnik pumps, while the girls nearby all are dressed in night club-ready frocks. “They’re in the club, so I wanted it to be very #BalmainArmy. I rented a Balmain dress, the one green look. The scene was sort of like a Halston moment,” he says.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 7: IN HER SKIN
As Laura transforms into a star, her style matures as well. “It was like a $29 dress,” Nieddu says of the purple number she rocks here, which was found inside A’Gaci in Chicago and paired with an Anthropologie belt. “It was simple and still stood out, but it was approachable. It’s her sort of blossoming.”
SEASON 2, EPISODE 6: ALTERNATIVE LEOPARD
Cookie slays in a white Stella McCartney blouse with graphic leopards. "It was a cool way for her to do leopard print," Nieddu says. "It was a nod to Cookie's print in a new, summer way." The diva also sports a yellow Topshop skirt, a vintage Judith Leiber belt, an Eddie Borgo bracelet, Manolo Blahnik shoes, and a Balenciaga handbag.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 6: THE PERFECT FIT
The Lyon matriarch stuns in a Gucci jumpsuit with Kimberly McDonald earrings and a Judith Leiber clutch. "We added a shoulder pad to bump it up a little and give it drama," Nieddu says of the Gucci piece. "I knew it was her size and I knew it would work.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 6: OVERSIZED AND SHARP
Channeling her seductive side, Cookie wears an Alexander McQueen kimono-like top with an oversized Maison Margiela belt, black Michael Kors flare pants, and Oscar de la Renta tassel earrings. And while the image may not showcase each of the pieces, Nieddu explains that Henson knows how to rock them: "She knows which way to turn to the camera to play with it. She works it in the scene and will highlight a purse, for example, by putting it in her lap."
SEASON 2, EPISODE 5: SUNDAY'S FINEST
For Andre's baptism, Cookie sports a lady-like Christian Dior dress with Kimberly McDonald jewels, a matching Judith Leiber crocodile embossed clutch, and matching purple suede Paul Andrew pumps. "She's going to her son's baptism so she's kind of calmed down in this scene," Empire's costume designer Paolo Nieddu says."It's about him, not her, and so I thought this was a very appropriate dress that represents her style and is still bold."
SEASON 2, EPISODE 5: ALL NEON EVERYTHING
For a photo shoot with Lyon Dynasty, Tiana sports a sexy Agent Provocateur swimsuit with matching Aldo pumps. "We tried on like three different swimsuits and then we just knew this was the one. Her body is incredible to dress," Nieddu says. "The staging of that is this graffiti background and we had her matching those colors."
SEASON 2, EPISODE 5: CEO CHIC
While meeting a new promoter, portrayed by Andre Gonzalez, Cookie dons an Escada jacket with a Wolford tank, Erickson Beamon necklace, Kenneth Jay Lane bangles, a Jimmy Choo bag, CH Carolina Herrera shoes, and a vintage Christian Lacroix skirt. “I love this look. I got the skirt on eBay actually. It’s a vintage Christian Lacroix skirt. I got it for $45. It was cool and looked like an old Lacroix scarf that somebody had made into a skirt already," Nieddu says. "They were reselling it. The print has a telephone cord. It was so fitting."
SEASON 2, EPISODE 5: A COLORFUL RETURN
After Cookie chooses to once again trust Porsha, the eager assistant rocks a multitude of prints and patterns. Here, she sports Nike pants with a matching Nike T-shirt with a pink glitter graphic designer, an Akira vest, and Nieddu's own vintage brooches. The star also rocks an MCM backpack with her own sneakers and her own shoes and hat. "She first thought this outfit felt plain and then we just started adding things and it worked," Nieddu says. "She's fun. Her fittings are hilarious."
SEASON 2, EPISODE 5: MYSTERIOUS LACE
Rhonda wears a Sandro dress with black suede Topshop platforms and a matching BCBG envelope bag. "I made her style this season a little '60s, Valley of the Dolls. She looks cute, right?" Nieddu says. "Rhonda has a dark streak to her so it’s a nice combo of sinister and sweet and again appropriate for the church."
SEASON 2, EPISODE 4: ROSIE THE RIVETER
“The inspiration was Rosie the Riveter, totally,” Empire costume designer Paolo Nieddu says of Cookie’s Derek Lam top with matching culottes, Gianvito Rossi shoes, a Versace headscarf, Fallon hoop earrings, and three Michael Kors gold watches.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 4: SKINTIGHT CUTOUTS
Anika flaunts a white Roland Mouret dress with a geometric Jimmy Choo bag. “This is the opposite of a Cookie outfit, but it’s still keeping Anika’s classic lines. It’s sexy and conservative,” Nieddu says.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 4: OVER THE SHOULDER GLAM
As Mimi Whitman, Marisa Tomei shines on the show, but not without bringing her own flair. “The gold jacket is actually vintage Chanel,” Nieddu says. “Marisa actually brought that in and she was like, ‘What do you think of this gold Chanel jacket?’ It was fabulous and it was rich and lux and she’s into Empire and that’s Empire’s signature color, so it was very fitting.” Nieddu paired the look-at-me jacket with a black Army Surplus beret used as a prop and a Josie Natori silk camisole with a Henri Bendel ring.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 4: FANCIFULLY FLORAL
Cookie paired her newly chopped bangs with a white floral Dolce & Gabbana blouse and a crystal J. Crew necklace. “It was a moment between her and Hakeem. She was working and it was sort of the end of the night and it was just to be simplified and still doing prints, like she does a lot,” Nieddu says. “I thought it was pretty and I love the purple.”
SEASON 2, EPISODE 4: BLACK PANTHER PROWL
For Hakeem and Jamal’s music video shoot, all black was the look of choice. “The inspiration for the song was post-apocalyptic Black Panther,” Nieddu says. “Jussie wanted to be much more traditional, staying in the traditional Black Panther look, and I made Hakeem sort of the post apocalyptic version.” Hakeem sports Rick Owens for Y-3 boots with Topman jeans and a shirt from Iridium in Chicago while Jamal wears a Rick Owens turtleneck with black skinny Levi’s jeans, a Banana Republic leather jacket, and a beret from Army Surplus.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 4: LEATHER WEATHER
Cookie shines in head-to-toe Moschino with a matching, chain adorned bag, CH Carolina Herrera shoes, and Fallon hoop earrings. “It came in and Taraji saw it in the fitting room and she loved it,” Nieddu says. It was just a good pop. I wanted to head to toe, all red, all Moschino with the bag and everything. I knew she was going to be on that sound stage where everybody was in black and so she was going to pop out a lot.”
SEASON 2, EPISODE 3: DINNER TABLE DOLCE
For dinner with the Lyon family, Cookie sports a full head-to-toe Dolce & Gabbana look with a red rose Judith Leiber bag and a flashy Kenneth Jay Lane ring. "I love the polka dots and there's something sort of dramatic about the sleeve—there's so much glamour in this episode," says costume designer Paolo Nieddu, who was inspired by Sophia Loren for this ensemble.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 3: RICH KIDS OF EMPIRE
For his debut performance with Lyon Dynasty, Hakeem throws on a Balmain T-shirt with matching black leather pants. "It's a riches to riches story with these kids," Nieddu says. "They're like North West growing up wearing baby Balmain. Everything has to be fancy."
SEASON 2, EPISODE 3: RED DIVA
"I love this outfit. We paired it with a really cool black and red coat from Fendi pre-fall that was black, white, and red and fuzzy looking," Nieddu says of the Gucci, lace-up top ensemble. "The inspiration for the hair was kind of an Old Hollywood vibe. It was just sexy."
SEASON 2, EPISODE 3: THE GILDED LILY
For her grandiose arrival inside Lucious's party, Cookie sported a heavy-metal piece from The Blonds with matching Givenchy high-waisted pants and Fallon earrings.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 3: PARTY PEOPLE
Mr. Worldwide and 305, aka Pitbull, made a momentous, musically driven cameo in an all-white suit similar to the frocks he typically sports on stage.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 3: TAILORED METALLICS
Cookie effortlessly rocks a Versace gold suit with a geometric Michael Kors necklace.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 3: ANIMAL ADORATION
"In the script, Anika makes a reference about Cookie always wearing animal print and it was kind of a fun way to throw something in that wasn't leopard, so we went with zebra," Nieddu says of this Emanuel Ungaro jacket with Derek Lam jeans, a Marni fringe bag, and a Topshop necklace.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 3: POST-FAME FASHION
In this scene, Hakeem wears an off-white camo-print jacket while Valentina (Becky G) sports a multi-colored Bebe romber with a '70s-inspired sleeve. "We've seen her in the denim thing and we saw her sort of pre-game look and this is her first turn," Nieddu says. "We glammed her up a bit but kind of kept her in the same silhouette that we first met her in."
SEASON 2, EPISODE 2: GRAFFITI STYLE
Saluting Jamal, Cookie wears a Fendi jacket with matching gray suede riding pants and a blue Wolford bodysuit, graphic Topshop necklace, and Gianvitto Rossi denim shoes. "I love Wolford bodysuits on her for underneath. They're so nice. And I like the graffiti motif of the jacket. It goes with this place that Cookie's going to, which is the Lyon Dynasty. It's a tougher, more street building so I wanted her to have street-glam looks," says Paolo Nieddu, the show's costume designer, adding, "we buy cool things when we see them and I think that necklace was around $30."
SEASON 2, EPISODE 2: BEAUTIFULLY BECKY
As Valentina, a talent who's auditioning to join the record label, singer Becky G made her Empire debut in a Bebe denim jumpsuit, Bebe gold hoop earrings, gold Michael Kors wedges, and a custom "V" nameplate crafted inside the North Riverside Park Mall in Chicago. "My inspiration for her was old J. Lo, circa J. Lo clothing line 2003," Nieddu says. "She has an arch in this story so she has to start—I wanted her to look very mall, very Bronx. So, J. Lo was the inspiration."
SEASON 2, EPISODE 2: STUDIO READY
Tiana takes the rehearsal stage in a custom nude body suit with a black Topshop tank top and knee-high suede Cole Haan boots. “It was inspired by Kanye West’s Yeezy Adidas collection. I made it myself. We ordered a tulle bodysuit from Dance Discount Warehouse and we died it to match her skin,” Nieddu says. “I thought it was cute. It was so sexy and [Serayah] loved it. It’s inspiring and kids can totally copy it.”
SEASON 2, EPISODE 2: FASHION KILLER
Hakeem sports a Lanvin T-shirt, Vince jogging pants, and Prada sneakers. "It's so cute, just classic Hakeem casual," says Nieddu.
season 2, episode 2: SWINGING SIXTIES
In a touching moment with Jamal, Rhonda sports a gray, sleeveless Proenza Schoulder dress. "I borrowed my friend's little Chanel clutch, too," Nieddu adds. "The look for her this season is totally like a Sharon Tate-inspired '60s Stepford, Valley of the Dolls vibe. She's got that Saint Laurent vibe."
SEASON 2, EPISODE 2: EMPIRE'S END
As Andre prepares to turn his back on the record label, his outfits take on an at-ease approach. "They're in less of a corporate environment so the clothes are less corporate," Nieddu says. Here, he's wearing a knit Armani Collezioni shirt with Rag & Bone jeans. "[The shirt] works really well on Trai [Byers] because he's so muscular, so they're fitted and they're sexy, but they're still young."
SEASON 2, EPISODE 2: FLASHBACK APPEAL
Kelly Rowland, who portrays Luscious's mother in a flashback format, wears a vintage polyester slip.
SEASON 2, EPISODE 2: CASUALLY COOKIE
Dressed in a white, architectural Delpozo jacket with a pair of men’s Gucci jeans, matching, paint-splattered Manolo Blahnik pumps, Kenneth Jay Lane jewels, and a punchy, leopard-print Jimmy Choo handbag, Cookie is ready to begin a new chapter here. “I love this outfit so much,” says Nieddu, who explains that her less over-the-top look is reflective of her exit from the record label. “I love the idea of having her wear pants more. I love the paint splatter and I love the matching with the jeans and shoes. [Taraji] loved it. It was so fresh feeling—but we still did Cookie with the big necklace. It’s her daytime casual look.”
Season 2, Episode 1: Conservative Chic
For Anika's return, Nieddu made sure to reflect her newfound position within the company in this Gucci cream-colored cardigan. "She's sort of out of place in her environment there, so I wanted her to really contrast," he adds. "I really wanted there to be a contrast of how she's scripted as the debutante person."
Season 2, Episode 1: Orange Is the New Black
As jail-ridden Frank Gathers, Chris Rock simply sported a bright orange prison jumpsuit.
Season 2, Episode 1: Moschino Meets Prison
Cookie never fails to be over the top, which is precisely why Nieddu chose to dress her in this patchwork denim Moschino jacket. "I just loved it as a work look. I was just trying to make it sort of an office look for her," he tells us. "Her hair was perfect and it was one of the first things we put on her for the fitting and it was just, she just, it fit."
Season 2, Episode 1: Gucci Galore
Cookie kicked off Season 2 in a dramatic fashion, wearing this sheer, feathered ensemble from Gucci. "It was inspired by Marlene Dietrich in Blonde Venus," Empire's costume designer, Paolo Nieddu, tells InStyle. "In that movie she actually performs in a club and she comes out of a gorilla suit." Nieddu adds that the original scene called for Henson to wear a T-shirt, but she professed, "I don't want to be in a T-shirt!"