Rachel Bilson Can’t Believe She Wore This Shoe on The O.C.
But Melinda Clarke still keeps a pair of the early aughts staple in her closet.
In 2005, I had one fashion goal: own a spectrum of fitted Lacoste polos to rival that of The O.C.'s Marissa Cooper. Considering my sole source of income was my $5/hour babysitting gigs, I never quite cracked the crocodile-emblazoned echelon of dressing. Sixteen years later, a Lacoste polo is no longer the financial equivalent of the Tiffany diamond for me, nor is it on my wishlist — and still, I get a tiny pang of jealous nostalgia when I see someone wearing one, living out my rich kid dreams with the ease of Summer Roberts uttering a perfect, subtext-infused "ew."
For Rachel Bilson and Melinda Clarke, who played Summer and Julie Cooper, respectively, the mid-aughts costumes tell a story, too. I caught up with the actors ahead of the launch of their O.C. rewatch podcast, Welcome to the O.C., Bitches!, while they were deep in nostalgia mode.
Bilson, who was 21 when the show began filming, was stunned by the "amount of bronzer and makeup" in the first season's early episodes, but one outfit proved particularly haunting for the star. In episode six of season one, "The Girlfriend," Summer wears what Bilson would describe as a "Juicy [Couture] terrycloth zip-up dress with a hood" — and, the pièce de résistance, a set of platform Rocket Dog flip-flops (yep, you know the ones). "Those Rocket Dog platform flip-flops are just like, ohhhhh dear lord," Bilson said.
Clarke was no stranger to the now near-extinct shoe herself — in fact, she still keeps a pair at home.
"When actors have to be on set, we sometimes have to maintain our height for whatever reason. Those are super comfortable instead of wearing heels all day long," Clarke said.
Bilson also recalled a custom pair of platform UGGs designed for this very purpose. "They made me platform UGGs," she remembered. "Customized UGGs, but put platforms on them so I could be comfortable but tall enough. I'm 5'2", so I need the extra height help."
"Very rarely do we actually get to see the shoes [on screen]," Clarke added, noting that she petitioned hard to give some of Julie's more memorable boots the star treatment.
"Julie always had these cool boots, and I'd say to the DP, 'Look at this outfit. Can you just pan up?' We need to feature these boots!"
One of Clarke's favorite boots moments, in "The Rainy Day Women," ("smoking a cigar with the boots") did (luckily) make it to air.
"It's like a lifetime ago," Bilson said of watching the show's early episodes 18 years after they were filmed. "I actually have gotten a little emotional watching it, just because it's like God, things were so different."
R.I.P. to our Rocket Dog flip-flops. They treated us (and the cast of The O.C.) well.
Welcome to the O.C., Bitches! launches on Tuesday, April 27.