The 15 Best Fashion Moments from Scandal Season 5
TGIT! This season of Scandal has seen its fair share of drama, from Fitz and Olivia's heart-crushing breakup to Mellie's run for president. With all of these twists and turns in the White House, it's no wonder that Kerry Washington's character's wardrobe has undergone a drastic change, from her usual, muted gladiator looks to bright red wrap coats and royal blue cardigans.
"We began the season continuing with the palette of light and dark," the show's costume designer, Lyn Paolo, tells InStyle. "This palette, as all Gladiators know, was the template that expressed Olivia's emotions. Then, Shonda Rhimes in her brilliance, wrote a brand-new Olivia. This Olivia is stronger, more determined, and wears bright red, orange, and royal blue. This Olivia is a new type of Gladiator, not working for others but determined to be her own person. When Shonda expressed that we would be going in a new direction, both Kerry [Washington] and I thought that it was a perfect moment to change Olivia's look."
Regardless of her changing wardrobe, one thing has remained constant: Olivia Pope knows how to rock an amazing outfit, whether she's gladiating, working for Mellie's campaign, or at home enjoying wine and popcorn.
Expect to see even more great looks from Ms. Pope on tonight's season finale of Scandal, which airs on ABC at 9 p.m. ET. Before you tune in, check out the best fashion moments from this season!
Episode 1: Rubin Singer Black-and-White Gown
Episode 3: Christian Dior Lapel Coat
Devout fans of the show will remember Olivia's strong white lapel from when she went to the farmhouse in Vermont. In Episode 3, she wears a black and white version by Christian Dior. “This is actually the first time in a while that she’s been in those colors because things have been very complicated in her life," Paolo says. "But now she’s standing tall by her man.”
Episode 4: 360 Cashmere Cardigan
Olivia hides out in her apartment to avoid the media storm surrounding her public affair with Fitz during Episode 4. "This is her normal wine and popcorn look," Paolo says. "When she realizes that someone is watching her, she wraps the cardigan around herself and then gets help immediately from Huck and Quinn." She wears a La Perla camisole and pants with the gray 360 Cashmere piece from Bloomingdale's.
Episode 6: Armani Collection Jacket and Ralph Lauren Pants
In Episode 6, Fitz proposes to Olivia, but it's not in the most romantic setting."We didn't want her in gladiator mode in this scene so there's no white," Paolo says about Olivia's navy Armani Collection jacket and black Ralph Lauren pants. "She wasn't planning on this happening. This wasn't a happy proposal, so there was no reason for her to be dressed up. She thinks it's just business as usual."
Episode 7: Armani Jacket, St. John Tank, and Ralph Lauren Trousers
For Episode 7, Olivia sticks to her classic gladiator uniform: an Armani jacket, St. John tank, Ralph Lauren trousers, and Manolo Blahnik pumps. "This is her strong 'Olivia Pope' look," Paolo says. "The black and white chevron jacket is the one part of the episode that's the old Olivia—the black and white that we're used to seeing."
Episode 8: Beaded Oscar De La Renta Coat
Still entrenched in the West Wing, Olivia steps in as a faux First Lady to receive guests from the fictional nation of Bandar in Episode 8. Outside of the White House though, she wears a beaded Oscar de la Renta coat over the dress, which Paolo chose to contrast Olivia's father when the two meet up. "We thought it was great that she went toe to toe with Rowan in this regal and glitzy coat," Paolo says. "He's like a preacher so we thought it would be a great contrast. She's so dressed up and so obviously part of the White House."
Episode 9: Carolina Herrera Holiday Dress
Episode 10: Bright Orange Akris Dress
After the winter hiatus, Olivia Pope returns wearing a bright orange Akris dress in the opening scene of Episode 10 that had us wondering where she left all her gray power suits. "That dress is the very first time we see Olivia in color, so we wanted it to be really bright," Paolo explains. "When she takes off her coat, it's so startling because you've just never seen her in this kind of color before. We did it purposely for shock value."
Episode 10: Embroidered Escada Coat
Later in the episode, she mixes her newfound bright colors with more of her usual fare. She wears a red Escada coat with a floral pattern on it and underneath is a black Ralph Lauren sheath. "We're mixing a lot of black tones with the bright colors in this episode because with her new determination, there's also a darkness to that," Paolo says. "The audience will see a lot of interplay of black mixed with all these colors."
Episode 13: Marigold Narciso Rodriguez Dress
Episode 14: Max Mara Coat
"This is her new gladiator look," Paolo says of Olivia's orange Max Mara coat from Episode 14. "It's a newer version of her. It's brighter and bolder." With the wrap coat, she wears a Pucci top, Ralph Lauren pants, and Manolo Blahnik pumps. She carries her trusty Prada handbag, of course—except this time, it's in red!
Episode 15: Margaret O'Leary Cardigan and Oscar de la Renta Blouse
By Episode 15, Olivia's on #TeamMellie and that means she starts wearing a lot of royal blue, one of Mellie's favorite colors. But in this episode, she's also conflicted over different things, so the color works in both respects. "She's trying to help Mellie but she's also trying to put out all these other fires," Paolo explains. "She's feeling blue and trying to figure out who her enemies are." She wears a Margaret O'Leary cardigan with an Oscar de la Renta blouse, Stella McCartney pants, Yves Saint Laurent pumps, and her trusty Prada purse (this time in marine blue).
Episode 15: Alexander McQueen Jacket
Later in the episode, she wears a look that's even more shocking than her new brightly hued wardrobe staples of late: a gray Alexander McQueen jacket over a black Natori shell paired with her go-to black Ralph Lauren pants. Paolo says: "Olivia and Mellie come to an agreement in the end and she just lets Mellie be Mellie. In the past, her clients were always at the forefront and she was always in the background being the puppet master. We thought for this particular moment that Olivia should blend into the background and be the old Olivia so that people wouldn't notice her pulling the strings behind the power."
Episode 16: Giorgio Armani Suit
Olivia is in full-on gladiator mode in Episode 16. Her working wardrobe is back again, but you’ll still see a little color mixed in. “This is one of the rare times we’ve used a full suit,” Paolo says about the navy blue Giorgio Armani blazer and trouser combo. “She's being a fixer and gathering dirt on the opposition. We see her taking a lot of meetings because of it and that’s why she’s wearing a suit this episode.” She also wears an Escada blouse and Jimmy Choo shoes.