‘Scandal’ fashion returns with new season

With the start of season four of ABC’s “Scandal” (insert praise hands emoji here), viewers of the drama- filed episodes watch not only for what Olivia Pope will do, but what she will wear. Now, gladiators can bring a piece of the show’s wardrobe to their own closets.

Set in Washington D.C., “Scandal” is about a White House Communications Director, Olivia Pope, who leaves to start her own crisis management firm while still having unfinished business with the president, Fitzgerald Grant. Created and written by Shonda Rhimes, the show had 11.9 million viewers on the Thursday night opener, up 13% from last fall according to Deadline.com.

The costume designer for the show, Lyn Paolo, continues the dramatic elements of the storyline in the character’s wardrobes. Between love triangles and murders, the clothing on screen reflects the tone of each episode.

Pope, played by actress Kerry Washington, is notorious for wearing a simplistic color scheme of white, cream, grey or black. From her D.C. winter-ready coats to her famous wide-leg pantsuits, Pope struts through the White House as if she runs the place.
But why this bland, neutral color pallet for such a vital character in the show?

“Her character is very puzzling and so is her wardrobe,” said Mariah Williams, a junior fashion merchandising major and “Scandal” fan. “This color scheme is very modern, very clean.”

Junior Fashion Merchandising major, Emily Sauer, also recognizes the parallel between the costume design and the story line.

“Her fashion is ahead of the game, which represents that [Olivia Pope] is ahead of the game,” Sauer said.

“It sets her a part from the rest of the characters.”

Compared to the other female leads, whose wardrobes take on a more simple and dark color scheme, Pope maintains a structured, neutral attire.

Nancy K. Murray, PLNU professor of fashion and interiors, said that Pope could be styled in white because it’s a power symbol or because of the contrast of the actress’s darker skin tone.

“The reason behind it could just be physical,” Murray said. “It makes it easier to see her; it makes her stand-out.”

Murray said ideas of colors are very Westernized. In Asian countries, white is worn at funerals to symbolize death, she said.

The Limited, a women’s clothing chain launched an exclusive “Scandal” inspired line in stores on September 23. Washington, Paolo, and the Limited’s creative director Elliot Staples created the trendy line for the working woman and fans alike, according to TheLimited.com.

A sales associate at The Limited, Fashion Valley said that the whole team adores the new line. An array of wool, tweed, and satin fill the “Scandal” section of the store. Classy slacks and simplistic sleeveless tops make it easier on the consumer to mix-and-match. The line’s price ranges from $49 to $298, which includes bold, structured coats that are an Olivia Pope signature. However, in San Diego, these coats can’t be put to much use.

“San Diego is a tough place to sells these extravagant and textured coats,” the Limited sales associate said. “We will be getting more coats in the winter, but only one in each size.”

The kick-off event was a success, she said. And, so far, the line has been receiving good reactions from costumers coming in the store.

“The collection is a nod to our devoted fans, to fans of fashion and to women everywhere who are inspired to boldly pursue their passions and look good while doing it,”

Washington said in a press release from the brand.

Still, the line incorporates the cream, grey and black color palette with a hint of blush pink to transfer the artistic tone from on-screen to the store front.
In the next 11 weeks, Shonda Rhimes will have viewers on the edge of their seats, anxiously watching Olivia Pope outsmart, but more importantly, outswagger the nation’s capitol.


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