Our interview with October cover star and Scandal Emmy nominee Kerry Washington and behind the scenes video contained a lot of inside scoop on the show, its style-setting wardrobe and what’s next for D.C. fixer Olivia Pope. But wait, there’s more: Washington shares even more info on the hit show below. Season three of Scandal premieres tonight on City at 10pm ET/PT. And stay tuned for our Scandal fashion recaps every Friday as we break down the best looks from each episode.
Olivia Pope is based on real-life fixer Judy Smith. “Poor Judy, nobody had warned her research is one of the things I love most about my job. She was like, ‘Call me anytime, here are all my numbers, here are all my emails’—that was how she felt in the beginning and then about three weeks in she was like, ‘What do you want? Again?’ I just really wanted to soak up as much as I could about her world and her lifestyle.”
“From the beginning [of costume decisions], there was this metaphor of ‘wearing the white hat.’ So there was something about a palette of white, of lightness, of purity and innocence and justice, because that’s what the goal of the firm is.
“You tend to wear a lot of American designers out of respect for working for the White House. As a woman who works for herself, now Olivia’s an entrepreneur, she’s her own boss, she would break from that both colour-wise—not wearing dark colors, wearing a lighter, softer palette—but also with designers. She wears a lot of European designers. Olivia wears a lot of Gucci, Armani, Ferragamo, Dior, Escada. So it’s a lot of traditional European houses.”
“Olivia’s this fierce personality who spends a lot of the time telling people things they don’t want to hear. So I felt like the aesthetic, the palette was important in that way, too—when people come to you to fix something they need to feel comforted, like you’re going to take care of them. And since the words can be so harsh, I wanted the clothes to be softer and feminine.”
“We made the decision very early on that she would mostly wear pantsuits. So there’s a real strength to the wardrobe, but there’s also femininity. We always make sure the suits have a waist, that it’s not a boxy powersuit of the 80s or 90s. There’s a waist, there’s a lot of peplums: everything’s really tailored to have a feminine aesthetic.”