A-dressing a crisis: 'Scandal' star, costume designer 'conspirators' from the start

Posted: February 28, 2013

EVEN ON THE NIGHTS when ABC's "Scandal" might be one long eye roll, Kerry Washington's wardrobe commands attention.

Because attention's been paid.

Washington - who stars as Olivia Pope, Washington, D.C.'s best-dressed crisis manager - told reporters visiting the "Scandal" set last month that she and the show's "phenomenally talented" costume designer, Lyn Paolo, "have been co-conspirators from the very beginning."

At their first meeting, "we got together with tearsheets and pictures we had ripped off the Internet [for ideas], and we had about 90 percent of the same pictures."

Washington on some of the thinking behind Olivia's look:

* "She's so tough and hard that we wanted to make sure that the clothes were softer."

* "From a storytelling point of view, I think it helps to have Olivia in white, in a color of innocence. Because even though she's not always innocent, she's always coming from a place of good intention."

* "In all the flashback episodes, all of the designers are American. Because when you work at the White House, it's important that you wear American designers. So you have a lot of Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors. Whereas in the . . . modern-day Olivia, we have a lot of European designers. Because now that she works on her own, she can wear more Gucci, Escada, Valentino, Louboutin, Chloe."

* "The biggest thing I've learned in playing Olivia is the importance of tailoring. Because we really take everything and make sure that it has the right fit. Nothing is off the hanger. . . . I would say to every woman, always, find a local tailor. It doesn't have to be someone who's [expensive]. Your clothes should fit you."

-Ellen Gray

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