At first glace, the fashion in Euphoria is seemingly mundane, another output from the assembly line of like high school dramas about hypersexualised teenagers setting TikTok trends. It’s only when you watch the show it becomes increasingly apparent that this isn’t a throwing together of a look, this is a carefully curated mood board, the sartorial choices are a reflection of the character’s background, adding both texture and context. Heidi Bivens, the costume designer for the show is known for dressing up complicated characters in an interesting way—her extensive work as a fashion journalist and an editorial stylist comes in handy while creating a costume story for a character.
Her first full-fledged project was the 2012 film Spring Breakers, where she fine-tuned the wardrobe of all four actors according to the personality of their characters, even if the theme was a wild beach vacation. Modest bikinis and sneakers for Selena Gomez—the shy one. Fishnet, dainty bikini and pink hair for Rachel Corine—the troublemaker. For Heidi, God is always in the details. But it was her work on Euphoria that earned her multiple Emmy nominations and made the series a pop culture and fashion phenomenon.
Often the fashion on popular sitcoms doesn’t draw a parallel between the characters and their socio-economic backgrounds. High school kids carrying around Gucci backpacks, even was their parents are shown working regular 9-5 jobs; it seems a little out of touch with reality. In Euphoria, the wardrobe of each actor is an extension of their class and distinctive personas. Whether it’s Rue’s ill-fitted t-shirts and converse depicting her disdain for fashion or Lexi’s prim and proper tartan dresses with peter pan collars attesting to her goody-two-shoes nature—the costume designer’s vision will give you an insight into the story.
When Euphoria was first dropped in 2020, it quickly launched a series of fashion trends that leaned heavily on y2k and the mixing of high-low fashion. Putting together a thrifted dress with a vintage luxury bag or pairing a t-shirt from target with upcycled ’70s bootleg trousers—chaotic style became the core quotient of the show’s sartorial journey. Further decoding the method behind the madness, here’s a complete breakdown of each character’s style and the reasoning behind it.
1. Maddie Perez
One look at Maddie Perez (Alexa Demie) and you know she’s what you call an insta baddie—a queen B who calls the shots, sits at the top of the pyramid in a friends group and dates the hottest jock in school. But unlike any other popular cheerleader, Maddie’s risqué style gives a peek into her no-nonsense personality which is darker on the edges. Who can forget the iconic I Am Gia twinset at the carnival, where she stole the show? On a regular day, Maddie attends school and babysits a rich kid in backless silk halter tops paired with flared jeans and monogrammed coordinated sets. But on days when she’s shutting down a party or revenge dressing to scorch her ex-boyfriend Nate—she takes it to a whole new level in cut-out dresses, sheer chainmail sets, punctuating it with the sharpest glam looks.
Jules, by far is the most experimental character in the show when it comes to fashion. In a quest to find herself, Jules is constantly exploring her wardrobe in the show. He’s the perfect hybrid between an angel gone dark and a manic pixie anime character. Layering is a key part of Jules’ costumes—slip dresses on t-shirts, pleated skirts with cropped tops paired with chunky platform heels and chokers for accessories best summarises her go-to looks.
2. Cassie Howard
In simple terms, Cassie Howard’s style is whatever the man in her life wants to be. On the surface, she appears to be the dumb blonde who has no mind of her own—but once you dig deeper, most of her behavioural pattern stems out of her childhood traumas. Specifically, the abandonment issues, courtesy of her father—which has now resulted in her seeking validation from the other men in her life. In this season, Cassie is trying to win over her best friend’s ex-boyfriend Nate for whom she tries to dress up as provocatively as Maddie. But in the shades of pastel blue and pink, trying hard to convince people that’s she’s still the innocent one in this messed up situation. For Cassie, Heidi has laid emphasis on doll-like twin sets with deep décolletage, sorbet hue cardigans and high-waisted jeans and denim jackets.
Kat’s fashion arc on the show has been the most surprising one yet. She went from being the quiet, nerdy friend in covered-up clothes and spectacles to a dominatrix in her BDSM aesthetic. Leather mini skirts, rock band t-shirts, fitted harnesses across her frame along with broad chokers, boots and goth-chic makeup became her choice of ensembles to showcase her drastic transformation.
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