ELLE Exclusive: Costume Designer Marylin Fitoussi Decodes The Wildly Polarising Fashion Of Emily In Paris Season 3

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Emily In Paris is back in our lives, providing enough fashion and pop culture fodder to yet again end the year on an undecided note about our feelings for the show. Props to Sex And The City’s famed creator, Darren Star, for captaining one of the most divisive shows of our time. There’s a fandom, there’s a section that cringe-watches it, there is also the pack of fashion watchdogs and lastly, we have the intellectuals who only view it to later write op-eds. The point is, everyone watches it and sooner or later it charts up on the Netflix ladder and dominates it for a while.

Emily In Paris

For me, it is always the fashion that pulls me in. Don’t get me wrong, neither am I an Emily stan nor am I a hater, but her style every season leaves me intrigued and the 3rd edition was no different. Emily has finally found her footing in Paris (or has she?) her sartorial sense is still heavy on an American’s version of a Parisian. The beret and the bold colours are here to stay—but there’s an infusion of smart tailored pieces with a mix of discovery labels, vintage finds and thrift treasure, thanks to costume designer Marylin Fitoussi.

Emily In Paris

Stepping outside the shadows of the indomitable Patricia Fields, Marylin helmed this season all on her own and she is equal parts excited and nervous for it all to unfold, “It was my first time doing a show of this scale on my own, but I am well-trained, thanks to Praticia, I have learned a lot from her. She has all the experience with this kind of fashion series and I have tried to soak it all in but also give my own spin,” says Marylin, as we begin to decode the wardrobe of the season. 

Emily In Paris

Starting with the star of the show, Lily Collins has had her fair share of criticism and praise for her style in the earlier 2 seasons of Emily In Paris. For the latest edition, Marylin’s toughest task was to experiment with her already idiosyncratic style, without repeating any of the tried and tested formulas. “I feel the most challenging part of styling her was not repeating anything. Lilly herself has been very helpful; every time she saw a similar outfit, she went, “You know, Marylin, I think it’s Deja Vu. I think we’ve already done this silhouette.” So, I focused on finding new designers. The series was the perfect launch pad because it gives worldwide visibility and credibility,” Marylin explains. 

Emily In Paris

“Big brands don’t need me, Chanel and Valentino don’t need me, but being able to help young designers feels like it’s my duty and pleasure. I met wonderful young people who weren’t in the spotlight or weren’t expecting it. However, the show’s popularity is widespread; it can be seen in India, London, and the United States. It’s a big opportunity for them to be known across the globe. I have tried to mix a lot of vintage pieces with more affordable brands and the cast was very supportive of this process.” After the initial Prada and Louis Vuitton moments were called out for being out of touch in terms of where her character is positioned financially, her wardrobe now showcases a balanced mix and diversity. Imagine living in a not-so-fancy Parisian apartment but wearing monogrammed luxury labels to work, a little too far-fetched, isn’t it? Marylin not only addressed the suede pink elephant in the room but she quietly pushed it out of the way. 

The debate about Emily trying too hard to look like a Parisian versus it’s a French-American amalgamation picks up as soon as the show drops. Settling it once and for all, here’s what Marylin said, “I can say that Emily is trying her best to catch the Parisian energy, elegance, and style. But she has the aura and personality of a young American woman. What inspired me the most in her styling process this season was Lilly Collins’ bangs; she cut her hair like a beautiful icon of the 1960s, like Jane Birkin. It was important to me to portray nostalgia while also giving it a modern twist and a vintage feel with a softer palette and more colour. I think we succeed in keeping it more Parisian, people will definitely notice this change in her style.”

After all this time, Emily is now more settled in her life in France and that reflects in her style. In an attempt to bring out her quiet boldness, Marylin gave her mature silhouettes with a fun twist. High-waisted, wide-legged, sailor-style pants but with chunkier heels. The palette is slightly toned down this season, making it more Parisian but without losing her quirky aesthetic. In terms of discovery, the costume designer gave a lot of opportunities to young French, home-grown designers like Kevin Germanier, Ludovic de Saint Sernin, Maje, Maison Mirae, Magda Butrym, Maison J.Simone, Maison Souraya and mixed it up with archives of Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix. In order to find that perfect balance between preppy and poised, Marilyn found a sweet spot between the old, new, crazy and calculated.           



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Emily’s styling is often sentenced as OTT—Marylin, however, looks at it as a large canvas where she strategically puts together each and every piece of the puzzle. “Some people think that it’s really horrible, that I fail and I’m miserable and that their eyes are bleeding when they look at the clothes. You know, I really love what I’m doing, but some people don’t like it and that’s okay. It may look easy for people to watch through a screen, but it takes a lot of time and effort to come up with a look. Practica and I share a common love for maximalism, prints, and everything extravaganza. I try to find a balance in everything, but sometimes it’s a hit-and-miss which is okay. I’m not trying to be pretentious, I try to keep it original. I’m not concerned with the negative comments on the internet because my actors are at ease and confident in everything I give them, and that’s what matters most to me.”

 Besides Emily, the OG Parisians, Camillie and Sylvie are looked at as the show’s real fashion ‘IT’ girls. The character of Sylvie, it’s about being able to take risks in life but she’d found her comfort zone in fashion. She’s generally spotted in monochromatic colours, always exuding boss energy. As for Camille, she’s rich but not obnoxious. She’s romantic but not delusional, which is exactly what her style reflects. It’s structure when requires and flowing otherwise. “Of course, I need to have a very contrasting look in front of Emily, who is bright and vibrant with a lot of patterns. We try to give them a balance for the viewers, because, for them, less is actually more. I feel Camillie dresses up as a minimalist but still keeps her vibe alive because nobody wants to see her in boring beige coats or navy jackets (which is what the original Parisian style is all about). We needed to keep some tinge of her personality in her looks, which you can see in this season. 


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For more on Emily In Paris, read here

- Junior Digital Editor


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