[Etc.] Red, White & SCANDAL
On Thursday’s we suited up as Gladiators. For six years we were secret members of B-613. We were also privy to the Oliva, Fitz, Jake love triangle before Mellie found out.
We watched Olivia slay from episode to episode. Wearing everything from Michael Kors, Christian Dior, Ferragamo, Max Mara, Escada, and Prada. Behind the closet of Olivia Pope resides costume director, Lyn Paolo.
- West Wing
Coming from West Wing, sure Lyn knew what to do with Olivia Pope. She knew how to evoke the style of Ms. Pope so well, that it spoke for her. Olivia’s wardrobe was it’s own character. It told us her feelings as she swiftly walked down a hallway. Well before she opened her mouth. If we paid attention, we knew her stance on a matter before she spilled one of her convincing monologues. Shoutout to Poppa Pope!
In Season 1, all we knew was her light as air demeanor. Always on the side of what was right her client. I mean she was a fixer of sorts for Washington (D.C.), a Gladiator! If she could do the right thing, she would. We saw her in a plethora of creams and whites; subtle touches of light grays, and blush pinks every so often. Olivia wore so much white that the hat David Rosen gifted her became just as notable as her Prada bag. The only time we saw her in another color was when she was handling serious business, or involved with President Fitz. The color of choice — Black! Lyn and her team were so creative, that when they wanted to show Liv’s mix of emotion, she’d wear black & white. Whether in a dress, or a mixed tweed cardigan, or printed blazer.
Enter Season 2. Now I did not notice much of a difference with Olivia’s wardrobe color palette, but there was an exception. Darker grays. Now of course this entire blog post is my personal speculation and observation. I could be 100% off the mark, and if so then I just gave Lyn and her team a lot of creative credit. But I do believe that in an effort to show just how woven Olivia’s concept of right and wrong was Lyn brought in the darker hue. During this time, Mellie was aware of her affair with Fitz, Jake Ballard was introduced, and she was trying to cover the tails of everyone involved with Defiance. Including her own. How can you do what’s right, if you know you still have to do wrong, to make everything right?
Time passes, people died, we are introduced to B-613 and the wonderful Poppa Pope, more people died, Cyrus has a heart attack and Mellie runs for Senate. It isn’t until season five where I notice a significant change in Olivia’s wardrobe. Lyn and her team strategically inserted color into Olivia’s wardrobe to continue the silent story. A bold statement in the Season 5 spring trailer — Olivia is wearing RED!!
Olivia is now Command, head of B-613 and the gloves are off!
This is when it clicks for me. Season 5 is when I realize that Lyn Paolo has been telling us the story without saying a word. Red, Black, and White were now the primary colors of choice. Although, Olivia a woman of the highest power now was bold enough to step into other colors. When it was all business we saw mostly black, or black paired with other colors like orange and yellows. Business at the White House, red was almost always present. If Olivia was storming in to “protect The Republic” the color was dominate. If she was there willing to hear what was being presented the color was subdued but evident. In case she had to “protect The Republic”. But Lyn and team did not stop here with the color association. When helping Mellie with her campaign, we find Olivia wearing a lot of blue. Mellie was a Republican, so I deem the massive amount of blue tones worn by the character were because it was her favorite color. So when we see Olivia in blue she’s typically working on the campaign showing support.
All of Paolo’s work comes to a culmination with season 7 and this wonderful series finale promo poster. Tying everything we know to be Olivia Pope together in one fashionable bow. The infamous white hat, the red tench, and the black Prada bag. Will she finally take of the coat of Command, and put on the white hat again?
So far it seems as though she’s shed the coat of Command. That part of her life still calls to her when she wants to get things done. Lyn and team have slowly worked white back into her wardrobe. I appreciate this. Just as they slowly muted it from Olivia’s wardrobe, leaving us with a white stripe here, and a camisole there. They’ve worked it back in through grays, even in the huge cross-over episode with How to Get Away with Murder. She wore more grey and light colors in this episode than we had seen in seasons. By this time I thought Lyn had packed away the red pieces. We had not seen Olivia in much red since episode 7, when we were dealing with the death of Quinn. Then in spectacular form…. the end of episode 16 happens. Paolo spoke without speaking and the director made sure we heard it loud and clear. Olivia is walking down the tunnel where all the secrets happen, and the camera pans down to Olivia’s shoes. As a fan of the show who’s now been following the color association for now two seasons, and hasn’t seen any red for the better part of nine episodes to see her red boots made me once again collect myself. She was about to be a savage. The coat of Command had not been completely shedded.
Now we wait for the series finale tonight to see, once and for all who Olivia Pope will forever be — A Gladiator or Command.