Jodie Comer’s Villanelle astounded audiences with stunning designer clothing throughout Season 1 of BBC America’s breakthrough spy series “Killing Eve.” Who can forget the sight of her in that poofy pink Molly Goddard dress she wore to a therapy session, of all places? But the international assassin with a penchant for high fashion is on the run after being stabbed by Sandra Oh’s MI5 security op Eve Polastri, and she’s unable to maintain her luxurious style — at least temporarily — as Season 2 begins April 7.
“She is actually wearing the clothes that she got stabbed in by Eve, and as she slowly loses those things, she has to beg, borrow and steal things to wear,” teases Season 2 costume designer Charlotte Mitchell. (Phoebe de Gaye was the show’s first-season costume designer.)
Mitchell cleverly mines Villanelle’s sad fashion situation for laughs. One of her most ludicrous get-ups is a superhero-themed pajama set she swipes from a young boy. Mitchell had intentionally ill-fitting pajamas custom-made, using “a fantastic generic comic-book fabric” discovered by her assistant.
In desperate need of footwear, Villanelle reluctantly pairs the sleepwear with hideous clogs, also stolen. “We painted them a really disgusting pale green to give them more of a yucky edge, and then we stuck these stupid stickers on them just to make them pop and be even more incongruous,” Mitchell says.
Once flush with cash again, Villanelle returns to her chic self, slipping into head-turning designer attire Mitchell sourced from the likes of Chloé, Alexander McQueen and Yves Saint Laurent.
“I didn’t want her to be dressed from head to toe in one designer,” Mitchell says, describing Villanelle as a magpie. Instead, the character mixes labels, for instance wearing a velvet Chloé jacket with a silvery gold pair of Isabel Marant trousers, says the costume designer.
Oh’s Eve, still in hot pursuit of Villanelle, will continue to don the simple, practical clothing she wore last season — think linen shirts, stretch jackets and easy-to-pull-on pants that Mitchell purchased at Uniqlo and other shops in London. “Sandra loves the fact that Eve wears trousers that don’t have buttons. They just pull up,” Mitchell says. “She was like, ‘That’s what Eve would do; she doesn’t have time to do up buttons and bits.’” Eve also doesn’t have time to iron, which is why, Mitchell says, “I decided to push her wardrobe to have more crumples.”
Carolyn (Fiona Shaw), Eve’s MI6 boss, will look as elegant and classy as ever, though her wardrobe gets a key adjustment. “She has a sex appeal the way she’s written, and I really wanted to delve more into that,” says Mitchell, who shopped designers including Max Mara and Emporio Armani for the character.
“We went for deeper necklines but kept a strong outer silhouette. Carolyn always wears a coat. She never really takes it off,” Mitchell says, noting, “It gives her a mysterious edge. We never know where she’s off to.”