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Natasha Lyonne on ‘Being Able to Really Move’ in Her Fashion Choices

“I learned on ‘Orange Is the New Black’ that there was something about having a uniform and being able to really move,” says three-time Emmy nominee Natasha Lyonne. Her character Nadia in “Russian Doll” — the dark Netflix comedy she co-created — shares her affinity for dark, comfortable clothes with a genderless quality. “I wanted to make sure I wasn’t encumbered by things that would traditionally slow a woman down.”

“In a gown, I’m looking for something that feels almost like my streetwear — but for a night of activity,” says Lyonne, who scored her first nod for portraying inmate Nicky Nichols on “Orange Is the New Black.” Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, then of Kenzo, created this long-sleeved lace dress for the event. “It’s a lot of people stepping on each other’s dresses, so I liked the tea length and the idea of being mobile. And it was black-adjacent, because everyone’s always on my case to move away from black, which I think of as a real classic. So it was a very dark navy, which felt to me like a huge concession.”

The following Emmy year, Lyonne wore a vintage black dress that she calls a “big departure.” “I was showing both neck and arms, which was a lot for me,” says Lyonne, who had an extra sartorial challenge. “It needed to pair well with Fred [Armisen], my boyfriend, who was nominated. And he wanted to go as Freddy Krueger. The flashes of fringe at the bottom of the dress really felt like something that Freddy Krueger could have destroyed with his claw.” The pair have attended the Emmys in theme ever since: “The following year, we did Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein and went in a hearse.”

2019 (“Russian Doll” premiere)
For the premiere of “Russian Doll,” Lyonne — co-creator, writer, director and star — chose this navy Ralph Lauren look. “[It’s] an elevated twist on something I really like to be in, which is a blazer,” she says. “Also, I wanted a comfortable shoe, because once you’re wearing a lot of hats, it’s an on-your-feet job.” She pictured protagonist Nadia as the child of “Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei from “My Cousin Vinny,” and due to the story’s looping nature, her clothes had to be versatile. Lyonne shares this New York City lifestyle tip: “You want to be able to go from day to night till the morning after seamlessly.”

2019 (“Orange is the New Black” premiere)
Lyonne walked into her stylist Cristina Ehrlich’s office and saw this white look hanging. “She said, ‘Gucci sent this for you, and this is what you’re wearing to the “Orange” premiere.’ And I said, ‘Done.’” Lyonne didn’t bother trying any other options for the debut of the Netflix series’ final season. “It’s a real dream outfit. I’d be fine to be buried in that!” she says. “It had all the elements: a collar that popped, a white leather blazer with gold buttons and a leather tie. So it really was in the sweet spot of everything I enjoy. It felt like a great way to celebrate the end of an era.”

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