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The second episode of “Euphoria” Season 2 begins with a dreamy sequence in a luxurious walk-in closet as Maddy Perez (Alexa Demie) — the alpha of the show’s many catty, mean girls — plays dress up with a wealthy mom’s clothes while babysitting.
She slinks into designer silk dresses and slides lavish jewels onto her fingers, all while dreamily staring at her richer, more sophisticated reflection in the mirror. The fantasy comes to a sudden halt when the mom comes home earlier than expected, and she’s forced to hastily change back into her denim mini skirt and halter top.
But really, this act of dressing up and sartorial reinvention is a pronounced theme throughout the entire show, and for every character in it. The show’s costume design became one of the buzziest talking points online after the second season premiered earlier this month, with TikTok and Twitter quickly flooded with memes recreating the over-the-top looks worn at “Euphoria High.”
“I’m always looking for a way to communicate the story through costume,” says costume designer Heidi Bivens, who says she took advantage of this season’s fantastical elements to push the limits on the characters’ clothing. “After I read the scripts, I’m trying to empathize with the characters and put myself in their place and imagine what it would be like to feel what these characters feel.”
Below, Bivens talks about finding the right looks for Maddy, Cassie (Sydney Sweeney), Kat (Barbie Ferreira) and Jules (Hunter Schafer) — some of “Euphoria’s” stand-out looks this season.
Maddy’s outfits are a clear reflection of her abrasive and callous demeanor; only she could get away with wearing a two-piece rave set in the school hallways or a slinky tube top while babysitting. For much of the first season, Maddy practically lives in an array of body-hugging sweatsuits by Akna, a high-school mean girl staple. Her first scene in the second season sees her wearing a sexy cut-out dress by the Mexican label at the infamous New Year’s Eve party, while trendy designers such as I.AM.GIA, Dion Lee, Jacquemus and Balenciaga make appearances later on.
Bivens says she and Demie often collaborate on Maddy’s costumes. “She understands the idea that this character can be iconic,” she says. “I think she understands that there is real opportunity there.”
Akna Black Damien Mini Dress
Amina Muaddi Mirror Wraparound Gladiator Sandals
I.AM.GIA Lucid Set
“For Cassie, it’s important for me that the fashion is really accessible because I think she’s someone who is trying to figure out who she is and who she wants to be — she wants people to perceive her as she’s presenting herself,” Bivens says. She gravitates towards “social media-heavy brands” like House of CB, who made the blue mini dress Cassie dons at the New Years Eve party, and other trendy labels like Wayf and Realisation Par, pieces you’d likely find at big department stores like Bloomingdale’s. “She’s looking at a lot of other people in the world, whether it’s on social media or other people.”
Bershka Ballerina Top
House of CB ‘Ella’ Dress
While Maddy and Cassie clearly look to social media to hop onto trends, Bivens says characters such as Kat have a more fully realized style. Instead of shopping “mall brands,” as Bivens calls them, Kat’s looks are an amalgamation of thrifted finds, such as her “Cramps” tee from the record label Dead by Mono, paired with pieces from cult brands like O-Mighty and more contemporary labels like Danielle Guizio.
Like all the characters, Bivens says Kat’s style has evolved with her own development, explaining why her clothes this season look more sophisticated and polished than earlier episodes. “Kat grows up very fast over these two seasons,” Bivens says. “She’s light years away from when we first met her, so that was important to establish somehow with her costumes.”
Danielle Guizio Green Mohair Cardigan
O-Might OG One Love Skirt
Clothes play an even more significant role for Jules, who begins this season in a reckoning over her gender identity. Bivens says she and Schafer agreed that her character would spend more time in pants than skirts this season, as she toys with the idea of de-transitioning. An exception was made for the first episode, which sees her in a gorgeous Orseund Iris skirt, paired with a sheer beaded halter from Nihl.
Her looks are an eclectic mix of vintage finds layered on top of each other, a way to speak to her character’s glaring individuality. “That’s how we can create an original look,” Bivens says, adding that she also sources from smaller designers such as Lazoschmidl and Perks and Mini for her many graphic tees. “You’re taking three different pieces from three different designers and pairing them together — the chances of someone else already having created that look are pretty slim.”