The last time we caught up with Jenn Rogien, costume designer behind hit HBO series Girls, she told us about her collaboration aspirations, which haven’t taken long to materialize in the form of a new gig with American Eagle-affiliated intimates brand aerie.
That the designer of a show like Girls, where much camera time is given to semi-nude/pantsless twentysomethings, ended up working with an intimates brand, didn’t come as much of a shock to us. Or to Rogien. “Well, I’ve been spending a lot of time focused on intimates–not just as a result of Girls, but as a result of where television is going with more intimates being seen on screen,” she said. “I love shoes too, [but] the timing of this was perfect.”
Rogien says her relationship with aerie goes way back. “I’ve used aerie as a resource for years as a costume designer, and their undies are great,” she told us over the phone this morning. “They’re fresh; they’re pretty, they fit great, and they help me tell a story.” As part of the partnership, Rogien will do in-store appearances, post videos to her website, and provide “style and fit tips on how to make intimates an extension of your wardrobe, like an accessory.”
When outfitting her on-screen characters in underthings, her goal is to fit the underwear to the character. “Intimates are an extension of a character wardrobe, so we use the same level of consideration. We extend the color palette, the detail to make sure the fit is really right, and make sure the whole package comes together.”
Yes, there are underwear fittings. And yes, they’re awkward. “Any underwear fitting is a little bit awkard–that’s what they are; they’re intimate,” she explained. “[To diffuse the awkwardness,] we really try to make intimates fun and to make sure they reflect [the character's] personality. That really helps when it’s part of the style, part of the look–for any show.”
Much has been made of the similarities between Girls and Sex and the City, but intimates are one area where there are stark differences between the two shows. The latter was filled with expensive, satiny, provocative lingerie that the characters on Girls would never buy or take the time to put on. Perhaps that’s another reason why the partnership between Rogien and aerie, purveyors of normal, wearable, affordable intimates, made sense.
The subtle, not-so-perfect, mismatched look may also be a trend, Rogien thinks. “The trends that I’ve really been noticing have more to do with color and coordinates. There are coordinating colors top to bottom, but it’s not a matched set in the detailing. More fresh and youthful. I’m also seeing intimates being used more as accessories in a playful way, like a peek of color underneath sheer fabrics. Not overt, [but] subtle.”
When you think about it, it’s strange a show like Girls, whose characters generally dress so subtly and true-to-life, has gotten so much attention for its costumes. “I would say in general that I think wardrobe is most successful when you don’t notice it, because it means that you’re noticing the character,” Rogien said. “Any attention is always a little bit of a surprise for me, in the best way.”