The Story Behind the Glammed-Up Girls Season Three Poster

The stylist behind the shoot, Shirley Kurata, tells us about how she made "happily whatever after" come to life.
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Alyssa Vingan Klein
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The stylist behind the shoot, Shirley Kurata, tells us about how she made "happily whatever after" come to life.
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The moment we saw the poster for season three of Girls earlier this week, we knew we had to get the whole story. Our four favorite TV ladies -- Hannah, Jessa, Shoshanna and Marnie, accompanied by a couple of their men -- are decked out in retro, princess-like ball gowns, sitting inside what looks to be a fancy uptown hotel suite, which, if you watch the show, is a pretty big departure from reality for each of the characters.

The poster was shot by Autumn de Wilde and styled by Shirley Kurata -- who worked together on the Girls cover story for New York Magazine back in 2012 prior to the show's premiere. And while the Girls are looking uncharacteristically done-up, the poster still offers a glimpse into their personalities and their respective existential crises, albeit a very subtle one.

Kurata, whose work has appeared in the likes of Paper, Pop, i-D and Time, searched high and low for the vintage gowns featured in the shoot, and although she called in a handful of newer dresses as well, they weren't quite realistic. "The vintage dresses seemed more like something the characters would wear, especially as they are financially struggling twenty-somethings," she said.

When it came to the concept for the shoot, Kurata got to dig into the psyches of the girls we've come to know and (in some cases) love. She was given the task of "challenging the stereotypical 'princess' image." In the shoot, "the cast embraces how messy and imperfect life can be, as they struggle to make sense of their lives and relationships," she told us. "It was decided from the beginning that they would be in gowns, but it wasn’t so much to show the glamour of their lives, but the struggles and angst of their 'happily whatever after' existence. I call it the antithesis of the Cinderella story."

But don't expect the Girls girls to get a glamourous makeover next season. "I don’t think there’s any connection with this shoot to the what happens in the show," Kurata said. "This is more of a make-believe scenario."

We had Kurata break down each characters look, and how it ties into their personalities:

Hannah: "We all liked that Lena’s dress was gray (including Lena) as it’s not the typical color for a gown. It was a beautiful vintage gown from the '50s, but the color seemed to suit the complexities of Hannah’s character. She also discarded her shoes, which seems like something Hannah would do."

Marnie: "Allison wore yellow, and they were actually two dresses: One wispy '30s chiffon dress that evoked an air of Blanche Dubois, and over that she wore a '50s tulle gown."

Shoshanna: "Zosia wore a '50s pink ombré dress, with an extra bright pink layer of a tulle petticoat. I think the girliness of the dress and her jewelry seemed to fit Shoshanna’s character."

Jessa: "Jemima's in a vintage satin and tulle gown (probably from the 40’s) and in true Jessa fashion, she wore her boots with them. Costume designer Jennifer Rogien was very gracious to let me incorporate some of the characters' actual wardrobes, such as Jessa’s boots."

That's more like it. Girls makes its triumphant (and more casual) return to HBO on January 12.