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Costume Secrets from the Upcoming Seasons of 'Nashville,' 'Scandal' and More

Get the scoop on Annalise Keating's Victoria Beckham dresses, Juliet Barnes's Taylor Swift-like style evolution, Bradley Cooper's normcore look and more from the costume designers themselves.
Amped up fashion and drama on season two of "How to Get Away With Murder." Photo: Bob D'Amico/ABC

Amped up fashion and drama on season two of "How to Get Away With Murder." Photo: Bob D'Amico/ABC

The fall television season is officially here, which means the return of your favorite characters (Mindy on Hulu!), resolutions to cliff-hangers (Deacon, please pull through) and unrequited love finally realized (Fitz and Olivia, for now anyway). While we can't spoil the plot twists of these upcoming seasons, we can tell you about the costumes. We got the scoop from the costume designers themselves for what to expect sartorially, from returning shows like "The Mindy Project," "How to Get Away With Murder" and "Scandal" (we already covered "Empire"), as well as two brand spanking new ones: Bradley Cooper's "Limitless" and "Blood & Oil," co-starring supermodel-turned-actor Amber Valetta and the heartthrob formerly known as Nate Archibald, Chace Crawford, who is definitely no longer dressing for the Upper East Side. 

Read on to find out how Victoria Beckham has emerged as a popular choice for TV wardrobes — and check back next Monday for a costume preview of the shows premiering in October.


Costume designer Ann Foley confirms that a huge "shift" is taking place in season three. Fans already know that Skye, er, Daisy Johnson, er Quake (Chloe Bennett) chopped her hair into a lob and is debuting a new superhero suit. Foley found inspiration for the sleek Quake costume from the original comics and worked with illustrator Phillip Boutte to bring it into the "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." world. But the big wardrobe bombshell is about company man Agent Phil Coulson. "We're moving him out of suits," Foley says. "It's going to reflect the seriousness of what's happening because Coulson has some changes at the end of season two." That's one way of putting it. As for Bobbi Morse's Mockingbird superhero costume, Foley hints that we may see it again.

Follow Ann Foley on Twitter @AFoley24 and Instagram @Ann.Foley. "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." premieres at 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 29 on ABC.


Also known as the show in which Chace Crawford trades Park Avenue for North Dakota to seek his fortunes in the ruthless oil business as the somewhat on-the-nose named Billy Lefever. "From what [Crawford] tells me, he was always dressed up [in "Gossip Girl"] and he loves that he is much more authentic in this character," says costume designer Kathleen Detoro, who never actually watched the teen classic, but did work on five seasons of "Breaking Bad." Expect to see Crawford wearing lots of plaid flannels, Henleys and thermal tees by Levi's, Double R and All Saints. Of course, the actor can pretty much wear anything and look dreamy, but a light blue denim jacket did stand out. "It was his favorite jacket because it just makes him glow. His eyes," says Detoro.

Speaking of people who would look good in a paper bag, Amber Valetta stars as Carla Briggs, the power wife of oil tycoon Hap Briggs, played by Don Johnson. "She's a businesswoman so we don't want her to be just arm candy," says Detoro. So the designer looked to authoritative but still seductive pieces by Victoria Beckham, Lanvin, The Row and Stella McCartney. Detoro is also holding out for the perfect scene to bust out an "amazing Jason Wu emerald green leather sheath dress and jacket." Yum.

"Blood & Oil" premieres at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 27 on ABC.


Bombshell number one: "Annalise Keating [played by Emmy winner Viola Davis] is going to wear more color, at least at the beginning," says the show's costume designer Linda Bass, while confirming that Davis will still be rocking her signature body-con sheath silhouettes. Pieces by Jason Wu will join Annalise's closet, which is already stocked with Alexander McQueen, Victoria Beckham, Armani and Max Mara. 

As for the kids: "Some of them have gotten more sophisticated or jaded, depending on who they are. In some instances, there's going to be a little maturing of them that will be reflected in their costumes." Case in point: Newly single Michaela (Aja Naomi King) will be changing up her Connecticut country club outfits formerly comprised of Tory Burch and Ted Baker. "We're moving more into Alice + Olivia, Elizabeth and James and — even I can't believe I'm saying this — BCBG is working for her," Bass says. What won't be changing: Keating henchman Frank's (Charlie Weber) signature security blanket vests. But say goodbye to those knit scarves on Wes (Alfred Enoch) as season two moves into spring. "There's less opportunity to wear scarves because it was all based on keeping him warm," reveals Bass. What? This whole time we thought the stripe-y scarf was a nod to Enoch's Gryffindor roots.

Follow Linda Bass on Twitter @elbee3650. "How to Get Away With Murder" premieres at 10 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24 on ABC.


Bradley Cooper brings his big screen hit to the small as executive producer (and sometimes co-star) of the new CBS drama "Limitless" about an IQ-increasing little pill.

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Originally, Dan Lawson, who pulls double duty as the costume designer on "The Good Wife," commissioned "beautiful" bespoke tailor suits from Bushwick clothier Martin Greenfield for Cooper's reprisal of his now-senator Eddie Mora role from the film. But, Cooper was simultaneously filming another movie that called for shaggy hair and a scruffy beard. "A day or two before we shot [the pilot], [Cooper] talked to the creator of the show, Craig Sweeny, and he was like, 'You know, I think I'm going to look like a drug dealer if I'm in there in a suit and a tie and I've got long hair and a beard,'" Lawson laughs. Instead, Cooper suggested a slight backstory tweak that his powerful character recently returned from a long vacation. "We wanted to go preppy and conservative and that's how we ended up at the quarter zip sweater with dress shirt underneath and a pair of trousers," Lawson said. In case you're wondering, the button-down is Tom Ford.

Follow Dan Lawson on Twitter @GoodWifeFashion. "Limitless" premieres at 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 22.


Mindy Kaling has moved from FOX to Hulu and Mindy Lahiri is pregnant with Danny Castellano's (Chris Messina) baby — and wearing bespoke maternity clothes created by costume designer Salvador Perez. "It was fun to make a pregnancy pad for Mindy and then design around it," he says. "At first I was going to try and shop maternity clothes at retail, but they were all so boring and unfashionable. So we decided to design and have some made. Mindy loved the pregnancy pad and would wear it during lunch." In addition to the custom pieces, Perez also dressed Lahiri in Oscar de la Renta, Issa, Kate Spade and Nanette Lepore.

Follow Salvador Perez on Twitter @MrSalPerez and Instagram @salvadorperezcostumes. "The Mindy Project" premieres on Tuesday, Sept. 15 on Hulu.


"Life is busy for Rayna James," said costume designer Susie de Santo, in a bit of an understatement. While yes, Rayna (Connie Britton and her glorious head of hair) has both personal and business matters to attend to, she will hit the stage of the legendary Grand Ole Opry like the country superstar she is. "She's wearing this beautiful Haute Hippie dress that's very light and stylish. When she gets on the stage with all the lights, it's very pretty," de Santo says.

As for Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) — she's dealing with postpartum depression behind the scenes, but with her Patsy Cline biopic and new album out, her public persona is going through a wardrobe evolution that might seem familiar. "She's going very high fashion, sort of the way Taylor Swift did," de Santo explained. "She was all country and sparkles and boots and now she's all haute couture." So look out for Alexander McQueen, Balmain ("that fits her very well") and some less-Swiftian La Perla corsets. 

Follow Susie de Santo on Twitter @susied310. "Nashville" premieres at 10 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Sept. 23 on ABC.


"Shonda Rhimes and her team have outdone themselves in writing some crazy plot twists that have challenged my team and I with design choices," hints costume designer Lyn Paolo about shockers in season five."You will see several characters who have morphed in their clothing choices because of Shonda's amazing story lines." What's in store for Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), who maybe, finally found love with Fitz (Tony Goldwyn)? "In episode five of the season, you will see Olivia in costumes you would never ever expect!" Paolo says. "I think our Gladiators will be shocked." Which is to say a lot considering the shockers that Rhimes has already thrown our way in the season four finale.

As for the newly elected Senator of Virginia (and booted FLOTUS), "Mellie has moved on," Paolo says. "She now holds elected office and is her own woman and that means her costumes will change, perhaps not dramatically at first but there will be a shift. We will see her in less and less of her First Lady dresses and she will evolve toward suiting as the season continues." Fitz will continue to smolder in his presidential Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren and Armani suits; but like his love life, his sartorial decisions tend to vacillate, too. "The silhouette and palette will shift slightly depending on his relationship with Olivia and, of course, Mellie," Paolo hints.

Follow Lyn Paolo on Twitter @LynPaolo and Instagram @LynElizabethDesigns. "Scandal" premieres at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 24 on ABC.


While Adam Levine, Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams are responsible for their own outfits on NBC's Emmy-winning talent competition, the contestants, the dancers, musicians and fellow coach Blake Shelton look to head costume designer Erin Hirsh for their looks, which is an interesting proposition for a live competition show. "We base each look off of the personality and the genre of the person we're dressing," she explains. To be able to pull and style at a moment's notice, she has lots of Topshop, Asos, Zara and Haute Hippie stocked and ready to go. Oh, and Free People. "We have a lot of bohemian people," she says of the contestants.

Stefani and Williams have their own established fashion lines, but the two aren't pushy about promoting them on TV. "It's more that we humbly ask them if we could borrow their stuff," Hirsh laughs. Although, she hasn't used any pieces from Adam Levine's line for Kmart — yet. "I’d love to incorporate that," she says.

Follow Erin Hirsh on Twitter @ErinHirsh and Instagram @Erin_Hirsh. "The Voice" premieres at 8 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 21 on NBC.