StyleBlazer Exclusive: Inside Scoop From ‘Scandal’ Costume Director Lyn Paolo

Lyn Paolo, Costume Director, ScandalPhoto: Lyn Paolo/ABC

In honor of Season 3 of “Scandal” coming to a close tonight, we’re reposting our interview with Lyn Paolo, the show’s costume director, to get you excited for what’s sure to be an explosive episode. Check out our interview below for a refresher on what Paolo planned for the season, and don’t forget to tune into “Scandal” tonight at 10 p.m. on ABC. 

“Scandal” Season is back and it seems the world couldn’t be more ecstatic; last week’s season premiere drew in 10.5 million viewers, a personal best for the show. One aspect of the ABC drama that gets almost as much attention as what’s going on in the world of Olivia Pope is “Scandal” fashion. The attention is rightly deserved as each and every character on the show is dressed to character-specific perfection, even if they don’t always look perfect. (Poor Huck and his hoodies.)

The woman we have to thank for Scandal’s fashion success is Emmy-Award winner Lyn Paolo, wardrobe goddess and veteran costume director. Lyn’s previous roster of costume director work includes “The West Wing,” “ER,” and even the just-released video game Grand Theft Auto V, but we couldn’t be happier she made her way to Scandal.

Lyn graciously took a minute to step out of the busy world of prepping Olivia and her gladiators for Episode 8 of Season 3 to chat with us about her style strategy at “Scandal,” shopping for the cast, her favorite Olivia outfits, and more. See below for our comprehensive interview, and if you still have questions try sending Lyn a tweet at @LynPaolo; she’s wonderfully responsive with the fans. Thanks Lyn!

SB: The Season 2 finale of “Scandal” left Olivia in a pretty vulnerable place; she’s no longer entirely in the position of power she has been previously. Are we going to see her wardrobe reflect her change in standing?

LP: I did think about that but because the next episode [Season 3 premiere] was a direct match to what happened last year [Season 2 finale] we didn’t really have time. That’s not to say that things are not going to change as the season progresses. But certainly for the beginning of the season, Olivia has not had time to process anything yet.

SB: How do you go about shopping for “Scandal?” What percentage of designer send-ins or requests do you accept? And how far ahead in each season’s storyline do you get to see to prepare the wardrobe?

LP: On this show there is no getting ahead. We often get our scripts–and this is just the process, it doesn’t mean I’m unhappy about it, I kind of like it–we sometimes get our scripts maybe a day before we film. However, we do take eight days to shoot an episode, so within those eight days I can sort of scramble and think about what’s happening. We do build closets for all of the actors, and then we can pull some of the changes from that but we can never get truly ahead.

For instance, in Season 3 Episode 1 when Mellie and Olivia and Fitz were in the bunker, that had to be a very particular thing and there was no way for me to have thought about that ahead of time. So, even though we have rather large closets for each character, in each episode there will be something very specific that we will not own, so then we are rushing to get that. But we do try to get a little bit ahead because we don’t have time on this show. We sometimes get the script the afternoon before we start shooting. It’s crazy, but it makes you better at your job.

SB: A hot topic from last week’s episode was Olivia’s white coat. Did you already have the Burberry trench in Olivia’s closet?

LP: I did not have the coat. I read the script, I had seen the coat in a magazine and I read the scene and I said we had to get that coat. It was exactly the right coat for that particular scene.


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