'Girls' Costume Designer Jenn Rogien Talks Season 3 Style
The Girls are back in town. Season 2 left characters in their most fashionable state—particularly Hannah, who was last seen in a faded T-shirt from the Salvation Army and a new haircut that Shoshanna describes in the Season 3 premiere as "hair like a little boy on a fancy cookie box." Despite their quandaries, the new season has the characters evolving in innumerable ways—and all in their most appropriate attire. Jessa dons her bohemian look as she attends—and gets kicked out of—rehab; Hannah, who's working on an e-book, dons casual printed frocks and blazers; Marni sports her typical "Ann Taylor"; and Shoshanna is a bit more chic (especially in her oversize Prada sunglasses) as she attempts to revamp her post-breakup life. Plus, with J. Crew's Jenna Lyons appearing in the trailer as Hannah's publishing boss (and Victoria Beckham reportedly vying for a cameo), this may just be Girls's most fashionable season yet. The Daily Beast talks with costume designer Jenn Rogien on dressing the most relatable girls on television.
Where do you pull inspiration from? Do you work closely with the actors and actresses? Do you stake out in Brooklyn and look at what people are wearing?
Yes to the latter and yes to the former. Everything starts with the script. There's a lot of information on the page to begin with—sometimes it's a character description, sometimes it's a wardrobe description, sometimes it's a description of the character's apartment or car or something that I can get information about. Then I go looking for images or items or whatever it is I need to find to realize that character though costume. We shoot in Brooklyn, and I live in Brooklyn, so I sort of do a lot of on-the-fly street-style research. I also look at street-style blogs, fashion magazines, retail catalogs... all over. It depends on what character I'm looking for or what kind of scene we're looking for. Sometimes we look at event photography from gallery openings in Bushwick, or whatever might be relevant to the scene we are composing.
Has how you've picked the clothes for the characters changed over the seasons?
It has, but that's more of a reflection of what's happening in the script, than what's happening necessarily on the streets of Brooklyn. Largely because I'm trying to reflect the characters and their relationships.
Do you think the girls' style has also evolved? Have they started dressing any more mature?
They definitely evolve from Season 1 to Season 2, and evolve again from Season 2 to Season 3. And I'm trying to keep up with that and reflect that through the costumes.
So does that mean Hannah will continue to be pantsless?
[Laughs] You'll have to watch!
Well, Shoshanna is my favorite character. Who decided it was really awesome for her to have these quirky accessories and donut-inspired hairstyles?
We have an absolutely brilliant hair team who comes up with the styles for the show, and we go back and forth all the time with images of inspiration. We shop Shosh just like we shop all our other characters, what's going to work for the scene, what's going to work for the emotional level.
Do you have a character you particularly enjoy dressing?
I love them all because they're all so different, and that includes the guys. Each one of them has a unique perspective and a unique identity. They're all going in different directions all the time, so it really keeps me on my toes design wise.
I read that the lizard shirt Hannah is wearing in the trailer was actually given to Lena Dunham by the designer (a fan) right near Madison Square Park. Have things like that happened before?
It happens from time to time.
What about a favorite piece?
Oh gosh, just when I think I find a favorite I get to the script and there's something else. A lot of times, my favorites aren't necessarily what have any significance or jump off the screen because it has to do with the process of finding it or making it or a whole behind-the-scenes process that actually isn't that interesting but for me was fun or a creative exercise or a big challenge.
Do you mostly thrift shop? Pull from designers? Where are the clothes coming from?
It's mostly a mix of vintage, thrift, and very accessible retail. There is the occasional designer piece but it's usually on a character that you wouldn't guess because it makes sense for that character. For example, Marni's mother. She's wearing designer pieces but it makes sense that she would because she's clearly in a different place in her life than the girls are.