Katherine Keir looks at how Phoebe de Gaye chose to style Killing Eve‘s lead villain, and how this contributes to her strong female character.
Thrilling, sexy, high stakes and high fashion; Killing Eve has got everyone talking. The series from Fleabag writer Phoebe Waller Bridge has already been confirmed for a second series next year – following it’s huge success among viewers and critics alike – and the show has received high acclaim for its transgressive feminism and chiefly female cast, who enact some rather unorthodox characters. Arguably, one of the most stand-out elements of the show is it’s dubious antagonist’s wardrobe. With looks crafted by costume designer Phoebe de Gaye, the clothing of charming psycho-killer and principal character Villanelle is one to kill for – literally.
Potentially the most iconic look in the entire series, Villanelle’s obnoxiously feminine Molly Goddard dress epitomises the deceitful nature of her character. Sugary sweet and full of frills, this is a dress that brings to mind little girls and candy floss rather than a ruthless and bloodthirsty assassin. Unashamedly ostentatious, her ingeniously crafted wardrobe is a reflection of the mania that lies beneath the surface. Paired in stark contrast with a pair of chunky black Balenciaga boots, De Gaye injects a hint of venom into this sugar-coated outfit.
Villanelle’s craftily ‘acquired’ dress – a Burberry number stolen right out of the wardrobe of her next victim’s wife – is an airy floor-length dress in duck egg blue that serves once again to juxtapose the brutality of her later actions. Her attire paints her as the picture of innocence, even as she befriends a young boy in a ploy to assail her target, flashing a delicate smile as she beckons him into a cupboard, before viciously murdering his sleazy grandfather with her deceptively lethal hairpin – the epitome of class.
Red and white like a festive candy cane, this stunning Miu Miu wrap dress paired with fresh white plimsolls ensures Villanelle once again encapsulates the sweetness of a saint as she bats her eyelids and licks her ice cream while strolling down Parisian streets. Evoking images of youthful girlhood, as well as a stainless naivety which she certainly does not possess, De Gaye’s design teaches us the deceptive powers of one’s wardrobe – and that we should never make the mistake of judging a book by its cover.
The essence of Villanelle’s character is her expensive taste: her lavish indulgence in all things luxurious, and her overt femininity. Donning a classic Burberry trench coat, De Gaye allows for this in opting for a fresh and contemporary dusky pink shade; cutting edge with a hint of femme fatale.
By Katherine Keir
Image: BBC America