‘White Lotus’ Costume Designer Breaks Down Season 2 Looks
When she found out that “The White Lotus” season 2 would be set in Sicily, costume designer Alex Bovaird knew she would have to raise the bar.
“When people, especially Americans, go to Italy, they dress up a bit more. They bring their A game,” she says, nodding towards the more beachy, casual wardrobe seen in the season. 1, when the show’s wealthy and morally bankrupt characters cared little about impressing the Hawaiians around them.
Season 2 also cuts through the exterior of the White Lotus hotel further than Season 1 – again, because wealthy Americans are more likely to be holistically interested in a Western European country than in Pacific Islands, where the complex was treated as if it were the whole. world. And the more places there were, the more the costumes varied.
“But it’s the same general flavor that [series creator] Mike White likes to say, “Go big.” Be bold,” says Bovaird. “It’s supposed to be really fun to watch. Mike is interested in entertaining and pleasing as well as having things to say, so he wants the setting to be…juicy. And interesting.”
Talk with VarietyBovaird broke down some highlights of Season 2’s glitzy looks by character.
Lucia and Mia
Lucia (Simona Tabasco) and Mia (Beatrice Grannò) have the most varied wardrobes on the show, as they’re working-class girls who play it rich for the day. Lucia is a sex worker who manages to bring her best friend, Mia, on her White Lotus adventure. They start with cheap skirts and t-shirts, move on to still cheap but flashier ensembles when they first go to the hotel, then finally move into designer fashions when Lucia’s client, Dominic (Michael Imperioli), lets them charge whatever they want to his room.
“There’s an echo of the movie ‘Pretty Woman.’ The dresses get shinier and shinier as the series progresses,” says Bovaird. Their collection from the hotel’s gift shop includes Dior and La Perla swimwear, Prada and Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses, and a Moschino wrap dress. “They dress up as their version of rich Italians.
In Episode 3, with the money Dominic paid them, Mia convinces Lucia to buy a dress she dreams of from an upscale storefront. The dress is by London designer Clio Peppiatt.
“These are fantastic dresses. They shine. And they end up in the pool that night, so it’s just fun to see the girls stomping around and wearing sparkly, sparkly dresses getting drunk and passing out with their makeup dripping around their eyes. So to add to the comedy too then on the street they are they’re kinda basic just something a bit more normal mini skirts and shorts and t shirts but with the little cheeky italian style.
Played by fan-favorite Jennifer Coolidge, Tanya and her new husband Greg (Jon Gries) are the only characters to pick up from Season 1. However, getting married only made Tanya’s misery worse. After some bickering and bad sex on their first night of vacation, Greg asks Tanya to describe his dream Italian day, and she imagines herself as famous actress Monica Vitti getting carried away by a handsome man on a moped. He gets his wish.
“We went in several different directions. It had to be practical, as she goes on the moped, but we wanted to lean into the fact that her main vision for this day was romantic and nostalgic, ”describes Bovaird. “So we found this pink dress. It’s by Alice Temperley, and it has Japanese pagodas and castles on it, and it really doesn’t mean anything. There is just a Fellini-like strangeness. We added an Alberta Ferretti scarf and tied it to look extravagant, and it seemed to do the trick. And she wears Jimmy Choo heels with rhinestones on them. A little impractical, but that’s how Italians sometimes ride mopeds, ready for the night!”
Later, we learn that Greg only did all of this for Tanya because he’s about to announce he’s leaving their vacation early. The movie star costume makes his sobbing open mouth even funnier.
While Tanya has a dream with Monica Vitti, Harper (Aubrey Plaza) has a nightmare with Monica Vitti.
Harper is at the White Lotus on vacation with her newly wealthy but seemingly down-to-earth husband Ethan (Will Sharpe), as well as Ethan’s financial college friend Cameron (Theo James) and his wife Daphne (Meghann Fahy). For the first two days, she doesn’t say how boring and superficial she finds Cameron and Daphne, but in Episode 3, she decides to make an effort. This is reflected in her shift from a darker, more casual look to a pastel green day dress. She also wears a silk scarf as a headband, and the swept back hair makes her look more feminine and open. Unfortunately, she ends up with a trip to the nearby town of Noto with Daphe, and moves the scarf around her neck as she becomes more cautious again.
“It’s a moment where she feels like she’s going to get dressed, but it’s still on stage for her,” says Bovaird. “She loves vintage. A big inspiration for us was Audrey Hepburn. It’s a chance for her to go out and show her soft side to Daphne, with whom she thinks she has nothing in common. And there is a replica of a scene from a  film called “L’avventura”, and Monica Vitti is in it and walks past all these Italian men following her. We did a very similar thing with locals watching Harper. And the dress looked very 60s and good for the stage.
(White further breaks down the Michelangelo Antonioni film reference with Variety here.)
Cameron presented unique conditions in terms of costumes; the character’s luggage gets lost on the way to Italy, so he must buy brand new clothes once he arrives. In episode 2, after shouting loud enough during a phone call with an airline employee to make everyone uncomfortable, he and Daphne go shopping and land on some extravagant pieces, including a two-piece set from Etro with a leopard print on it under a floral pattern. blazer.
“It’s super fun to be able to put a character in clothes out of circumstance, but also really difficult because Cameron is so cocky he doesn’t care what he looks like,” Bovaird says. “He buys a bunch of random stuff, and it’s pretty awesome, but also super random and Italian and not his vibe. A lot of American men would be too shy to walk around in something like that because it’s not American at all, for a guy like Cameron anyway. Most of the designers he wears are Italian. It was a bit of a costume design method [like method acting]. In fact, I was able to buy a lot of clothes there, because they really suited that time. It was near Taormina.
Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) is Tanya’s personal assistant, dragged to Italy thinking she could enjoy the holidays only to realize that Tanya expects her to stay in her room all day. Along with Lucia and Mia, she’s one of the only characters on a tight budget, and her clothes reflect that.
“I try to keep the demographics of the character in mind, so she doesn’t have expensive clothes. Even her Versace-esque wedge heels are definitely not Versace. She’s young, she doesn’t really know who she is and she tries different ideas. Sometimes she dresses more delicately, and sometimes she dresses like a boy. She brought some nice dresses because she knew she was going to dinner, but the price is $100 to $200, or less Lots of vintage and thrift finds.
At one point, Portia monologues to Albie (Adam DiMarco), her awkward admirer, how much she hates being so tied down to her phone and social media.
“There’s a brand called House of Sunny, and they carry two or three pieces from there,” she says. “The sweater vest she comes in and a dress at the end of episode 4 and a two-piece in episode 5. It’s from the UK, and it’s one of those brands that they tell you are advertising on Instagram, and you’re like, ‘OK OK! I’m going to buy you now!’
The Fortune Teller
Depressed after Greg leaves his vacation, Tanya asks hotel manager Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore) to send a fortune teller to her room, hoping for reassurance. Soon there’s a tarot reader (Katia Gargano) on her doorstep, and Tanya is thrilled with her looks – curly hair, lots of rings (from Toko Jewels in Rome) and black pencil eyeliner that allow Tanya to stereotype the woman as someone who will take her money to tell her exactly what she wants to hear. But when the cards point to deep issues in her marriage, Tanya dismisses the reader so she can have another tearful fit.
“She looks like the quintessential fortune teller. Mike wanted her to wear all black so she would have a witch vibe because she brings that sinister [energy] to Tanya, but with the lighting, it didn’t really suit us. So I added the shawl, and it gave us a flavor that reminds me of New York ladies who sit in those psychic boxes. They all dress lightly in the trope, because that’s what people want. People don’t really want to pay someone who wears jeans and a sweatshirt to give them a fortune.