Euphoria: How the series dictates what this generation wears

Lucky FABB: Fashion and Beauty Blog Conference Presented by P&G – Day 1
Heidi Bivens
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Lucky

By Luz Lancheros, MWN

Since ‘Euphoria’ premiered in 2019, it is common to see people trying to imitate the looks of the characters: it is inevitable to see the fascination with their risky, graphic makeup with vibrant colors. The more the series shows how each character appropriates the prevailing trends with their story (edgy Jules, ultra-feminine Cassie, absolutely sensual and retro Maddie, and Kat showing how a non-normative body can be sensual and fun with clothes), the more audiences and those who have learned about the series have followed what they impose.

The power of the series is largely due to the work of Heidi Bivens, who has understood teen psychology.

Metro talked with her to learn more.

How do the looks evolve from season one to season two? 

In the first season, I didn’t want to define the characters from the beginning and after seeing the response they had with the makeup, the clothes and their looks, for this second season I wanted to elevate the looks without going outside the tone of the show. And this came about by reading the script and transforming the characters in a natural way.


How do you transfer the characters’ inner world to the wardrobe?

I try to connect with them and empathize with them, to make them express their changes through what they wear and how they want to present themselves, even more so when they are in their adolescence, which is a time when they are building identity. I also go by instinct a lot. This allows me to discern what’s good for a scene and for the character’s story. In the first season I didn’t know what was going to happen in the second one and in this one, I discovered that I didn’t know many of the changes either, they were revealing little by little and I had to react, along with the actors.

We can notice that with Cassie Howard (Sydney Sweeney). How did you express that brutal change?

Cassie is like all of us: she’s just looking to be loved. And she’s sunk into this relationship with Nate because he’s given her just the right amount of attention at the right time and her difficulty in saying “no” is accentuated in this relationship as well, where her insecurities and her conflict with her father are reflected. This makes her feel unworthy and she tries to validate herself with Nate. We see it in the locker room: she tries to please him. And she knows that, because Maddy is her best friend, and she tries to emulate what he wants most. 

What was it like working with the cast? 

My job with the actors is to find their character and make them feel good in their own skin. As a costume designer, you have to be open to feedback, since they are the ones playing the character. Therefore, you can have a proposal but if an actor feels good with something else, you must always have something else to offer.

How do you get the pieces? 

I always have a broad spectrum of where I get them and thanks to my assistant, Angelina Vitto, I have access to a wide range of new brands and emerging designers. Yes, in the first season I bought a lot from wonderful stores in California and New York, and even from places that no longer exist, like Barney’s. But for this one, because of the pandemic, I’ve been able to find a lot of new and emerging designers. But for this one, because of the pandemic, we did product placement, and we contacted the brands directly or online. And with all the studios being in Los Angeles, there are several houses with costumes used for various projects. And it was awesome to take several pieces from there. But for me, it’s important to work with the designers to know how their pieces can fit into the story. 


What do you think is the fashion legacy of ‘Euphoria’?

When I did the research on the actual high schools, I felt like everything was very homogenized and there were really very few inspirational things. Now, as I’ve gone through these two seasons, I’ve seen how the show has influenced the everyday outfits of many people who watch the show and have mimicked its trends and that’s what I wanted: for this to be inspirational and to lead people to break barriers in terms of their own personal production.