Killing Eve‘s Costume Designer Charlotte Mitchell Knows She’s Pushing It

Killing Eve Season 2

BBC America

Season 2 of Killing Eve has upped the ante on everything. Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh) and Villanelle (Jodie Comer) are as lethal and obsessive as ever, and the costumes are just as magnetic and high-functioning as its detective–assassin duo. Costume designer Charlotte Mitchell, who took over from season 1 costume designer Phoebe de Gaye, knew that the characters were being pushed even further into their mutual prowling and wanted to evolve each character’s look to match.

Villanelle’s style received particular attention—and why not? (Remember that heavenly Molly Goddard dress from the first season?) “I loved her love of luxury and I thought, ‘Okay we can push this further,’” Mitchell says. “People understand it. They don’t mind it being quite bold. Villanelle is attention-seeking.” So far, we’ve seen Villanelle in a slew of the high-fashion looks she craves, as well as some less chic, oddball ensembles that are key to her survival. For each moment, Mitchell considers the character’s intentions and personality. “I always ask, ‘Why would Villanelle wear that?,” Mitchell notes. “There’s a reason for everything.

Mitchell talks to about the key outfits from season 2 so far, from Villanelle’s killer pig mask to Eve’s sleek, sexy blue dress.

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1 Villanelle’s comic book pajamas were created from scratch.

The first memorable Villanelle look of season 2 is a pair of colorful boys’ pajamas she steals from Gabriel (Pierre Atri), her fellow patient in a Paris hospital. “She’s on the run and doesn’t have her wardrobe,” Mitchell says. “She has to get out of the hospital as quickly as possible and has to find something to wear. Initially, they were going to be Spider-Man pajamas—that’s how it was written in the script. But we realized very quickly that Spider-Man is heavily branded and we didn’t think Marvel was going to allow us to use him. We looked around for fabric and found this amazing comic book fabric, which was a stretchy Lycra, so I could make them tighter and tighter. I added the red trimming on the sleeves and trousers to really highlight the ends to show they are too short. It was actually quite tricky for a simple pair of pajamas.”

2 Villanelle’s suits are an evolution from season 1.

“I really picked up on the Dries Van Noten suit she wore when she kills Bill,” Mitchell notes of the Berlin episode from last season. “I loved that shape on her with the solid boots. That’s made me put her in trousers more. I like the way Jodie walks in a pair of trousers. She’s got such a great strut about her, and when she’s in a solid pair of boots she owns it even more. She’s about business. She’s also got the most perfect figure, so she can pull off a really lovely, fitted pair of trousers.”

The character wears several suits throughout season 2, most of them using mismatched pieces to reflect the character’s unique sensibility. In episode 3, Mitchell paired a velvet Chloe jacket with a pair of silver Isabel Marant pants, and in the most recent episode Villanelle gets a chic green look. “When she’s dressed up for MI6 [in episode 6] training she gets to wear a suit,” Mitchell explains. “It’s a Loewe green striped blazer and a pair of green Peter Pilotto trousers. It’s very sensible, but if you think about her sense of humor it’s almost like a schoolboy blazer. It’s like she’s playing going back to school and being a good, studious girl.”

3 Villanelle’s mourning dress is vintage couture with a custom veil.

In episode 5, Villanelle arrives to kill Eve in a long, sheer black gown with a black lace veil. Originally, the script specified a little black dress, but Mitchell wanted something more dramatic. The costume designer found a rare 2012 Alexander McQueen couture dress in an online auction and immediately bought it, then created a custom veil to match.

“That’s my favorite outfit,” Mitchell admits. “She’s playing up the situation. She’s really sad. I didn’t want a typical veil with lots of fabric that she had to pull back over her face. I wanted it to be Villanelle style. It needed drama. I designed this piece to go over her face that didn’t gather, and was very simple and very clean. It was on a headband so it could be taken off really quickly without any fuss, so you could get into the story and get into the dialogue. And with the dress, Villanelle doesn’t try and show off her figure. She’s got presence. She doesn’t need to. The dress has enough sheer elements to show her shape without pushing it in people’s faces. It fit Jodie like a glove and obviously she adored it.”

Under the dress was a pair of Chanel hiking-style boots. “Which, of course, you never see,” Mitchell says. “The great thing about Villanelle is that she wears a solid boot and that gives her that style of walking. Those boots really helped with that. Wearing a dress like that with solid boots is so Villanelle, even if you don’t see it.”

4 Eve is purposefully a mess to reveal her level of stress.

Eve has a lot on her plate, what with chasing a serial killer around Europe, and her costumes reflect that. Just like in season 1, the MI6 agent’s clothes come from mainstream British stores like Primark, Benetton, Marks & Spencer, and John Lewis. Often, she’s clad in layers of clothing, much of which is wrinkled and disheveled. “Eve’s brain is cluttered,” Mitchell. “Eve is busy. So she just throws on another layer. I wanted to push the level of layers on Eve and also put a lot more linen in her wardrobe to be more crumpled. She doesn’t have time to press things. It’s in contrast to Carolyn, who I wanted to have more clean lines and be more minimal. She has a constant strong silhouette.”

5 Eve’s sexy blue dress is her version of taking a fashion risk.

The sleek blue dress Eve wears to Niko’s work event is the dress she bought online earlier in the season. “I had a long conversation with Sandra about it,” Mitchell says. “It needed to feel real. We originally started talking about Eve being influenced by Villanelle in her clothes and was that direction we would go in. Very quickly, we decided, no, it wasn’t the right direction. We didn’t want to distract her from the cat and mouse chase with the fashion. It didn’t feel real for someone like Eve, so we had to have a dress that was real. But it’s bright blue, which is totally against Eve’s color palette—she would feel she was dressing up a little. And that’s probably where the influence is coming in from Villanelle. There’s a slight awareness and it makes her feel very sexy.”

6 Villanelle creates “costumes” for many of her situations.

This season, Villanelle often has a look to match her environment. When she turns up to threaten Niko in Oxford, she’s clad in a college ensemble, complete with a pale fawn sweater tied around her shoulders.


In another scene, she visits Niko’s school dressed as a bohemian teacher in flowing floral print and a glitter pasta necklace that was meant to have been made by a student. “Not only am I dressing Villanelle, but I’m dressing Villanelle as someone else,” Mitchell says. “Villanelle obviously thinks this teacher very quirky if she’s wearing a pasta necklace. I made her quite hippy, purposefully heightening what a school teacher would look like. I think that’s what Villanelle would do. She’s very tongue-in-cheek, how she dresses up as characters.”


In the most recent episode, MI6 tasks Villanelle to pretend she’s a socialite named Billie, a character Villanelle embraces fully. To go along with Billie’s pink wig, she pairs an Armani pink fur coat with Helmut Lang leather trousers, as well as a turquoise oriental-style vintage jacket with a Paige striped shirt, Paige jeans, and Golden Goose sneakers. “She’s a bit of a fuck-up,” Mitchell says. “She’s one of those girls who spends a fortune on her clothes, but just picks them up off the floor after a night out clubbing. Where Villanelle is quite eclectic and together, the Billie character she plays is eclectic and disheveled. They’re all expensive items, but the blouse is done up slightly crooked. It’s in those little details.”

9 Villanelle’s Amsterdam kill outfit was a custom dirndl and…pig mask.

When Villanelle heads to Amsterdam to make a kill, she dons an elaborate costume, which Mitchell created from scratch. It took two rounds to get the look of the pig mask, which Villanelle wears knowing her target is into farm animals, right. “It was written in the script that she wore a dirndl, which is a Swiss barmaid’s outfit,” Mitchell says. “Lisa, the director, wanted it to be really pink, like a manga cartoon character—so cute it’s almost sinister and creepy. We had the pig’s mask made. It’s an incredible piece. Sometimes, things I come up with, I worry about my sense of humor.”

Emily Zemler is a freelance writer based in London.

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