As Vice President Selina Meyer on HBO’s “Veep,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus is profane, ill-tempered, fake, clueless, ruthless and ambitious. She is, however, beautifully dressed.
That’s because costume designer Ernesto Martinez knows how to assemble sophisticated outfits. It doesn’t hurt that he picks among high-end designers because the veep is a rich woman, on the world stage.
Martinez turned to the stylish first lady for ideas.
“I use Michelle Obama as the starting point,” he tells Zap2it. “I wanted Selina Meyer to be chic. I had seen Julia in every thing – I had seen her as Elaine and Christine, and she is such an elegant woman. And the position she is in, as a powerful woman, we should have a beautiful and chic vice president and a woman men would believe could boss them around.”
“I never put her in an A-line or anything with too much fabric,” Martinez says of the petite Louis-Dreyfus. “I like to keep her very fitted, very strong. I was thinking a sexy headmistress with a pencil skirt and good blouse and good string of pearls.”
The Christian Dior two-piece outfit “was stronger without any jewelry,” Martinez says. “When you put the jewelry on, it made it too fussy. There is a nice pair of earrings and no watch, and that makes it much sexier. No necklace gave her a sense of youthfulness.”
The veep wore this black and gray silk Dolce & Gabbana blouse and black Bottega Veneta skirt after attending a pig roast. The episode featured a lot of animal references and animals, and Martinez favored the animal print to continue the theme. “It is hard to take her seriously in leopard print,” he says. “And when you look at her, she looks appropriate.”
The David Meister peplum dress shows off Louis-Dreyfus’ “great arms and great legs,” Martinez says. “That was a dress we got right off Neiman Marcus online. I thought the sheer top and the peplum and ankle strap shoes and black stockings was just the best outfit to have her do a song and dance for a benefit.”
The haute couture Carolina Herrera was so instantly popular once Meyer wore it that the other few dresses made sold once the episode ran. “It is a classic, beautiful piece,” Martinez says. “I used leather and silk faille shoes from Lanvin. You could wear it to a cocktail party; you could wear it to lunch, in business meetings.”
The black V-neck Calvin Klein couture dress is perfect simplicity. The iridescent Prada shoes match the Marni brooch. Despite the usual rule of a woman needing a jacket to look professional, Martinez eschewed them for the veep.
“They aged her in a weird way,” he says. “I didn’t do suits in the conventional way. If I do a suit, I do sans blouse and very fitted. My reference to that was I always remember watching ‘Superman,’ and Lois Lane wore fitted suits to her body and no blouse.”