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Savannah Smiled is an online space for sharing life's milestones, home decor, DIY projects and a few breakfast recipes here and there. 

A Scandalous Guest Post

Guess what day it is? No, it's not hump day anymore, friends. It's Scandal Winter Finale night! This Texas ice storm has kind of put a damper on my finale plans. I wanted to have a watch party with my girls, but my friends' final exams were rescheduled into Thursday night. Womp womp. We may be party-less, but I wanted to have something "scandalous" on the blog today! My friend Amarie from Simpli Spiritu is coming by to tell you all about her experiences at a recent conference, where she heard from the Olivia-Pope-dresser herself.

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[All photos are from abc.com]

When I attended Fashionista’s How to Make It in Fashion conference in L.A. I had no idea I’d learn what the role of a costume designer was. But lo and behold, there I was, sitting in the audience, waiting to hear Emmy Award-winning costume designer Lyn Paolo speak. Paolo is a fashion-forward genius who manages to successfully dress Kerry Washington in the extremely fashion-driven show Scandal. She has the uncanny gift of creating breathtaking “designer duds” that are often made herself. She is the individual responsible for the envy-inducing clothing that drapes Olivia Pope week after week.

Naturally the amazing clothing arc that makes up Olivia Pope’s character didn’t just evolve overnight. Paolo spent a lot of time doing extensive research on what influential women on Capitol Hill wore. She curated looks from various era’s, trends and styles, but throughout all of her research she “found the majority of clothing to be quite boring.” She explained to us that as a costume designer, the main goal is create a character through their clothing while remaining true to the script.

[All photos are from abc.com]

When she was working on the Pilot she knew that she wanted to use more white on television. Often times it’s an uphill battle because networks resist it (cinematography issue), but after reading the script, she especially wanted to dress this strong woman (Pope) in a lot of winter white, not dark and she knew that pastel colors would allow her to bring out Olivia’s “softer side.” After the first fitting with Kerry Washington they knew they were on to something, and Washington agreed that the most important thing was to see a strong female character look like a lady.

[All photos are from abc.com]

Paolo went on to say that whenever Olivia is “wearing the white hat” or being a gladiator, she is usually in an all-white ensemble. In contrast, when she’s at home in her “wine and popcorn” look, she's dressed in “muddy” tones to really symbolize the conflicted emotions and showcase the internal struggle that Olivia is feeling. Being a costume designer, even for Paolo who has designed for shows like ER and West Wing, is a profession that can sometimes be overlooked in this industry. Often times costume designers are the “silent and often overlooked artists,” according to Paolo.

It's a tricky balance between fashion and sticking to the script, but people are really in love with the way Olivia dresses. “Thanks to social media, the role of the costume designer is slowly coming out of the shadows,” says Paolo. And so are the costume designers. As designers shows get attention for the clothing their characters wear, quite a few decide to launch clothing lines. Although Paolo knows that she is not a fashion designer by any means, despite the “many offers” she has gotten lately, she has zero interest in adding the role of fashion designer to her already impressive resumé.

“I feel strongly I’m not a fashion designer. I know what I’m good at,” and while a entire fashion line may not be in the works, Paolo did mention that she has been considering doing a glove line since she is completely “obsessed by them.” She went on to say that Kerry might launch something of her own because she is a very smart woman, with an innate sense of style, who has worked hard to develop relationships with designers.

[All photos are from abc.com]

Once the floor opened to questions from the audience I stood up to ask Paolo something I’ve always wondered about: what happens to the costumes after they’re worn? Do the actors get to keep them, or are they sold off in an auction or something? I was really hoping for the later, but it turns out that actors no longer get to keep their clothing. Studios are more like corporations now and each item that is created for a show goes into a giant archive of clothing, so that other shows can pull items from them. Although Paolo revealed that when ER ended John Stamos borrowed his housekeeper’s truck and took all of the clothing that was made for him. She was laughing as she talked about him taking the racks of clothing, and apparently there were no repercussions, but I can’t say that nothing would happen if an actor tried to do the same thing today.

[All photos are from abc.com]

The best part of the open questions was when one girl asked if Paolo had ever dealt with an actress who became pregnant mid-show. I swear the entire room held their breath as we waited for her to answer, but being the professional she is she dodged the question without even batting an eyelash. So, I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see if the rumors are true.

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I sure hope the rumors are true! My friends and I would totally adore a baby Kerry (we're in love with her). Hope you guys stop by and show Simpli Spiritu some follow-love. Thanks for taking over my blog today, girl.

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