Insecure costume designer Shiona Turini breaks down Issa and co.'s covetable fashion
Over the course of three seasons, Issa Rae’s HBO comedy Insecure have proven itself to be exactly the kind of relevant, honest, and forward-thinking comedy that audiences have been craving.
And in the grand tradition of shows like Sex and the City, Girls, and Girlfriends, each of the main characters — Issa, Molly, Kelli, and Tiffany — has her own distinctive style. As each character continues to evolve, so too does her wardrobe, quietly making Insecure one of the most fashionable shows on television. To take a deeper look at the style of each character, EW spoke with Insecure costume designer Shiona Turini about what Issa and co. wear, and why.
Issa: Playfully eclectic and most importantly, evolving
“Issa is occupying a new mental space in an effort to grow up, glow up, and find out what is best for her,” Turini tells EW of Rae’s onscreen counterpart. “She’s evolving personally and professionally, and as we change, so does our style. She’s still eclectic and print-dependent, but she’s ready to explore an elevated version of that… always with a carefully curated selection of vintage, denim and conscious clothing. Her denim will typically be vintage, lived-in, and telling a story.”
Turini adds, “I want to imagine Issa thrifting in her spare time to find that perfect lighter-washed, worn-in pair of jeans — high-waisted, with a relaxed leg that’s stylish and, most importantly, comfortable. This season as Issa grows up, it was important to me that her sartorial choices did as well. It’s less about the actual designers and the brands, and more about the fits, the cuts, and the more grown-up prints and patterns we are exploring.”
Molly: Sophisticated and bright
“This season, Molly is visibly fighting for recognition,” Turini says of Yvonne Orji’s overachieving corporate lawyer. “As a black woman moving from a white-dominated workplace to a now black, male-dominated workplace, she’s hoping to stand out and prove herself. Visually, I’ve translated that using bold color, and often monochrome suiting. In her personal life, it was important to me that we elevate her style and include moments of brand recognition. Professional black women have immense buying power in the luxury market; it’s time we see that represented on television.”
Kelli: Cool, lively, and refined
Kelli (played byNatasha Rothwell) is “the rollicking character of the bunch,” Turini says. “Stylistically, she’s bright and experimental — much like her character. It’s refreshing to see a stylish woman with real curves on television not exclusively dressed in black, or dowdy dresses. In episode 5 [of season 3], Kelli wore a pair of Good American jeans — they were high-waisted with lots of stretch, without losing the feel, weight, and fabrication of true denim. In those jeans Kelli could run, kick, and withstand an attack with a stun gun, in jeans that were still flattering and looked fly!”
Tiffany: Ultra-feminine, with a little spice
“While all of the girls are going through a transition this season, Tiffany’s transition manifests physically,” Turini says of Amanda Seales’ high-maintenance mom-to-be. “Her version of maternity wear heavily injects the diva sensibility we know and love her for. She’s not sacrificing style.”
The season 3 finale of Insecure airs Sunday, Sept. 30, at 7:30 p.m.