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Before “Scandal” debuted I almost never watched TV. Now I am going through some type of Olivia Pope/Kerry Washington induced withdrawal from the series as I anxiously await the new season this October.

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We can all thank costume designer Lyn Paolo, who’s also worked on “West Wing” and “Shameless”, for Olivia’s swoon-worthy looks she sports each episode. Lyn recently spilled the deets on how she knew Olivia had to wear white, what her next projects are, and if there will be a “Scandal” inspired clothing line. Check out excerpts from the interview here:

On how Olivia Pope has time to shop: 

In our heads–and we’ve talked about it in fittings–we assume that she has someone that does it for her. That’s one of the reasons that Shonda was concerned about the gloves is we always want to feel like she’s a real person. We’re not doing Sex and the City; it’s not about wearing something that’s just off the runway. We want to strike a balance between her always looking great but looking like a real person. I always say if you walked into her closet, she’d have 30 suits and you could wear any of them with any of the blouses and the shoes and the colors all work together because she doesn’t have time. We stick to the same purses; we try really hard to not make her too frivolous. She’s not going to run into Dolce & Gabbana and buy one of their bright florals. She has to walk into a room and demand and get respect and I don’t think she has time in her life to worry, so she’s smart about her closet.

On who and what influencing Mellie’s style:

We did start with her with images of many First Ladies, and Mellie’s charcter is a little tricky because a lot of the audience has a real visceral reaction to her, but I always feel like she and Olivia are the same woman because they’re both driven and brilliant, but Mellie’s agenda is very different and how do we show that difference? There are constraints obviously about being First Lady. She can’t have a lot of cleavage and all those sorts of rules.

But I did look at Michelle Obama and I do love that Mrs. Obama wears a range of designers–she can go from a Jason Wu to J. Crew–and that’s what we tried to do with Mellie. We tried to keep her in dresses so she’s the antithesis of Olivia, but we also tried to have a whole range. As the season went on, I started dressing her more and more in pastels because I find that highly amusing that she’s in baby blues and pinks and she’s being so Machiavellian. and then we played with color towards the end–whenever she was really upset or angry she was in red; when she was really supremely jealous we had her in green.

On a “Scandal” clothing line: 

We’ve been talking about it. We’ve been talking about how we could create something aspirational for the audience–like, something that Olivia Pope might wear–but not so aspirational that it was out of reach for most of our gladiators. We’re just throwing around ideas with several different people, and getting a sense if we can do it and learning about the parameters. We’re trying to figure out how to do it so that it’s not too out of the price range that most people can afford, and yet somehow create something for people to have a piece of the Olivia Pope look.

Read the entire interview over at

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