Remember when Cher Horowitz from Clueless popularised the preppy style or Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City made tutu skirts go viral? And what about Friends’ Rachel Green ‘90s cool girl style – a sleek, minimal aesthetic that still resonates today with all of Rachel-esque blazers, miniskirts, slip dresses and turtlenecks?
From Carrie Bradshaw to Rachel Green, TV characters have given us fashion inspiration for as long as we can remember
Spanning decades of entertainment, these are but a few of the characters who have given us the best in fashion with their small-screen styles. For as long as we can remember, costume choices have influenced not just the success of TV series personalities but also their relevance in the fashion arena and the way they drive what we choose to wear. Street trends have been set and shared through the stars we have seen on (the small) screen.
Small screen styles have always influenced how we dress. But what about now that Netflix’s binge-watching has forever changed how we consume television and fashion?
Although many (nostalgic) fashionistas still consider Jennifer Aniston as Rachel or Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie to be TV’s best-dressed, the question arises: where should we look to define the new iconic cast that will shape the next decades of fashion inspiration? Considering Gen Zers’ favourite styles, there is only one possible answer: Netflix – except for a few HBO products.
Hunter Schafer on the set of Euphoria, one of HBO's shows featuring the most fashionable teenagers
The US streaming giant changed how we consume television by creating the concept of binge-watching. It has also influenced the way competing producers work and made the aesthetics and costumes of its series a key part of its success. The role of costume designers has also come back into the spotlight, gaining in status, setting trends and influence thousands of people with the help of social networks.
Jenna Ortega as Wednesday Addams of the Addams family with Tim Burton heading the series, one of Netflix’s biggest English-language debuts
In a nutshell, partly due to the increased time spent at home during the pandemic, the influence of TV series and films on how we dress every day has become more obvious, and today’s most talked about fashion trends are inspired by the style of Netflix stars.
From Emily in Paris’s show-stopping looks à la Parisienne to Regencycore’s fanciful corsets and opulent costumes, the characters for our fav streaming series seem to drive what we choose to wear more than ever before
Among the most recent trends for our wardrobe, we can’t help but mention Emily in Paris. An intern, played by Lily Collins, in a marketing company it is unrealistic to have a walk-in closet where the following are in charge: Chanel, Louboutin and other noteworthy brands, but we are facing a TV series that tells the Parisian fantasy during clichés complete with baguettes, champagne in Saint Tropez and all things French good life. The Parisian chic style is certainly not a new trend, but thanks to Emily in Paris, it has found new popularity, loved by younger girls and older women alike. According to statics, Collins increased searches on the Kangol hat by 342%, not to mention Ganni’s asymmetrical yellow skirt, which led to an increase in sources by 289%.
Three of Emily in Paris' stars. From left to right, Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu as Sylvie Grateau, Lily Collins as Emily Cooper and Camille Emilie Razat as Camille
Going back a few weeks, the TV series Wednesday boasts of 4 Academy Awards for best costumes won by Coleen Atwood. The costume designer has aroused suspense around the dark and gothic style that sets apart the lead role, played by Jeanna Ortega.
Costume designer Colleen Atwood paid homage to Wednesday Addams' signature style in Tim Burton's new show Wednesday
However, there are also different genres, such as Stranger Things, showing research into retro and vintage looks, with elements related to mystery, science fiction, and costumes.
Besides the above TV series, we cannot fail to name The Crown. And, of course, Bridgerton, which brought historical representations to the small screen and started the Regencycore trend, a term coined by the shopping platform Lyst to reflect the rise of Bridgerton-style corsets and finery. Both series have based their success on clothes and historical reconstructions.
Regencycore emerges as a rising trend on TikTok, inspired by Bridgerton, bringing historical subcultures to the mainstream
The Crown re-created one of Lady Diana's most iconic looks: the so-called revenge dress
From Netflix to HBO. Sequins, sparkling make-up, Y2K-inspired mesh tops and revealing dresses are some of the ingredients to turn a series into a fashion inspo for Gen Zers today, and Euphoria is one such example. Zendaya and the other actors were dressed by costume and fashion stylist Heide Bivens, an aesthete with a mania for detail. The success was incredible: just a few days after its release, the series started contributing to trends on TikTok feeds. While content creators recreate outfits inspired by the TV series on TikTok and Instagram, make-up artists experiment with multi-coloured stickers and rhinestones on their faces, which have also become core ingredients of 2022 music festivals and Y2K fashion revival. “Searches featuring the word ‘Euphoria’ on Depop increased by over 345 per cent month on month when season two was released in January 2022, as shoppers rushed to emulate the on-screen style, while it was also up 275 per cent on Vestiaire Collective,” Harper’s Bazaar recently stated.
HBO's Euphoria series is full of Y2K-inspired fashion that has wowed Gen Z
Not just product placement: How brands enter TV series and why fashion’s deal with streaming platforms is big business
Brands love to be the centre of attention, and producers crave the same for their TV series. That’s why fashion’s love affair with the streaming platforms is big business as fashion houses “are now going straight to the source, working with streaming platforms such as Netflix and HBO Max to produce fashion collaborations that go live with the show or film”, as Vogue Business explained. Moreover, we have to consider the product placement that brands use to inject their items into episodes, as well as brands’ love of collaborating with celebrity stylists to dress TV series stars on red carpets. Versace, for example, dressed Jeanna Ortega for the premiere of Wednesday while maintaining the style of her role in the series. The same goes for Dolce&Gabbana, who dressed Tanya McQuoid in The White Lotus. Prada is another much-talked-about Italian fashion house as it created Wednesday Addams’ Monolith boots.
Jennifer Coolidge as Tanya McQuoid in The White Lotus season 2
Today, we often hear about (fashion) marketing linked to television and the most popular social media, such as Instagram and TikTok. It’s not only about the big luxury brands but also small companies gaining visibility thanks to the wardrobes of successful TV series stars.
In 2023 we can define TV series and television as a sort of influencer. While until a few years ago, their product was just entertainment, today it can generate hype, shaping viewers’ taste and becoming a source of inspiration. Some TV series don’t shine for their plots but are irresistible for their attention to an original, contemporary aesthetic.