If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent the last eight weeks of your life slightly consumed with HBO’s new show Euphoria. There are so many reasons this show is phenomenal. Its cast features the likes of Zendaya and Hunter Schafer, and it’s produced by Drake—but the cast is just the tip of the iceberg. What makes this show prime bingeing material are the tantalizing plots that explore everything from drug addiction and toxic masculinity to gender identity.
If that weren’t enough, Heidi Bivens, the show’s costume designer’s, styling is the icing on the cake. The best shows not only explore the cultural zeitgeist, but they do so stylishly. Frankly, I would be so lucky to grapple with toxic masculinity wearing any of Maddy’s powerful ensembles. The show’s beauty looks and hoodies left me euphoric as well, which is why I’ve taken upon myself to round up the best outfits from the show. Fair warning: There are spoilers ahead.
While hoodies may seem to be one of the more trivial costume choices compared to the glitter eye shadow and sets that comprise Euphoria’s scenes, it’s one of Heidi’s more subtle ways of using clothing as part of the grander storytelling. Yes, of course hoodies are a practical choice, but within the show, they function as a cover for the character’s emotional traumas. In the case of Alexa Demie as Maddy, it’s to physically hide the marks of abuse, and in Zendaya as Rue’s case, it’s to feel closer to her deceased father. In this way, clothing moves beyond its utilitarian purpose to convey the complexity of love.
Were your sleepovers in high school this chic? All jokes aside, the beauty of the pilot episode including this impromptu sleepover scene is that the wardrobe is a powerful signal of the beginning of the protagonists’ (Rue as Zendaya and Hunter Schafer as Jules) close relationship. After all, nothing screams intimacy better than lounging around in a crop top or something silky.
Unpopular opinion ahead: I lived for Jacob Elordi’s cameo as Nate at the Halloween party in episode six. Nate and Maddy’s costume was both ironic and symbolic not only of their relationship but the plot. Heidi, I see you with this plot foreshadowing through costumes. And as much as you hate him, you have to admit those stripes look so damn good on him.
Of all the Euphoria episodes, Zendaya’s performance was no more unparalleled than in episode seven. In many ways, her look as Detective Bennett added a lightheartedness to an otherwise emotionally heavy episode where she teeters between mania and depression all while trying to investigate why Jules is upset. If there ever were a case for determining if detectives are chic, Rue solved it.
If I could just round up all of Maddy’s two-pieces sets, I would. This girl’s ability to rock a two-piece is next-level, and I particularly found myself intrigued by the purple I.Am.Gia set she wore to the carnival in episode four. For this episode, the costume felt like the clearest example of how Maddy’s overtly sultry looks juxtapose her partner Nate’s overtly masculine ways. While Nate parades his masculinity through his outbursts, Maddy’s costumes, particularly this one, are equally as loud. Her looks are a parade of femininity They are her small acts of rebellion against an abusive, controlling partner. They say I’m here, I’m in control of my body, and I’m going to wear the fuck out of this set.
Of all the characters, Cassie’s wardrobe choices are the most subdued. She’s not sporting a two-piece like Maddy or covered in glitter like Jules, but her moment of flair came through during the finale. It’s not quite clear whether it’s a fantasy or the future, but in a flash of a moment, you’re taken from Cassie getting an abortion to the scene of her skating on the ice in a suit adorned with the feathers of a peacock. The subtle message behind this costume and moment is so powerful. For her, flying on the ice in feathers feels as if she’s finally free from the weight not only of her pregnancy but of her past.
Barbie Ferreria’s costumes as Kat truly stole the show; no other character quite used style as an indicator of change more than she did. I personally lived for her transformation from girl next door to grunge dominatrix—grunge is in for fall after all. But beyond loving her serious body belts, it was empowering to see this young, curvy woman find power and flaunt her sexuality through how she chose to dress. Kat’s transformation says to society that women of all sizes not only deserve pleasure but can look damn good doing it. I’m here for that.
There are some outfits that only take a split second on the screen to blow you away—this one is no exception. From the rainbow eyelash extensions to Jules’s technicolor matching sheer set, this look had me shook. Granted, delving into dark fantasy where Rue and Jules murder Nate also is worth being shaken about, but something about this scene and the way Jules is styled felt as though it were a commentary on letting society’s grander gender roles burn to the ground. While she watches Nate burn (the series’ living definition of toxic masculinity), this trans woman is wearing the most fabulous look standing with her love—and if that’s not a fashion statement, I don’t know what is.
If a season finale weren’t fraught with enough emotions, the character’s costumes for Euphoria’s finale were worth a few tears. In Heidi fashion, each character’s winter formal looks were not only to die for but did a phenomenal job of speaking to each character’s development. In the episode, you see Cassidy pull a Pretty in Pink moment and show up to the dance despite her low spirits. If that weren’t enough, Maddy wore a custom head-to-toe Swarovski dress, Kat killed us with a red bondage situation, Rue wore a corset, and Jules wore this beautiful sheer duster that I need in my life ASAP. Basically, the costumes added to, affirmed, and assuaged the emotional waxing and waning that this series takes you through.
In general, you could say the pinnacle of styling this season came down to everyone’s Halloween costumes. Not only were they witty, but they fit each one of the characters. Kat was Thana from Ms. 45, Jules was looking like Juliet, Maude Apatow (aka Lexi) was Bob Ross, Cassie was Alabama Worley, and then there was Rue being Rue.
In many ways, these looks not only are metaphoric for the characters themselves, but they are representative of the sensational journey each episode took us on. For the best costumes—Halloween or otherwise—aren’t just costumes‚ but they speak to the plot of our lives without having to say a word.