‘Euphoria’ season two dazzles viewers with bewitching and symbolic fashion

Season+2+of+Euphoria+broadened+the+boundaries+for+fashion%2C+to+highlight+the+perplexity+behind+the+new+path+of+each+character.

Udita Jonnala

Season 2 of “Euphoria” broadened the boundaries for fashion, to highlight the perplexity behind the new path of each character.

Udita Jonnala, PR Editor

HBO’s sentimental teen drama “Euphoria” returns for season two, brimmed with broken teenagers and mystical visuals. 

With glitter, drugs and desolate teenagers, the show “Euphoria” is a gem that transformed the depiction of Generation Z. Season one of “Euphoria” was all the social media rage to define the shared aesthetic of teenagers today, from Maddy’s provocative bootcut leggings to Jules’ delicate and feminine fashion. With each of the characters on the show having their own unique and singular aesthetic, costume designer Heidi Bivens created a masterpiece and a tale of her own on the show. Season two of “Euphoria,” released on Jan. 9, 2022, exceeded every expectation the first season was held to in terms of fashion, as Bivens embellished the avant-garde narrative of fashion. 

Unlike season one, season two of “Euphoria” broadened the boundaries for fashion, to highlight the perplexity behind the new path of each character. Starring raw and risky looks, Bivens wanted to break apart the concerns and issues she was dealing with in season one. To go apart from her original idea to “play it safe,” season two shook the fashion world by portraying an assortment of designer labels and introducing cutting-edge fashion. Biven talks about this change in mindset for season two with an interview for Interview magazine. 

“In terms of style, I played it safe the first season. I really tried to be conscious of making it realistic, so that the audience couldn’t really pick the story apart like, ‘Jules could never afford that purse.’ … This season, that went out the window, because I just wanted to have fun,” she explained.

Even though Bivens wanted the characters to express themselves in designer clothing, she didn’t want to drift away from the real purpose behind the fashion, which is to express the deeper and heavier topics the season touches on. In season two, “Euphoria” worked hard to stray away from the romanticized version of “Euphoria” displayed in the media, and their fashion reflected those same ideals. Bivens talks about the difficulties behind the reputation of ‘Euphoria’ and the fashion shown in the show in an interview with Mel Ottenberg. 

Season two of “Euphoria” broadened the boundaries for fashion, to highlight the perplexity behind the new path of each character.”

“We’ve always been concerned about selling a lifestyle that is ‘Euphoria,’ or glamorizing a certain kind of lifestyle. Zendaya once said to me, ‘There’s two versions of ‘Euphoria’: the TikTok version, and the real story that digs a lot deeper.’ Part of the motivation behind the storyline this season was to get really deep, and to move away from some of the social media versions of what ‘Euphoria’ was becoming.”

The new season did exactly that, as the looks explored the change and growth of the characters on the show. They sympathized with their characters’ emotional status and shifted through each episode. Breaking down every iconic look served by every character, we will look through “Euphoria” from the spectacles of Heidi Bivens. 

 

SPOILERS FROM HERE ON ——————————————————————————————-

 

Maddy Perez (Alexa Demie)

Maddy Perez, the original “it girl” in “Euphoria,” from her bold mannerisms to her striking fashion, was the character that was behind many fashion trends in season one. In season two, viewers get to see a truer version of Maddie as she goes through love, heartbreak and betrayal, while also showing her darker side for vengeance. 

Celebrating her look in the very first episode for the New Year’s party was a show stopper, as Maddy was shown wearing a bold and classy black dress, with racy cutouts around her waist and her chest. Wearing an original look commissioned by the designer Aidan Euan with crystal heels, it was the perfect harmony commemorating the collaboration between Alexa Demie and Bivens. Alexa Demie, playing as Maddy, had always been involved in making mood boards for Maddy; for this dress specifically she had gone to the fabric store with Bivens to make out the design. Starting the first look with a bang, this season unveiled the more vampy and mature side of Maddie. 

After getting betrayed by her closest friend, Maddie spends the second half of the season trying to regain her confidence. Following a really difficult time in her life, she confides in Samantha, the mother she is babysitting for, while also admiring her large wardrobe of vintage dresses when left alone to babysit. In an effort to help Maddie on her journey to fixing her emotional state, Samantha gives Maddie her purple sequin Norman Norell dress. As this moment depicts a beautiful gesture, it also portrays something more with the selection of the dress Samantha gave. Looking at how Bivens plays with Maddy in the color purple, she tries to signify this exchange as Maddy finding her roots again. Bivens explains the importance behind the color purple to Maddy’s personality in an interview with Nylon. 

“That matching set she wears in the carnival episode is a very similar purple — it’s a royal color and I think Maddy’s such a queen … It just always made sense to me that we would bring that color back in a strong way for the second season and that was the moment to do it,” she said.

 

Cassie Howard (Sydney Sweeney)

This season presented a rollercoaster of emotions for Cassie, and she was slowly heading into her own downward spiral. In season 1, Cassie was only shown surface level, for her more “innocent” looks held closely to her expression in fashion. This season showed Cassie in a new light, as viewers followed her multiple breakdowns, her switching of looks and her inner desire to sculpt herself as a “perfect” girl for validation. 

Cassie this season was merely just a mannequin for her constant switch up of looks; craving for perfection, she was easily influenced by others. Bivens elaborates on the inspirations behind Cassie’s looks this season. 

“I think Cassie as a person, in terms of her style, she’s looking at TikTok, she’s looking at Instagram for fashion references. I was very set on the profile for the other characters, but Cassie I couldn’t really nail. I was trying to figure out why, and Sam and I realized that it’s because, from the beginning, she doesn’t really know who she is,” she said. 

Not only was Cassie taking inspiration from the media, but she even managed to match her entire outfit with Maddie (accidentally) in hopes of getting attention from Nate. Biven meticulously planned out this scene for a little comedic relief to show the stretches that Cassie went to in this season for validation. 

However, the matching outfit was not the worst if we count Cassie’s daring “Oklahoma” outfit she wore for Nate. Showing her unhinged side, the scene consisted of the characters taunting her very southern and comical attire. Like earlier, Biven really wanted the message of Cassie’s amusing and slightly comedic journey to discovering herself. 

There is also a distinction and contrast between Cassie from the beginning of season 2 to the end. Near the end of the season, she’s finally in a relationship with Nate where she not only gives away her commitment to him but her style. She goes as far as letting Nate dress her up, which is what highlights the internal struggle in her character, as she longs for affection and wants to go as far as she can for it. When she is first seen holding hands in the hallways of their school with Nate, her whole style had changed from her more feminine and delicate attire to something more risky and bold. The biggest indicator of the changes was the dark, thick liner compared to her earlier soft, pastel liner, and her straightened hair.

 

Lexi Howard (Maude Apatow)

Like a diamond in the rough, Lexi had finally had her own breakthrough in season 2, as we got to see more of her without her buried under someone else’s shadow. Known in season 1 for her hilarious Bob Ross Halloween costume, compared to the seductive costumes of her friends, her character had tons of growth from that point onwards. Focusing resolutely on herself this season, her style reciprocates her aspirations to express herself. Her sophisticated and formal-esque wardrobe shows her on her path to be her truest self. 

One of her most iconic looks was her Miu Miu collared dress matched with her vibrant, red lipstick that embraces her desire to be known: to step out of the shadows and into her own spotlight. 

In terms of the spotlight, Lexi’s biggest desire this season was to accomplish something for herself, which was the play she put her heart and soul into writing. Showcasing the intricate relationships she formed in her life and her motivations, she truly expressed herself as a bright and creative individual. During a segment of her play where she narrates her aspiration of being the girl “that no one could get” she startled viewers by embracing the more mainstream, “hot girl” aesthetic. Wearing a bright pink knitwear dress, she flaunted her curves while also showing the contrast behind both the aesthetics. It was refreshing to see her smile proudly in a different aesthetic. 

Overall, this season Lexi grew closer to the true expression of herself, and even though her dreams had her leading a different direction she stuck through with her own style. 

 

Jules Vaughn (Hunter Schafer)

Originally, Jules was the “girl next door,” expressing a more delicate and hyper-feminine aesthetic. With fishnets, tennis skirts and glitters, Jules from season 1 was a big contrast to Jules in season two. 

In season two, Jules is shown wearing darker and edgier clothing, displaying her transformation in mindset. Her dynamic views around her sexuality and her expression are seen by this wide contrast from season 1. Her look for the New Year’s party came as a big surprise as she wore a grunge-inspired outfit, with a beaded top by Nihl and a skirt by Orseund Iris. The best part of her look was the collaboration between Hunter Schafer and Biven when creating the look, where she created the signature star choker by sewing a star trim to a green ribbon. 

For Jules, her growth in season two was her fluidity in sexuality and how she expanded the horizons of her views. 

 

Faye (Chloe Cherry)

Faye, a new character this season, won the hearts of viewers through her adorable looks and her comedic personality. Inspired by the character Faye Valentine from the anime series “Cowboy Bebop,” Sam Levison wrote up a character with the same name for “Euphoria.” 

Faye’s aesthetic throughout this season was very similar to Jules’ first season, but it’s based more on vintage, Y2K clothing. She flaunts herself in a lot of pastel colors and “thrifty” items. Fashion for this character was sketched out by Angelina Vitto, the assistant costume designer for Bivens, and she elaborates on her key inspirations behind Faye’s style in an interview with Nylon. 

“Faye is someone who is shopping at thrift stores and is drawn to things that are sexy and cute and kind of pop on a thrift rack. When sourcing her costumes I thought a lot about what kind of brands you find in a California thrift store: Roxy, Frankie B, Miss Sixty, Betsy Johnson, and random kids’ clothes,” she said.

Although Faye wasn’t there for season one, viewers got to connect with her character and follow along her storyline. 

 

Kat Hernandez (Barbie Ferreira)

In this season, Kat’s screen time was cut to a minimum, but it didn’t stop Bivens from portraying her emotional plight through fashion. 

In season one, Kat was undergoing major changes, with exploring and broadening her styles and her sexuality. Going from basic to grunge and sexual, in season two Kat strays more to her original self in season one. As a result of her feelings of confusion and a longing for something more, there is a transition that can be portrayed through her clothing to revert back to her old style. Bivens explains why she made such a decision in an interview with Nylon. 

“She’s reverting back to her original, sort of emo, Thora Birch in ‘Ghost World’ style,” she explained.

Though Kat goes through very traumatizing times in her life, such as her life-threatening, terminal brain disease (self-diagnosed, of course), she still manages to pull through and come back as strong as ever.

 

Rue Bennett (Zendaya Coleman)

This season, Rue Bennet went through a mirage of change and growth compared to her emotional status in season one. Though Rue tried her hardest to stay sober in season one, the main reason being her dependence on Jules for happiness, she still overdosed the night Jules left on a train to the city. Season two explores more around the trauma she holds about her past and how she tries to break free from her pattern of drug abuse after constant, repeated mistakes. 

Rue’s fashion from seasons one and two mostly consists of her need to be comfortable and her mindset that isn’t conscious about her appearance. During this season she carries the same ideas through her fashion, but her mindset does improve drastically. 

Sticking to the burgundy, oversized hoodie from season one, Rue always uses it over her outfits no matter the weather. Later in season two, it is known that the burgundy hoodie belonged to her late father and she holds on to it for comfort. As Biven’s main idea for the season was to really portray the path of each of the characters, she plays with the burgundy hoodie to show the unresolved trauma that Rue holds on to. In an interview with Nylon, Bivens reveals her intention behind the statement with the hoodie. 

I think we’re entering new territory for Rue. I haven’t said this before and it’s sort of occurring to me now that there could be this idea that she’s so conflicted with who she is when she’s sober versus who she is when she’s using drugs that there’s a certain amount of shame involved with her using that, I think, in wearing the hoodie at this point could be a reminder to her of that because of the relationship with her father,” she said.

Though the burgundy hoodie remains a staple in Rue’s wardrobe, near the end of the season there is a new light of glimmering hope on Rue’s face and her style. Though her looks are not the most fashion-forward, Bivens plays with the significance of colors in fashion to portray a new sense of hope in Rue. Utilizing the color yellow in Rue’s final looks of season two, Bivens finishes off the season with a hushed feeling of happiness for the viewers. Bivens describes how she tries to show a narrative through fashion about Rue in an interview with Nylon.

“You’ll see even with her hair and makeup, we’re just making her look hopeful in some way. It goes for every department — that’s part of that visual storytelling — all working in tandem, kind of like one big breathing, living organism that became the world of ‘Euphoria.’”