How New York City Inspired Victoria Justice's Wardrobe on 'Eye Candy'
Costume designer Elisabeth Vastolla fills us in on the edgy ensembles she created for MTV's thrilling original series.
Despite being in our sun-lit office surrounded by coworkers, we were terrified the first time we watched the pilot for MTV's new original series Eye Candy—terrified and hooked. Still, the surprisingly dark plot twists posed a problem for identifying the wardrobe items seen on the characters, so we had to call in the series' costume designer, Elisabeth Vastolla, to fill us in on the edgy ensembles she created for the cast. See how the show's backdrop played a major role, plus how to channel the leading ladies' strength when it comes to your own closet.
What's it like designing for a thriller series? "I love it. I’ve worked a lot in the horror genre, so I was able to bring that to the table in terms of having the visual sensibility for it and also the day-to-day practicality of dealing with gore and blood effects and all of that. The general idea behind the show is somewhat dark in its subject matter, [which] marries well with being in New York. You have characters in a darker palette to help motivate that thrilling sense when you watch the show, but [I'm] also able to balance that out with color and pop when the show dips into more comedic situations."
How do you convey the characters' personalities through their attire? "What really attracted me to the show right out the gate was that it revolved around this young woman [Lindy, played by Victoria Justice] living in the city who was intelligent, brave, independent and really had a strong sense of self. She's minimal in terms of style choices, motivated by [the need to] move very quickly, being put in precarious situations and what feels good and right for her. She wears darker clothes—interesting prints now and then—that she can be sexy in but not have that be the forefront of her style.
Sophia [Kiersey Clemons] is the same in many ways. She's independent—owns the bar, is a businesswoman and seriously smart—but she chooses to express herself in a much more colorful way. We choose a lot of bold pieces for her that are different shapes, silhouettes, patterns, textures and obviously colors. The two women represent the same driving, independent idea and yet still are able to have their own styles—they are very self-possessed and have a strong relationship with the clothes that they wear; they just go through different choices and avenues of expressing themselves."
Where do you turn for their signature pieces? "For Lindy, I put myself in her shoes and went to boutiques and stores that were specific to New York and mined those specialty places for pieces that would feel good for her: Isabel Benenato, Rag & Bone, Vince, etc. Sophia's a lot more flexible, excited about changes in fashion and motivated by trends. That’s a whole other side to the fashion world in New York. For her, we really went all over the place in terms of different designers that would be appropriate for her: Roberto Cavalli, Ted Baker, Zara, etc. As is the case with a lot of shows, we subscribe to the idea of mixing very high-end pieces with more mid-range labels, things that feel very special and individual with things that are more [accessible] to the audience."
How else does New York City influence their wardrobes? "One thing I tried to work in for both and really all the characters in the show, which is definitely something you can see going on in fashion right now, especially in New York, is digital prints and 3D-printed jewelry. It had so much to do with the show in terms of the influence of computing, technology, the Internet and their day-to-day lives—especially with Sophia and the printed clothes that she would wear: it’s a lot of floral patterns and paisley prints with technological flair."
How can our readers develop their own personal style? "Allow yourself to really be inspired by a whole host of different forms of art, to be a sponge for anything that might move you. It’s surprising how that can creep into your own sensibility. I stress for people to be kind to themselves and open-minded. I think there’s a lot of negative rhetoric in terms of fashion—what’s in and what’s not. Get to know yourself and what you’re all about in all aspects of life and then see how that can be distilled in what’s important for you to wear day to day. That’s really the best way to motivate how you should dress."
Tune in to Eye Candy Monday nights at 10pm PST on MTV—if you dare.