We’ll have a lot to say about this season of Big Little Lies when it wraps next week, including our thoughts on how the writing has quickly deteriorated and what all the behind-the-scenes drama has wrought on the final product. For now – and once again – we find ourselves focusing on the costumes of Laura Dern’s character Renata Klein. All the costumes by Alix Friedberg say so much about the characters, but none are quite so revelatory and eye-popping as Renata’s lewks.
Of the Monterey Five, a group of women with an unusually stylish bent, Renata Klein is not only the most stylish, but the most flamboyant in her style – and she’s ramped it up even further this year. There’s much more of a tendency to wear extremely expensive wear, to come off wildly over-dressed in comparison to the occasion and everyone else in her surroundings. She doesn’t dress like a CEO so much as movie star, with a lot of big, bold glamorous touches like sequins and metallic accents. And this week, her “Saying goodbye to her old life” ensemble was appropriately (for Renata) over-the-top and aggressively performative.
Who wears a sequined halter top, exuberant white skirt and stiletto heels in the middle of the day? Who does it to say goodbye to their fired nanny and sit on the steps of their emptied-out home? Renata Fucking Klein, that’s who; the woman who will not not be rich again someday. Even as she hugs her nanny goodbye, she’s promising that she will rehire her once Renata regains her fortune. This glamorous ensemble is her way of keeping continuity; of saying that this is a momentary bump in the proceedings of her life and there’s no reason for her to stop looking like she has the enviable life she desperately wants to hold onto. It is, however, an outfit composed of delusion. Even as she’s hugging her nanny in her sequined top, she remains completely clueless about her husband’s affair with her. Everything about this look, from the full ruffles of the skirt to the trailing ribbon down the back, speaks of someone who’s wrapping herself up in her old life and deluding herself that she can keep things the way they are.
Costume Designer: Alix Friedberg
[Photo Credit: Jennifer Clasen/HBO – Stills: Tom and Lorenzo via HBO]
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