Kerry Washington

Darla Khazei,

We're literally buzzing with excitement over the return of Scandal, and think Kerry Washington is pretty much tops when it comes to striking a chord with her fans when acting on the small screen.

And beyond all of the plot twists and turns of the new season, we can't help but be intrigued by her countless chic ensembles in her role as Olivia Pope.

We scored some face time with the star at the Paley Center for Media event in New York City this week and asked her for her firsthand opinion on her character's fashion choices. 

"Lyn Paolo, who is our brilliant costume designer, and I work very closely together. The first time that we met to figure out Olivia's aesthetic, we both came with pictures we ripped out of magazines and we had 90 percent of the same exact pictures!" Washington laughed.

"One of the things we decided very early on is that she literally and figuratively wears the pants and we wanted this to be a character that is rarely ever in a skirt or a dress. We wanted to make sure that the clothes were tailored and feminine and body conscious while still being the kind of clothes that you can wear anywhere."

Indeed they are! 

Kerry Washington, Scandal Fashion Images


As for the color palette, Washington shares that it's no coincidence that Pope is often wearing soft, muted shades in many pivotal scenes.

"The color palette keeps her more approachable and soft, since the clothes are so fierce. We tend to only put Olivia in white when she is being a soldier for justice when she really needs to be in the light for herself," the fashionista explains.

"Sometimes we trick the audience a little bit putting her in white, but then there are moments when she thinks she is wearing say, a white hat, but it gets ripped from her halfway through the scene."

As for the actress herself, she admits that she's been a bit of a late bloomer in the style scene, despite the fact that she is currently on top of her fashion game.

"I really was a bookworm, a nerd and theater kid and had to really learn how to embrace this part of my femininity and I think I had a lot of fear around it, to be honest, growing up in New York City," she confessed, citing a memory of a childhood girlfriend who came over and helped her learn how to apply makeup for auditions early in her career.

"When I came to fashion, I came to it like a student. I studied. I was going to learn the difference between Louis Vuitton and Lanvin—and I did! And it excites me." 

Well done, Kerry—all of that hard work is clearly paying off! 

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