Suits Tv Show Stylist Chats With Vogue.It
She goes by one name, Jolie.
By Diedre Johnson
Imagine she grew up loving clothes and, yes, reading Vogue (that part’s really true). Now she has a dream job in which she gets to pick them out everyday for high-earning men and women at a law firm. Each one is dressed very stylishly and there’s no limit to what these lawyers can buy.
That’s Jolie’s job as the stylist for the popular US TV show, Suits. In its seventh season, the internationally popular show (filmed in Toronto, Canada) has received even more attention lately as one of its stars, Meghan Markle, is dating Britain’s Prince Harry.
Jolie takes us into her world on the set and gives us a few clues about how she influenced Prince Harry’s girlfriend’s amazing style on screen and off.
How would you describe your personal style?
My personal style is classic, a bit under the radar and probably under the advisement of a makeover. My go-to outfit is jeans with the most beautiful top I can get my hands on. And I also have a thing for groovy flats.
How long have you been with the show?
I was brought in by producer Randy Richmond starting with Episode Four in Season One. You can tell when I started on the show by the white pocket squares that Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) starts to wear, making it one of his trademarks.
Suits is set in New York, how did you first imagine the wardrobe of a New York lawyer?
I am a long-time, loyal reader of Vogue and always wondering where in the hell do people get to wear these gorgeous clothes?! After meeting studio and network producers and the cast, I knew that this was a place where those gorgeous clothes could live.
Not only is the cast beautiful but they all wear fashion incredibly well and the high-end fashion on the show has helped create an understanding of the environment of the law firm on Suits, with its clientele being from the top 10 percent of the financially wealthy.
As a stylist for the show, who do you or did you have to confer with to be able to choose items of clothing/accessories?
In the beginning there was a handful of talented producers and directors that would weigh in on all the looks. But soon the response from the viewers and cast granted me much-appreciated trust from the producers/directors and creator Aaron Korsh, so I was able to choose the best clothes/accessories to create an overall editorial look to help tell the stories.
Describe a bit of a typical work day for you.
A typical work day includes me, with coffee in bed, and Miles (her dog) – the love of my life (and yes, my husband is ok with this).I start my day watching dailies; the footage of what was filmed the day before. There is always something to learn and/or confirm from dailies; the way the lighting of a scene can change or highlight colors … the ways fabric photographs and moves … the way the fit of a garment and accessories detail the mood of a scene, etc. Then, William Ng (my right hand man/asst. costume designer), myself, Miles and sometimes Miles’ best friend, Lucky (who is Gabriel(Macht)/Harvey’s dog) will go treasure hunting/shopping.
After that, we head to the office to pull for the show, work with the rest of the team, do fittings and have meetings with producers and directors. Most days will end with shopping on the internet and/or watching the latest shows on Vogue runway to start gathering things and ideas to use in the future.
Did you have to do research on how much a lawyer at a high-powered firm would make or because this is television, doesn’t matter?
Research is key to success in any field. Audiences love escapism, glamour and fantasy … especially if it’s based upon reality. Knowing high-powered law firm lawyers/partners can make millions, and being very good at what they do – Harvey (Macht), Jessica (Gina Torres) and Louis (Rick Hoffman) would have great bank accounts. With Jessica, there’s the added natural grace and artistic eye that money just can’t buy.
Even their secretaries’ (i.e.: Donna played by Sarah Rafferty) salaries and bonuses are very good and Donna “knows a guy who knows a guy” that gets her stunning clothes. With Rachel (Markle), she was born with money and taste. Mike’s wardrobe, and all its changes, have always been based on reality – from the vintage ties he started with – to Burberry, Gucci, through the classics such as Armani, Canali, they have represented his changing status and salary.
Who are your go-to designers for characters on the show?
Some of my favorites: Dior, Givenchy, Balenciaga, Prada, Tom Ford, Giambattista Valli, Lanvin, Delpozo, Fendi, Brunello Cucinelli, The Row. I also check in with Moda Operandi for new designers. Whether it’s a suit, tie, dress, blouse, skirt or accessory, I can find something for each of the cast members in new and old houses.
Meghan Markle’s character is more prominent now than in the beginning of the show, did you or have you changed the way she dresses now?
Meghan/Rachel’s look is one of the best classic looks ever. I just keep adding to it with new and fresh takes. This look will always be reinterpreted, and relevant. (I so love dressing Gina Torres! We both have really enjoyed creating her character’s closet.)
Markle also dresses terrifically for red carpets and out and about. Would you say the cast is influenced by their character’s style on the show?
Meghan has very good taste along with a sharp eye for what works on her and makes great choices for the events she attends. The success of the show has exposed all cast to the amazing world of fashion, both on and off camera, leading them to find the perfect things to add to their own personal style.
What’s the most interesting or fun thing you’ve done to find the perfect outfit for a character?
The most interesting and fun things I have done, have come when I’ve found something that is least expected or when insanely under the gun, and that perfect not-even-thought-of piece all of a sudden is right there, whether in a consignment store or a Christian Dior boutique, making me whisper with excitement “OMG”!