Villanelle has a license to kill… in a vintage Alexander McQueen gown.
Season 2 of Killing Eve has been long awaiting on BBC iplayer, bringing back the never-ending cat and mouse act between Eve Polastri, a British intelligence operative, and Oxana Astankova, a psychopathic assassin also known by codename, Villanelle. Throughout each season, one detail in particular has become an apparent weakness more so than Villanelle’s love-hate relationship with Eve: her love for fashion.
Every episode continues their cycle of mutual obsession, jumping from country to country trying to track one another down. But Eve isn’t her only target, she is what you would call the Rolls Royce of hired assassins – her witty and eerie personality draws her into making a game out of her victims, dressing up for the fun and thrill of the kill. You see, being a well-trained assassin who was previously based in Paris means she has a large lump sum of money and easily accessible haute-couture – wouldn’t you splurge just a little?
It’s clear to see that each target is a new challenge, how is she going to one-up her last kill? And although sinister, we’re always waiting to see how she does it and what her next outfit is. With Villanelle’s erratic behaviour, it’s hard to predict her next move, but Costume designer, Charlotte Mitchell, has helped give us an insight into Villanelle’s personality through her style. We’ve picked our top 3 key looks.
The ‘I mean business’ Power Suit
Charlotte took notes from former costume designer of season 1, Phoebe de Gaye, putting Villanelle (played by Jodie Comer) in strong, patterned, fitted pant suits. Villanelle meets her handler in an old and dishevelled hotel room, dressed in a Chloe horse-print jacket paired with silver Isabel Marant trousers. Needless to say, her bold and static personality emanated through her two-piece, the sharp metallic disco trousers almost showing the electricity running though her veins as she waits readily to know her next target.
Another episode, features Villanelle in a Loewe dark green and white striped blazer with forest green Peter Pilotto trousers - mimicking the look of a school boy that is ready to learn as she goes to meet the MI6 troops. Her love for dress-up only enhances throughout the season, giving each scene its own Villanelle twist, as if to make the programme humorous with her manic personality and love for role-play.
The “I’m sorry I have to kill you” black dress
A bit of a spoiler, I know! But we can’t talk about Villanelle’s fashion style without speaking of this beautifully dark, gothic style, vintage gown by Alexander McQueen. Here, she wears a dress perfect for the wife of a deceased partner, as she goes to visit Eve, the next target on her kill list. Their back-and-forth relationship changes Villanelle, giving her a sense of sadness – something that is unusual compared to her natural ‘no-remorse’ emotion to her victims. As Charlotte Mitchell so perfectly summed up to ELLE Magazine, ‘She’s playing up the situation. She’s really sad. I didn’t want a typical veil with lots of fabric that she had to pull back over her face. I wanted it to be Villanelle style. It needed drama.’ Drama it is, indeed.
The unnerving “pretty in pink” barmaid dress
This outfit is reminiscent of Villanelle’s pink little girl dress by Molly Goddard in season 1. As a protest to her handler, Konstantin, Villanelle wears a flamboyant, ruffled, voluminous, pink marshmallow coloured dress for her visit to a psychologist. Pretty normal for an unstable assassin, right? Of course, her point was that she didn’t need a check-up and her dress was an extreme mockery of an innocent little girl that had no problems whatsoever. Similarly in season 2, Mitchell played on this same aspect with Villanelles custom-made Swiss Barmaid dress worn when luring a target in Amsterdam. This outfit paired with a comical pig’s mask hinted towards the uncanny; something that is so human-like yet disturbingly not, making the viewer fearful. There’s no doubt that this sweet and innocent costume was jazzed-up, Villanelle style, to exert a sinister and spine-chilling feeling; a feeling that Villanelle intentionally crafted in the first place.
Villanelle’s expensive taste in style is as much as an addiction than her obsession to kill, and in all honesty, we’re glad it is so. Killing Eve shows a brief glimpse of how styling is not just a collection of clothes but, a portrayal of someone’s personality depicted and reflected through their sense of fashion. Mitchell has played with the boundaries of costume design, juxtaposing the idea of a secret assassin who is supposed to be covert and unseen, with the idea of Villanelle, a woman with a boisterous and cheeky personality that loves a good high-end piece. In other words, her fashion sense is as loud and messy as her crime scenes. Needless to say, she’s the most modern and stylish assassin out there. What more do we want? From Power Suits to a Little Bo Peep dress, there is nothing Villanelle can’t pull off.
Here are just a few more of Villanelle’s most fashionable outfits:
By Veronica Wong Diffa