Updated: Jul 15, 2021
If you were hiring a costume designer in the early 2000s...you called Patricia Field. The Devil wears Prada? Patricia Field. Sex and the City? Patricia Field. Her influence on the late 90’s/early 2000’s fashion scene is undeniable and it is safe to say that she crafted a look that defined a generation. For her work on Sex and the City alone, she won five Emmys. Many were surprised when Field announced that she would not be styling the show's reboot. Instead, she chose to work on the upcoming season of a show that got quite famous for its fashion faux pas…. Emily in Paris. As a fashionista whose cliche dream is to one day move to France, I definitely was the target audience for the Netflix sitcom. Alas, Emily’s outfits are perhaps the most terrible thing about the show after the plot!
A successful costume design gives the viewers subtle clues on different aspects of a character’s personality. Patrica Field did give her viewers clues, but she definitely missed the mark on the subtle. Per-example, what outfit could possibly indicate to the audience that Emily is American? A red plaid shirt. What accessories did she wear on her first day in France? A red beret and a baguette. Just like the character she was styling, Patricia’s costume design was unsophisticated and cramped with cliches.
Additionally, the styling was not coherent with the main character nor the plot. First of all, Emily is a 20-something girl moving to Paris and is hinted to be coming from a very modest background. Sure, her 1 bedroom apartment in the 5h arrondissement would in real life be worth at least 1500 euros, but in the show, it is described as a Chambre de Bonne - inexpensive student lodging. That being said, PR intern, Emily is never seen without a designer bag and shoes. She even goes for a run wearing a Chanel poplin blouse! Nowhere in the show does it even say that Emily has the slightest interest in fashion. Where Carrie Bradshaw is always referencing brands and specific pieces, Emily never talks about clothes. She is from a pharmaceutical background, and although you don't have to work in fashion to appreciate it, she has to google a super famous fictional designer when he becomes a client of her firm. You would think that a character dressed with rare, elevated pieces such as a YProject accordion bag would at least be up to date with famous designers?
Some would say that Emily’s fashion is meant to be tacky and unpolished. Her character is pictured as being a stereotypically ignorant and extravagant American sticking out like a sore thumb in elegant Paris. Throughout the first season of the show, she does not make a single effort the french culture or language.
I would have loved to see some character development, whereas Emily accommodates to french culture, her personal style evolves( in a similar fashion to Andy in The devil wears Prada). But no, she stays ignorant and close-minded throughout the entire first season, and her sense of style does not improve either ! In the case of Emily in Paris...The devil wears Patricia Field!