One of the most anticipated shows – at least by my standards – is ABC’s new show Selfie. The story of Eliza, a social-media obsessed narcissist who discovers that just because you’re “liked” doesn’t mean anyone likes you. The show has been touted as a kind of updated version of My Fair Lady, but after viewing the pilot, I just had to interview Danielle Launzel, the show’s costume designer, who made me realize it’s more like a fangirl version of Kim Kardashian post Kanye makeover. Don’t believe me? Check out what other scoop I got from Danielle.
Possessionista: Tell me about the show
Danielle Launzel: It’s exciting to be on a show that’s getting such notoriety. I loved the pilot, but it gets so much better. The scripts get better, the actors have such chemistry, eventually you will love Eliza. I was on the fence with Henry’s character, but by episode 3 he’s just really charming. And he’s charming with Eliza. What appealed me was [executive producer] Emily Kapnek and the way she tells a story.
Possessionista: How would you describe Eliza’s style?
Danielle: My sixteen year old son said it perfectly. She inappropriately pushes the limits of business casual. But Eliza would describe it as hot. She has to dress in business clothes but there is no way she’s going to do it withough being sexy. She’s showing off whatever she can whenever she can. You know, Eliza follows Kim Kardashian on Instagram. She’s trying to emulate Kim Kardashian. The actress, Karen Gillan who plays Eliza actually watches Keeping Up with the Kardashians to get her ideas.
Possessionista: Where do you shop for her? Are there different places you shop for Eliza before and after her transformation?
Danielle: We shop in the same places before and after. We shop at Neimans, Saks, Barneys, there’s a great store called Gregory’s and the women who run it are these southern, flamboyant women with big hair that get amazing pieces. They go to runway shows, and Paris and bring unique stuff. And we’ve started to use them to get the unique pieces. I also will go to the mall for Bebe and Arden B and we use some vintage pieces.
Possessionista: Any funny mishaps?
Danielle: In the pilot, she’s wearing this Arden B strapless dress on the airplane and right before we started filming I realized she has to strip down to her bra and panties in the bathroom scene, so at the last minute we added a cap sleeve.
Possessionista: What are some of your go-to brands for Eliza.
Danielle I’m not a label shopper. I kind of hate labels because it locks you into a look that you might not want. I don’t buy labels. The silhouette is how I shop and I’m very tactile. It’s more important how it’s made and how it feels. But that said, there is a lot of BCBG, Alice + Olivia, Tahari, Louboutin, Steve Madden.
Possessionista: Does Eliza have a signature look?
Danielle: Tights. Karen has these gorgeous, long pale legs that are so beautiful but we didn’t want her to stop at the hip. So we started putting her in these tights by Pretty Polly. She’s always in dresses, skirts or shorts. Unless she’s at the gym, she’s not in pants. And then for bras, she wears the Victoria Secret bombshell. It gives great cleavage, and then we’ll embellish it a little, because you’ll always see her cleavage.
Possessionista: After she meets Henry, Eliza is influenced to change her style. How does her fashion evolve? Does Eliza ever regress to her former style?
Danielle: In the pilot she starts out a little trashy, overcompensating for her lack of personal connections. Even after her transformation, she’ll still slip back and show too much leg or too much bra.
Possessionsta: The first time we see Eliza after her transformation, she’s wearing the most perfect, peach dress. Tell us about it.
Danielle: It’s by Adrianna Papell, and at first everyone really wanted to go with another dress. In a pilot there are so many cooks in the kitchen. Everyone has an opinion like, can we have this or that? The original was a vintage dress in a tealy blue, but I fought for the peachy dress. It was just so understated compared to anything else. And it hit all the notes on Henry’s list.
Possessionsta: Do her accessories change, too?
Possessionista: Is Eliza a handbag girl?
Danielle: In the pilot you see her carrying this huge, red Celine bag. She’s all about having the best of everything. Like those Louboutins. You get the impression she’s willing to spend more on her handbags than on her rent.
Possessionista: When you are transforming Eliza, what or who were some of your style inspirations.
Danielle: There was an episode of Kardashians when Kanye goes through her closet and refines her look, and we kind of talked about how he’s very smart about his business and how you should present yourself. I didn’t watch it (laughs) but a lot of people filled me in. I wouldn’t say I used any fashion icons as inspiration, I wanted it to evolve organically. [Eliza] didn’t go out and buy a new wardrobe, she just changes how she wears things, and new pieces that she might introduce to her wardrobe might be more subdued.
Possessionista: How much input does acress Karen Gillan have in Eliza’s style?
Danielle: She has a certain amount of input but we’re generally on the same page. If there’s something in particular that she likes or doesn’t like she lets me know. But she doesn’t send me pictures or tell me this is what I want. She’s very trusting. We shot the pilot back in March but then we did a promo shoot in June. She put the clothes on, we did her makeup, hair and as soon as we did she said, “I feel like Eliza.” That was really satisfying to know I helped to transformed her.
Possessionista: Is there one look you really loved from the show?
Danielle: There’s a few. There’s an Alice + Olivia black and red dress in episode 4. I got it last year for Suburgatory, but I never used it. I grabbed it and tried it on her in the fitting and it was just amazing. It’s one of my favorite things. She also wears a Bebe trench coat with gold, studded sleeves. Karen called it a mac, and I was like “what’s a mac?” It’s a British term for trench coat. The other day she was in an outfit and she’s wearing a hat from Marshalls and this amazing Marc Jacobs bathing suit and skirt and it’s really fantastic. I used a Bebe jacket with a Marc Jacobs skirt. I have no problem mixing pricetags.
Possesionista: Tell me a secret from your styling.
Danielle: I always add a pop of color to whatever could be a mundane color. I’m a New Yorker. My whole life, everything I wore was black and gray, maybe dark green. Lately, I’ve started adding color to my wardrobe and I just love to add a pop of color. I have a pinterest board called pop of color. It’s something I always do.
Possessionista: What can viewers expect from the fashion of Selfie?
Danielle: Lots and lots of different looks. There are up to 11 changes in a single episode. There were 17 in the pilot. That’s 17 looks in less than a half hour. We try for them to be all aces. Sometimes they are and sometimes they’re not.