By Steff Yotka, Vogue
“In the world of Veep, she was the first woman vice president and she was the first woman president; there were no fashion rules we had to follow since none existed,” says Kathleen Felix-Hager, Veep’s costume designer since season three. For fans who have watched Selina Meyer, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, evolve (or not) throughout the show’s seven seasons, her look is well established: cherry red sheath dress, mind-bogglingly high heels, or a printed blouse and pencil skirt so tight, you wonder how in the world she’ll sit down.
Veep, of course, is a satire of American politics, but Meyer’s wardrobe is far from being a parody of real Washington style. “I didn’t want to put her in the traditional ‘politician suit,’” Felix-Hager says. “The dress became the new suit, so to speak, for us.” In describing the origins of Meyer’s look, Felix-Hager name-checks Michelle Obama’s love of color—in the first scene of every season, Meyer wears bright red, as she will in the closing scene of the series. Felix-Hager goes on to explain that the sexy, almost sultry style of America’s fictionalized first female leader is a blend of feminine power and funniness. Louis-Dreyfus not only comports herself differently in her cinched sheaths, but also uses the form-hugging and bodacious silhouette as the basis of her physical comedy. “Sometimes I would say, ‘Well, you can’t do that particular thing in this dress because it’s so tight,’ and Julia’s response would be, ‘But that’s what makes it funny,’” the costume designer says. “She would have to fight against the clothes, but she loved that.”