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  • Writer's pictureSasha Huang

The White Lotus’ Costume Designer Alex Bovaird On Fashion & Film – Exclusive

INTERVIEW


Image Courtesy of Alex Bovaird

Released in July of 2021, The White Lotus tells a dark yet playful story following the lives of guests and staff at a luxury resort that explores themes of privilege and class. Featuring Jennifer Coolidge in lavish dresses and Audrey Plaza in sophisticated preppy looks, the series’ atmosphere presents a captivating dynamic between old-money vs new-money fashion aesthetics. Every ensemble weaves an important narrative to each character. Behind the costumes that capture the exquisite quiet luxury aesthetic of billionaire heiress down to the “Pretty Woman” moments with working-class characters like Lucia (Simona Tabasco) and Mia (Beatrice Grannò), is Alex Bovaird.

Having previously worked on films such as American Honey (2016) and Thoroughbreds (2017), Alex Bovaird's styling is a beautiful and artful craft itself. In the second season of the beloved hit series, the designer moved away from the affluent Hawaiian holiday vibe. Her vibrant take on Italian glamour in The White Lotus has garnered her 2 Emmy nominations for Outstanding Contemporary Costume Design in 2022 and 2023. As we prepare ourselves for another fascinating fashion feast with season 3 being set in Thailand, we speak to the style maven Alex Bovaird, who’s behind the most iconic looks of the show.


All imagery of The White Lotus is courtesy of HBO.


Photograph by Fabio Lovino, HBO

1. Can you tell us about yourself – and how you got into costume designing?

I am from England, I ended up selling buttons and trims in New York City and I met a lot of fashion designers. I became interested in designing and have always loved film, history, travel, art, clothes. An opportunity came my way to intern with a costume designer in NYC and I realised it was a gift that threaded all my interests together - so I went for it! I worked really hard on the internship and tried to make myself indispensable. It worked and I got paid work as a runner after that. Eventually I made it to be assistant designer and got to learn from some generous and talented people that taught me everything I know.


Photograph by Fabio Lovino, HBO
2. What were some of your favourite looks on The White Lotus S1 and S2?

Tanya's monkey dress from Season 1, Harper's chic holiday getups, Armond's manager clothes, the Italians Mia and Lucia's tacky party girl vibes.



3. What is your creative process?

I research the real thing, look in society and fashion magazines, I use a lot of different resources to have a broad variety of options while trying to come up with unique but identifiable looks. I love the treasure hunt part of the preparation. I enjoy collaborating with the actors once they arrive. I try to make a cohesive and coherent picture. Mike White is a great support.


Photograph by Fabio Lovino, HBO

4. What are your top 3 must-haves in every wardrobe?

Comfy shoes, a good jacket, lots of accessories.

5. What is your own personal style like and how is this reflected in your work?

Eclectic. Colorful. My personal taste is definitely impregnated throughout White Lotus.




6. Who are your inspirations?

Other designers. Other costume designers. People I see on the street. Real life can be bolder and weirder than my imagination.

7. Which character's style do you identify with most?

Rachel from Season 1 or Harper from Season 2.




Photograph by Fabio Lovino, HBO

8. Are there any go-to brands you'd recommend under resort wear?

Dolce and Gabbana. Juan de Dios. Poupette Saint Barth.


9. And finally, what's next for you? Any projects in the pipeline?

I am working with Andrea Arnold in London on her film "Bird", it's really fun and nothing like the White Lotus. Next stop is Thailand for Season 3!


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