Jenn Rogien on How the GIRLS’ Closets Are Growing up in Season 4

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The GIRLS are officially back in town.

To say I was unhealthily excited about this would be an accurate description. The relationships (romantic and platonic) the sex, the cringeworthy job interviews, confrontations, and general human interactions…and of course, the clothes, are not even all the reasons I’m drawn to Lena Dunham’s show.

The clothes on GIRLS speak volumes. They are an accurate representation of one of the most honest descriptions of what fashion, or better, style, is at its finest. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul, but I’ve always thought clothing paints a truer picture.

I’m going to venture a guess that Jenn Rogien, GIRLS costume designer (AND Orange Is The New Black’s too) might agree with this romanticized, psychologized definition.


GIRLS costume designer, Jenn Rogien                                       

Season Four posters boldly proclaimed “Nowhere to grow but up.” It was a slogan I loved, identified with–right away I wondered how the fashions would reflect this. I talked to Rogien about impending adulthood, fashion, and the connection between the two. “It’s a slow evolution,” Rogien says. “I try to give the audience a window into the character’s heads, and the characters’ relationship with their clothes but also, a glimpse into how they see the world…a character who doesn’t care about clothing is telling you a lot about themselves, a character who cares so much about clothes is telling you a lot about themselves,” she explained.

We all saw the trailer where Lena Dunham’s Hannah Horvath congratulates herself on the decision to snack on grapes like she’s just paid her first rent check. It’s a reminder that we’re still taking baby steps. We meet Hannah in the season 4 premiere in the same restaurant we met her in in the series pilot, oh so long ago. Then, her parents told her she was being cut off–now they’re expressing support as she packs to go off to Iowa.

Seeing as this is a topic I could clearly expound upon further, I was extra excited to chat with Rogien herself about the meanings or non-meanings of the looks in last week’s Season 4 Premiere.

“This dinner with her parents is a slight nod back to the very first episode…Hannah was in a blue dress, it was a different silhouette, but that was a slight nod to that opening moment where she’s sitting across from her parents, and in that scene she’s finding out she’s being cut off, and in this scene she’s finding out they’re fully supporting her to go to grad school. So, that dress was just a sort of new Hannah version–Hannah’s new take on that moment from so long long ago”hannah season opener

Even if it was all wrong for the audition, Adam’s leather jacket is gorgeous, and looked so expensive…however, “It’s a maybe, $35.00 thrifted piece,” Rogien explains. “When we put it on in the fitting room, it had fringe, from the cuff of one sleeve all the way across the back and down the cuff of the other sleeve…Adam [Driver] and I cut the fringe off in the fitting, but we decided to leave it on in the back, because he wouldn’t care about that…it’s a rare moment of him deeply misreading an audition, and so far we’ve seen him being very confident in his acting choices, that jacket was him, as a lot of actors do, grabbing something from his closet, or from a thrift store, to throw on for an audition to try to evoke the character…the joke in the script is that they meant like, Tour de France biker…”hannah adam

As for Shoshanna, we meet our youngest GIRL at NYU with her parents: “It is a confusing choice for Shoshanna, and that is intentionally so. She’s at a confusing moment. She didn’t graduate when she was expecting to. She didn’t go through the ceremony and as you can tell from her reactions in the episode, the ceremony was very important to her. I wanted something that would feel a little off from her. From the couple of Twitter comments I’ve seen it was a successful weird choice.”

“The top is vintage…it’s a washed out black which is not really part of Shoshanna’s color palette. The pastel lattice keys into Shoshanna’s typical color palette, but that washed out black is not something that Shoshanna usually does–if it’s a black, it’s very crisp, it’s very clean, it’s very saturated–so that whole look was very much an effort for Shosh to look like she was not in her usual frame of mind.”shosh

Jessa’s got on the combat boots, which she started wearing in rehab, a big floppy sweater, it’s a long dress, but it’s not a maxi dress…for Jessa this look is very pared back, it’s much less glam than we’ve seen her.”jessa beadie

jessa overall

“That’s her M.O.: Marni tries very hard, she really commits and tries really hard in whatever direction she’s going in…so this is very much Marni’s take on what she thinks an Indie musical performer might do”marni desi

(The jacket, Rogien notes, is one of the relatively splurgier pieces from the season premiere, an H&M piece with real suede).marni and mom

Clementine, meanwhile, just isn’t trying so hard.marni and clementine

No, Marni, no! would be a reasonable reaction to this costume-y hair-jewelry situation.marni hair

“Hannah’s wearing an abstract paisley print sweater over a chain print blouse with an ascot built in…and shorts.” hannah ascot

See you again tomorrow to discuss the sartorial choices episode 2 brings us!