Kerry Washington On How To Be More Like Olivia Pope

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Few women on television are as inspiring as Olivia Pope. And, as self-styled gladiators, we were absolutely thrilled to catch up with the life force behind Olivia, the one and only Kerry Washington — a.k.a., the most beautiful person we’ve seen in real life — just before she surprised shoppers at The Limited in Glendale last week.

Celebrating the launch of The Limited’s latest Scandal-inspired collection, Washington appeared alongside costume designer Lyn Paolo to discuss the influence behind the sleek assortment (two words: power dressing), her favorite pieces, and how her personal style influences the show. Since she was absolutely hush-hush about this season’s juicy details, we suggest that, as consolation, you wrap yourself up in one of the collection’s statement jackets instead. With your hands in the pocket of a powerful coat, you’re perfectly positioned to ask yourself: What would Olivia Pope do?

How did you and Lyn Paolo approach the latest Scandal x The Limited collection?
"We watched which pieces (from previous collections) resonated most with fans…we can do that by looking at the numbers, but also through social media. It’s fun to see what people are most passionate about. Then, we thought, How can we fold the things that resonated most into this new spring collection? But, with a new palette, new fabrics, a season change."


Do you have a favorite piece?
"To me, it’s the trench jacket ($178). The retake on the trench, which is such an Olivia Pope ID. The wrap jackets ($198) are also super-flattering."

How did Olivia Pope’s killer style come to be?
"It was really fun when I first met Lyn, because we both have a real love of fashion. We knew we wanted to reinvent the idea of power dressing for women. So often, when you see shows that take place in Washington, it’s always a navy-black suit and a boring silhouette. We asked ourselves, 'How can you keep the femininity and the beauty of a woman who is super-powerful and in control?'"

What is the most exciting part of designing a collection with The Limited?
"There is a whole segment of society of women who are inspired by Olivia Pope, and now they can go to the stores that Olivia Pope shops in and buy those pieces. It was important for us to make this [power dressing] aesthetic accessible to women at all levels. The collection is attainable, and women can actually go home with several pieces and a lot of Olivia Pope."

Do your personal fashion connections/relationships ever come into play?
"In season one, the first time Olivia wears a dress to the White House State Dinner, it is a Francisco Costa dress. I called him myself and said, ‘There is a white dress that you just showed — we need it!' So, we got it off the runway."

How does your style differ from Olivia’s?
"Olivia’s fashion is much more conservative and traditional for the workplace, and I don’t have to worry so much about what clients think of me."

Can I ask…what can we expect to see this season?
"Noooooo! It’s a secret! That was a really good try, though."

The Limited's third Scandal -inspired collection is available in stores and online Friday, February 13.
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