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  • Alicia McCaslin

Killer Style

I have a confession. Over the weekend I was looking for a little outfit inspiration for work. It was that bleak Saturday morning before Mother’s Day and my motivation to get dressed was MIA. I usually love putting my own personal looks together since it is an opportunity for some much valued self-expression. Yet, even the stylist can come up feeling empty on occasion. My cure for these few and far between instances? I look for my latest muse.

I’m continuously challenging myself to find ways of bridging my age with my love of style and fashion without looking like a try hard. When I was in my twenties, I would scour designer sale racks for innovative pieces that felt both empowering and risky. I was not afraid of making a statement. These days I’m much more cautious on where I take risks but sometimes feel as though the real risk is potentially losing my edge. The trick resides in knowing when and where to press the throttle. A well stocked closet should have a few stretch pieces. By stretch, I mean ones that you can pull out when you need to push the boundaries and the word “safe” no longer applies. Pieces such as these are devoid of age boundaries and can act as your psychological armor. All you need is the moxie to dare to wear it!

My latest girl crush could be defined by the word moxie. She is a Russian assassin with a killer sense of style in the BBC America’s Killing Eve. This is a story of cat-and-mouse espionage built around a desk-bound M15 officer (played by Sandra Oh, aka Eve) who is seduced by the talent of a psychotic assassin. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of an introduction, her name is Villanelle and she is played by a 26-year-old actress with the most enviable complexion, Jodie Comer. Let’s be real though, Jodie is 26 and her skincare regimen deserves its own post. It’s her portrayal of the ruthless killer that is even more notable. It should be no surprise that this cold-blooded killer lives in a Paris apartment with a perfect blend of “I-don’t-care-but-somehow-managed-to-throw-this-together” panache. But it’s her shopping habits that are even more enviable. While the rest of us may use such hyperbole as “I’d kill for that…”, Villanelle does! Her job is killing and her hobby is shopping. When she dresses for work her attire consists of everyday basics, helping her blend in since you might be slightly memorable in a pink confection of tulle from Molly Goddard and Balenciaga combat boots:

There’s no brand loyalty to her off-hours dressing other than the most exceptional designers imaginable, such as Chloe, Dries Van Noten, Burberry, and Miu Miu. For an assassin, her style is much more that of a fashion editor that slays the racks of Barney’s to satiate her appetite for dressing how she feels. Where many use clothing as a form of conformity, she liberates herself knowing she dresses for no one other than herself. Needless to say, this is a major draw for me, which makes Villanelle the ideal muse for anyone faced with signs of a fashion rut. I spent last Saturday morning style stalking her and documenting my reconnaissance mission on my Insta Stories but I encourage you to watch the show for a dip into the deep, dark pleasure of two women assessing themselves through their fixation of each other. Don’t even get me started into how this translates!

In an excerpt from Vanity Fair, costume designer Phoebe de Gaye describes a most seductive scene in season 1. Eve’s lost suitcase arrives back on her doorstep. She unwittingly opens it up on her bed only to find it filled with the most lust-worthy designer clothing…all in her exact size! Villanelle “wants to manipulate Eve into seeing her own beauty.” Glass of wine in hand, Eve sips through an exploration of a Roland Mouret dress and admires the transformation she sees in the mirror. In a weird way, this is every stylist’s dream — transforming how women come to see themselves — but without the ruthless, psychopathic killing!

This brings me to my opening confession. While fantasizing about being a psychotic assassin with an addiction to designer fashion may sound like the perfect way to channel some excitement into your wardrobe, it can also thwart your efforts to purge. This little fixation with Villanelle prompted me digging through a pile of discarded items destined for Poshmark to rescue a very unique blazer from my Hysteria days. No judgement!

There are plenty of reasons to binge on this dramatic thriller: incredible characters; the backdrop of Amsterdam, Paris, and London; the twisting plot of espionage; or, the dynamic of one of the most intriguing relationships of late. If none of these reasons tempts you, a love of fashion will. I’m already feeling sad about Season 2 coming to a close on Sunday. What’s a girl to do? Why not let Villanelle’s style seduce you into taking a few risks and creating some drama in your own wardrobe! TSALT and The Hive have crush-worthy pieces that will fill the void!

[ The images below are from the boutiques in Alexandria, VA ]

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