Mr. Robot is not known for its fashion (sorry, Sam Esmail). Sure, Rami Malek’s black hoodie is as important to the show as Elliot Alderson himself (as faithful viewers know), but let’s be real, the hacker drama is no techie version of Sex and the City.
Except for… Angela Moss.
In season two, the AllSafe employee-turned-E Corp rising star (portrayed by Portia Doubleday) is bringing all sorts of sartorial savviness to the show, using her fashion choices to show that (a) she’s newly loaded and (b) you better take her seriously. It’s a pretty obvious departure from season one, too — this time she’s got enough beautiful blouses, slick blazers and tailored trousers to make any J.P. Morgan first-year jealous.
So, where are all of these new clothes coming from? That would be the result of a lot of hard work by costume designer Catherine Marie Thomas, who joined the series for season two. “We felt really strongly that at the office we wanted her to be this very no-nonsense sort of masculine, strong character,” Thomas tells PeopleStyle. “So what we wanted to do was take menswear and make it this empowering, feminine armor.” Oh, and she did that, all right.
We drilled Thomas to find out all the details behind turning Angela into the show’s corporate fashion style star. Scroll down for more.
What was your approach to Angela’s look this season?
“We felt like she was this very strong woman in this very masculine world. She’s very insecure, but constantly trying to affirm herself. Her character is now making money and she can afford nice things. So our approach was that she buys a closet full of very, very nice pieces that she can mix up.”
Who inspired her look?
“One of the people we referenced was Tilda Swinton because she has that very beautiful, androgynous, strong, very high-fashion look. It really was about taking menswear and making it feminine at the same time, but strong.”
Are her clothes as expensive as they look?
“Most of her clothes were pretty expensive. We really needed to spend the money [on her] because you can just tell on-screen. We ended up building a lot of blouses, jackets and pants for her too because we wanted this a very controlled palette. She doesn’t really wear skirts that much in the work scenes. That was another very conscious decision. We really wanted her to have this sense of power.”
Are there any particular stores you shop in for her?
“Omigod, like everywhere. It was all across the board. She wore a lot of Alexander McQueen — a lot of the jackets were McQueen. She wore a lot of Chloe, and really great Donna Karan jacket with this beautiful belt that we found at Net-a-Porter.”
The blue blouse she wore was a hit. Where was that from?
“I built that for her actually. I think blouses are one of the hardest things to find. I know it sounds crazy but you can find really great blazers and pants and that’s pretty easy at a high-end level. But to find great blouses is really much harder than you think. We built them all out of silks and things that had a little bit more softness to them rather than cotton.”
Portia Doubleday really shines in these clothes on screen. How involved is she in the process?
“Portia really loves clothes also so she makes it really fun. She’s always like, ‘I love fittings! I like to have five-hour fittings!’ She really genuinely loves it and we had such a great time working together this season. I know that she was really happy. She felt confident and that makes a difference. It’s a really important part of their day not to have to think about their clothes.”
Do you want Angela to be a style inspiration for other young women in the workplace?
“I think she didn’t have a lot of money to begin with when she was first starting out. Now that she does, she’s a little power hungry. There’s this level of Angela that knows how to manipulate people and she knows that dressing a certain way is going to help her get ahead. I think she works that. So, yes, I think that if you make smart decisions — and I don’t think you have to be overtly sexy — you can dress to get your way. You can still look very fashionable and powerful without being necessarily revealing or busy or trendy even. It can just be really great beautifully tailored pieces. That’s what comes through [with her].”
What’s the ultimate style tip we can learn by watching Angela?
“There’s something to be said for investing in really great pieces as opposed to having like a really big wardrobe with lots of things. If you focus on really smart choices, like pieces that work with each other, you’ll simplify your wardrobe.”