Villanelle in Killing Eve. 


Screen Queens

Words Maddison Glendinning • Artwork Nour Algharabally

Villainous. Vulnerable. Very relatable. Meet the modern TV heroines whose wardrobes and wickedness we can’t get enough of…

Obsessed is an understatement when it comes to our feelings about some of the leading ladies (/legends in the making) gracing our TV screens right now. And what makes this newest crop of characters so intriguing is the fact that, in some cases, they’re downright unlikeable and yet we can’t help but feel drawn to them. Why? Possibly because for the first time in a very long time, the women we see played out on our screens are more than just their physical appearances – they’re multi-faceted, complicated, messy, a little psychotic, real. It seems as though roles are finally being written for women by women, which is translating into content that is more relatable than ever before. It’s a powerful moment we’re (binge)watching unfold.

What’s equally exciting is the use of fashion to help shape these personas. The wardrobes reflect their personalities and idiosyncrasies, expertly crafted to appeal to the women watching at home. Gone are the days of high gloss and unattainability – many of the looks seen on screen can be replicated by pieces in our own wardrobes (or by a cheeky ‘add to cart’ session…). Poignantly, these characters aren’t being dressed to satisfy – or be defined by – the male gaze but rather to represent their personalities and reflect their situations.

Here’s three of the women whose woes and wardrobes we can’t get enough of:

Renata, Big Little Lies

Renata. Means. Business. From her perfectly tailored trousers and pussy-bow blouses to her department store-worthy line-up of handbags and jackets belted just – so, every part of her look screams money. And deliberately so. She’s worked hard to get the life she has and wants everybody to know it – it’s part of why we love/hate her so strongly.

Most memorable sartorial moment? We are certain nothing will ever top the Norma Kamali puffer vest/Gucci Marmont belt bag and trousers combo from season two when her husband is arrested. Her world may have been unraveling at that moment but dang did she look good. We’ll be replicating this come winter.

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Eleven, Stranger Things

 The ultimate 80s kid, Eleven taps into our insatiable nostalgia with her sports coat, peter pan collars and dungarees. A woman of few words, she’s won us over with her fierce loyalty, shaved head and love of Eggos. Her style is the epitome of practi-cool, best described as off-duty casual that still allows her to run away from Demogorgons if necessary. A life lesson for all of us, no?

Most memorable sartorial moment? We think the best is yet to come for Eleven in season 3 (which airs this week!). In the trailer and behind-the-scenes photos, we’ve spied cool bowling shirts and bright prints that are seriously on point for the season ahead.

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Villanelle, Killing Eve

Villanelle’s wardrobe is as manic as she is: whether tailoring, tracksuits, gowns, green leather shirts, bold prints, block neutrals, midi dresses or mini shorts, there’s really no trend or item she can’t pull off. The beauty of Villanelle’s wardrobe is that it’s powerfully pretty – there’s a soft edge to many of the looks that are simultaneously feminine and fierce. 

Most memorable sartorial moment? Where do we even begin? The horse-print Chloé suit? The fluffy hot pink Molly Goddard dress? The eggplant Burberry trench? This is a woman who is unafraid to standout (which is confusing given the fact she’s an assassin and probably should keep somewhat of a low profile but hey) and who genuinely loves clothes. Plus she’s the ultimate inspo for a, ahem, killer pantsuit.

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