By avi maxwel / in , , , , , , /

I own the same Don’t Be Jealous baby tee that Alexa Demie wore in episode two, season two of Euphoria. When designer Vanna Youngstein announced she would be producing a handful of them for purchase after the episode aired, I ordered one instantly. The shirt has an attitude I don’t really possess, the kind that implies I’m confident enough to assume you are jealous of me and I’m not afraid to announce it. Everyone who sees me wearing it knows that, and most of them even say, “That is so Maddy!” because they already know where the shirt is from before I open my mouth.

Ever since I first watched euphoria, which debuted in 2019, I had wanted to dress like Maddy Perez, the character Demie plays, and I told this to the show’s costume designer, Heidi Bivens, over zoom last week. She laughs and says, “Yes!!!” before adding, “My hope and my desire was that the show would give some sort of license to anyone, even women in their 40s who want to look like Maddy, to get more confidence to be experimental with their style!” In the three years since the show’s release, Maddy Perez has become more than a character. She’s an adjective—the one that people think of when they get dressed or scroll through vintage Blumarine on The Real Real—and which Bivens essentially defines in A24’s newest book, Euphoric Fashion.

Courtesy of A24

The book is big and purple, with the title etched into the hardcover with a glistening silver material reminiscent of the kind you smudge over your eyes for a rave; a makeup style Euphoria’s makeup artist Donni Davy made popular among Gen Z, except they cover their eyelids in gems to go to social studies (and maybe later, also a rave). It matches Hunter Schafer’s wide eyes covered in a smooth shimmery smudge on the cover in her character Jules’ signature way. Inside, the book features interviews between Bivens and each actor about their looks, original essays from fashion writers on things like camp and normcore bondage, and deep-dives into the history of key style elements like Converse sneakers or tennis skirts.

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“The original title was actually going to be Euphoria Fashion: The Art of Costume Design,” Bivens tells me. “And I asked A24 if I could just have it be Euphoric Fashion. Even though they are costumes, the show has been embraced by an audience of both young people and older…and that’s because it’s been about fashion! ‘The art of’ sounded a little high-falutin to me…honestly it made me a little uncomfortable!”

fashion euphoria

Courtesy of A24

when Euphoria first came out, everyone couldn’t stop talking about the look. There was the makeup, of course, but there was also an icy blue sheer mock-neck Eckhaus Latta shirt, a pink lace Stella McCartney dress, and pieces made from old bright purple Opening Ceremony fabric in the first couple episodes alone. It had been twelve years since the original Gossip Girls aired, and yet, there hasn’t been a show that has been welcomed as much discourse on its clothing until Euphoria came along. “When I think of what costume designer Eric Daman did for Gossip Girls…. It was just rare for a show about teens to get the kind of recognition for its creative departments like that show got or like our show gets,” Bivens says.

When A24 came to her with the idea to do a book, it felt like a no-brainer. The production company had already created Half Magic with Davy, a makeup line of iridescent sparkle gems and a duochrome highlighter that reflects light like a disco ball. They needed something for the Euphoria fashion fans but a brand collaboration, it was thought, would not make sense. The appeal of the show’s fashion isn’t really about the actual items. While I love Youngstein’s shirts, my desire for the one Maddy wore had less to do with recreating her exact look and more to do with somehow absorbing her commanding don’t-give-a-fuck attitude by wearing it. And using words instead of material things is the only way to really break down that nuance of wanting to become someone through dress.

euphoric book

Courtesy of A24

Euphoric Fashion starts with a foreword by designer Jeremy Scott, a close friend of Bivens, who writes, “The fact that these characters feel so real to us is not solely because of the acting (though it is excellent). It’s also about Heidi making very exciting choices in how these characters adorn themselves. That’s a skill very few people have.” Bivens’ favorite part of the book demonstrates this skill, with lines that point to the details, accessories and layers of key looks from the last two seasons with captions that explain her thought process. “All those captions really show my train of thought and my stream of consciousness, during all the decision making of what was going to come together for each of those looks.”

Bivens said in a 2022 interview with ET Canada that when she first started working on the show, she went around to high schools in Los Angeles to hopefully find inspiration, but ultimately left underwhelmed and uninspired. She decided instead to try and base the character’s style off real people she knew, “Maude Apatow’s character Lexie—her style was inspired by my friend Annabelle Dexter-Jones.” Ironically, part of the frenzy around Euphoria’s outfits revolved around how detached from reality some of them felt.

euphoric book

Courtesy of A24

On TikTok, there was a “get dressed for Euphoria High” challenge where people threw a backpack over layers of psychedelic prints, mesh layers, revealing crop tops, and seven-inch platform boots. On Twitter, there was an endless stream of memes, typically with scantily clad runway models accompanied with text like, “Maddy Perez on her way to Algebra class.” I even remember arguing with a friend over whether or not the show was filmed from an observer’s point of view or the heightened reality of one of the characters, transporting us viewers to the hazy realm of unshakable fortitude that comes from being young and beautiful and wearing an outfit you love. I thought about my core memory outfits from high school, and how they always seem to look entirely different and better in my brain than they do in my photos.

There’s no clear answer, but the show’s creator, Sam Levinson, did tell Bivens he doesn’t “give a fuck about reality.” So while she was trying to be “conscious of not pulling the audience out of the story by using costumes that wouldn’t be seemingly believable for high school students to be wearing” she eventually gave herself “more license to be more free about my choices and not be so analytical.”

euphoric book

Courtesy of A24

Eventually, as the show continued and the audience grew familiar with the characters, that conversation about reality died down. Euphoria became this universe, realistic or not, that people wanted to be a part of—like they did with Gossip Girls or Sex and The City. And while Euphoria is far darker than the two, with devastating depictions of addiction and abuse, all of the characters still possess this captivating individuality that was expressed through careful consideration of their outfits, in the same way that made Blair Waldrof or Carrie Bradshaw style touchstones.

“I enjoyed the costumes of Sex In the City,” Bivens says. “Carrie’s costumes were amazing…but those weren’t my girls! I wasn’t one of those ladies! Euphoria is actually closer to the world that I live in.” She was a skateboarder who grew up going to raves and Riot Grrrl shows with graffiti writers. The concept of style, tribes and youth movements immortalized by specific uniforms, was largely inspired by her process.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to suggest that Biven’s work on Euphoria played a large role in Gen Z’s current obsession with the concept of plucky personal style. It’s also what Bivens had always hoped for, “I wanted their takeaway to maybe be that they could lean into their own individuality, rather than this watered down version of what they see on social media. That’s inspiring to me.” And now they have Euphoria Fashion, a book that’s a cross between style bible, and outfit textbook, to help them study Rue’s and Jules’s and Maddy’s looks; not necessarily in an effort to become them but to instill a distinct style essence within themselves that is undeniably so Euphoric.

Euphoria Fashion by Heidi Bivens is available now at shop.a24films.comand retails for $60.

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Tara Gonzalez is the Senior Fashion Editor at Harper’s Bazaar. Previously, she was the style writer at InStylefounding commerce editor at glamor, and fashion editor at Coveteur.

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