From Gerri’s Evolution to What’s Really Going On With Shiv: Succession’s Costume Designer Answers All Our Burning Questions
Radhika Seth, VOGUE
May 7, 2023
The fashion of Succession has been crucial to the success of Jesse Armstrong’s foul-mouthed, Shakespearean epic from the very beginning. Who could forget Shiv’s roster of slippery silk shirts during her heyday as a slick political consultant? Or Kendall’s ill-judged Lanvin trainers, worn to impress the founders of an achingly cool start-up? Or Greg’s transition from rain jackets and deck shoes to a boardroom uniform that echoes Tom’s?
All of that is the work of the Emmy-nominated costume designer Michelle Matland, who has been outfitting the Roys and their ambitious hangers-on since Season 1, perfecting both the stealth wealth aesthetic of Waystar Royco’s most senior executives and the unbecomingly flashy ensembles of interlopers who don’t know any better.
However, for Season 4, the frenzy-inducing final installment of what is now a 13 time-Emmy-winning behemoth, she had her work cut out for her: namely, telegraphing the trajectory of the series and its major power players through their hard-shouldered suiting and louche loungewear without ever giving anything away, a task that has becoming increasingly difficult given the rabid and eagle-eyed nature of the show’s fanbase. Staggeringly, she and the show’s creators have achieved this with remarkable ease, with each episode effectively pulling the rug out from under us: the Roys were all in black for Connor’s wedding, which quickly took a funereal turn that no one saw coming; and Shiv’s uncertainty about her future was writ large in her slightly crumpled Max Mara separates long before she was revealed to be four months pregnant.
As a result, Matland’s sartorial choices are now under even more scrutiny, as Succession hurtles towards its conclusion and we await the fate of the siblings as well as the company they’ve spent years battling over. Below, the costume designer answers all of our burning questions, from what Shiv’s erratic attire means for her Season 4 arc, to the evolution of Gerri’s boardroom look, and how she decided on that “ludicrously capacious” bag.