‘White Lotus’ costume designer talks Tanya’s ‘Godfather’ dress, more

Warning: This story contains spoilers from the Season 2 finale of “The White Lotus.”

Talk about a killer ending.

In Sunday’s Season 2 finale of HBO’s hit show “The White Lotus,” Jennifer Coolidge’s Tanya McQuoid was sent to her watery grave — after taking out an entire yacht full of conspiring gays.

But shocking as Tanya’s fate was for viewers, eagle-eyed fashion fans may have noticed a major clue that signaled she wouldn’t survive her Sicilian vacation: her finale dress, which linked her to a similarly doomed character from “The Godfather.”

And Coolidge’s character’s ominous outfit wasn’t the only sartorial Easter egg seen in Season 2; plenty of other costuming choices from earlier episodes hinted at key players’ inner desires and true motives, too.

Below, “The White Lotus” costume designer Alex Bovaird dishes on the season’s most talked-about wardrobe moments — and what they all meant.

Tanya’s “The Godfather”-inspired dress

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This floral frock ties Coolidge’s character to Apollonia, the beautiful and doomed Corleone wife from Francis Ford Coppola’s classic film.

Throughout the finale, Tanya wears a floral dress identical to one seen in an iconic scene from “The Godfather,” when Michael Corleone’s wife Apollonia (Simonetta Stefanelli) is killed with a car bomb intended for her husband. In Episode 3, viewers got a close-up look at the frock on a mannequin during Bert, Dominic and Albie’s “Godfather” sightseeing tour.

After viewers spotted the similarities in last Sunday’s preview for the finale, many believed Tanya wouldn’t make it to another White Lotus locale.

“I was pretty surprised by the internet sleuths’ ability to put things together,” Bovaird tells Page Six Style. “When I saw the Evan Ross Katz tweet showing Tanya’s death dress on the ‘Godfather’ dummy, I was very impressed.”

But Bovaird says the genius fashion moment “almost didn’t happen,” as Coolidge’s character’s version of the look was accidentally returned from set.

jennifer coolidge white lotus
The floral sundress accidentally went back to Rome.

“We were towards the end of the show, and it got sent back to Rome the previous night by mistake! Somebody had to catch a plane with it back in the early morning and it made it to camera,” she says.

“Just your typical costume department mayhem.”

Portia’s polarizing Gen-Z getups

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Portia’s Gen-Z outfits were both loved and hated by fans.
Fabio Lovino/HBO

Personal assistant Portia (Haley Lu Richardson) inspired many a meme for her enthusiastic embrace of mixed prints and patterns, with some fans loving the Gen-Z looks and others wondering why she never matched. But some of those clashing graphics held deeper meanings; the Custo Barcelona face-printed top she wears in one scene, for instance, was meant to echo the Testa di Moro head statues seen throughout the season.

“At first I was a little taken back by the reaction online to her costumes, but I’m happy that my and Haley Lu’s work on her character has gotten so much attention,” Bovaird says.

portia white lotus
Portia’s vacation outfits were full of experimental prints.

The costume designer says Portia’s style was inspired by LA “It” girls “who are continuously mashing up clothes and styles” in “audacious and uniquely creative” ways, citing influencers Ruby Bryant and Lou Rebecca as examples.

“Portia is not nearly as cool or self-possessed, and the idea was that she wouldn’t always succeed with her styling,” Bovaird explains. “We loved putting her in different moods and modes according to her state of mind and circumstance, and making her a bit ‘off.’”

Harper’s Audrey Hepburn style

Harper’s Audrey Hepburn-inspired outfits evolved throughout the season.
Photograph by Courtesy of HBO

Audrey Hepburn was the “style muse” for Harper (Aubrey Plaza) throughout the season, with Bovaird drawing inspiration from “Roman Holiday” and the legendary screen star’s “classic looks with ’50s elegance.”

Harper’s looks also “evolve based on how confident she’s feeling” from episode to episode, as Bovaird explains.

“She arrives in a pristine white suit, very guarded and sharp … When she starts to unwind, her costumes get more lively,” the costume designer says. “We actually had her mirror a Daphne (Meghann Fahy) look at the winery, and she did wear one of Daphne’s dresses at the Noto villa — the white-and-blue printed Poupette St Barth dress.”

The finale saw Harper reconciling with husband Ethan (Will Sharpe) after the spouses suspect each other of cheating, and her outfit speaks volumes.

“In her final dinner scene she wears a very girly, romantic dress — she looks vulnerable, finally,” Bovaird says. “It’s my favorite look on her, and we did her hair like Audrey Hepburn.”

Jack’s “Love Island” shirts

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Jack’s bold button-ups were inspired by reality stars on “Love Island.”

Jack’s (Leo Woodall) outfits are straight out of “Love Island,” including colorful shirts and short shorts that wouldn’t look out of place on the British reality show.

Bovaird even debated putting the Essex lad in the classic “Love Island” skinny jeans, she says, but “he mostly wears shorts” because “Leo has really muscular legs!”

Albie’s socks

albie in white socks
Albie always kept his white socks on, even during his love scenes.

Good guy Albie (Adam DiMarco) divided viewers, with some on social media creeped out by his “incel vibes” and others cheering on his relationship with sex worker Lucia (Simona Tabasco).

In one especially talked-about moment, Albie keeps his white tube socks on during sex with the scammer, à la the Flight of the Conchords song “Business Time.”

“We just decided that Albie was the type of slightly goofy guy who wouldn’t remove his socks prior to his love scene,” Bovaird jokes.

“It seemed to make sense and was a visual gag and lent a bit of levity to an otherwise pretty intense scene.”


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