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The second season of Love — Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, and Paul Rust’s dramedy about modern romance in LA — dropped March 10th on Netflix, and if you immediately binge-watched all 10 episodes, you’re not alone. As our friends over at Vox have already written, Love’s sophomore effort is far superior to its first, with shorter, stronger episodes that accurately capture both the magic and misery of the show’s namesake emotion.
But one thing that’s always been spot-on about the series? Its mostly-vintage wardrobe, the work of costume designer Jennifer Eve. To dress the show’s central couple, cynical addict Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) and sweet Midwesterner Gus (Rust), Eve painstakingly scoured the best vintage stores throughout Echo Park, Highland Park, and Silver Lake — all neighborhoods in which the series is filmed.
“Vintage clothing was just a natural fit — for Mickey in particular, but almost everyone else, too,” Eve tells Racked. “I lived in Echo Park for six years, and I feel like I know these characters. They’re real people who re-wear things. Like, just because I shop for a living doesn’t mean that Mickey can!”
Of course, building a closet that looks and feels real takes time, and most TV shows film at breakneck speed, which requires their costume designers to either make or purchase clothes for the cast in bulk. Luckily, not so for Love.
“There aren’t a lot of costume changes per episode, so I really have the luxury of being able to visit places all over town,” she explains. “Jet Rag, American Rag, American Vintage — those are the ones I use a lot. There’s a place called Please and Thank You that’s great, too. I even go to Goodwill! And on rare occasions I do eBay and Etsy, if there’s something in particular I’m chasing — like Mickey’s vintage Yankees jacket.”
To dress Bertie (the scene-stealing Claudia O’Doherty), Mickey’s sweet and quirky roommate, Eve looks to secondhand threads from a different era: the ‘80s. “Her look is more poppy and bubbly and childlike,” she says. “There isn’t that sort of drugged-out nonchalant sex appeal that comes through with Mickey.” Many of Bertie’s cheerfully colorful looks, which include heart-printed Fair Isle sweaters and bow-tied blouses, were found at the Los Feliz vintage store Squaresville.
Eve’s even been known to dip into the closets of the show’s own crew. “There’s a denim vest Mickey wears in season 1 that actually belongs to our co-creator Lesley Arfin. I had Gillian button it up and wear it as a shirt!” she laughs. “Mickey is really an amalgamation of a lot of us — Gillian, Lesley Arfin, even me in my 20s.”
In fact, Eve is so committed to keeping Love’s characters real and relatable that whenever a pricey item makes it into the show, she insists on mapping out how it came into Mickey’s possession. She points to one of Mickey's many enviable vintage band T-shirts — a maroon Bruce Springsteen number the character wears in season 2 — as an example. “That’s from What Goes Around Comes Around,” she says. “And I mean, I love them, but their price point is high. For the most part, most of Mickey’s stuff comes from smaller, lesser-known, less-expensive places.”
To that end, it’s at Los Angeles’s many vintage fairs and flea markets — like A Current Affair, the Melrose Trading Post, and the Rose Bowl — that Eve really strikes gold. “I don’t necessarily buy a lot while I’m there, since the price points are usually too high and everything’s so curated,” she says. “But I’ve built really great relationships with some of the vendors, and they all have store spaces (and more merchandise!) elsewhere.”
To round out all those past-decade clothes, Eve peppers in a handful of modern pieces from affordable retailers like Topshop and American Apparel. “If you look at what these girls in that area are actually shopping and wearing, it’s a lot of American Apparel,” she says. “I don’t know what they’re going to do now that it’s closing!”
In fact, it’s a look that meshes vintage with fast fashion that stands out as Eve’s personal favorite from Love thus far: the orange Topshop bathing suit Mickey wears with vintage Levi’s (Eve recommends Collection if you’re looking for a similar pair) in season 1. “It took us I think six fittings to get there,” she remembers. “At that point, we were still figuring out who Mickey was, trying to find an outfit that would introduce her to the world and take us through the first two episodes. There were a lot of people weighing in on it.”
“Finally, we put this on her, and I caught Gillian’s eye in the mirror, and we were both just like, this is it,” she adds. “It felt sexy, but not forced. There’s an easiness about it, and that’s part of Mickey’s deal. Every time a look gets too fussy, it feels wrong.”