Now that season 2 of Killing Eve is upon us—BBC America aired the season premiere on Sunday night—it’s as good a time as any to recognize that its creator, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, isn’t the only Phoebe who’s been instrumental to the show’s runaway success. Indeed, if anyone else could be called the show’s behind-the-scenes maestro, it just might be Phoebe de Gaye, its costume designer—and not just because of its reputation as the most fashionable show on television.
Rather than a distraction, or a product of women in the lead roles—at the show’s center is the unlikely obsession between the titular Eve Polastri, an MI5 agent played by Sandra Oh, and her would-be killer, Villanelle, an ultra-glamorous, probably psychopathic assassin played by Jodie Comer—style is merely fundamental to Eve and Villanelle’s chemistry. Just like us, Eve can’t help but marvel at Villanelle’s wardrobe of custom-dyed Burberry, brocade Dries Van Noten, satin Miu Miu, and leather J. W. Anderson, even after it becomes clear that they’re essential rewarded for and souvenirs of each of her kill.
(Even if Villanelle—and her move to replace the contents of Eve’s suitcase with designer pieces like a Roland Mouret cocktail dress in exactly her size—has her experiencing the Stendhal syndrome. The difference being, of course, that Eve could soon become one of them.) After the pastel pink confection of a Molly Goddard dress that Villanelle wore during an otherwise unnotable scene turned it into a standout fashion moment, it was only a matter of time before Villanelle was recognized for what she is: an assassin, yes, but also a street style star in the making. But that moment, a tease of which appears in the trailer for season 2, is not upon us just yet. This brings us to our very first spoiler alert: Villanelle is not only alive (duh) but also amid a potentially great sartorial slump.
Villanelle sets about attempting to clean her wound after putting some distance between herself and her couture-filled Parisian apartment—where, to both of their surprise, Eve stabbed her in the gut. Realizing that a bottle of liquor belonging to a sleeping homeless man probably wasn’t going to cut it in terms of dressing the injury, she then literally steals the coat off his back, thoroughly soaking it with blood before switching it out, just in time, for a disposable hospital gown.
Since Villanelle doesn’t precisely do pity, she deals with her uncomfortably proximity to another invalid—a boy recovering from a car crash that killed his entire family—by turning him into her pawn. But once he’s completed her mission of stealing her a nurse uniform that will help her pillage the hospital in relative peace, she encounters another hurdle: the fact that she can’t precisely wander the wards without attracting notice in bare feet.