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Interview: Euphoria Costume Designer Talks Season 2 Sneaker Game

Ashtray Air Jordan 1 High Computer

This article was originally published on February 28, 2022.

Since debuting in 2019, Sam Levinson’s Euphoria continues to score straight-As in the style department. Powered by a pupil-dilating Y2K aesthetic and vault of superlative streetwear (thanks, Fezco), the series is also no slacker when it comes to sneaker game. To celebrate the season 2 finale, we linked up with assistant costume designer Angelina Vitto to break down the Y2K skate shoe revival, throwback 90s hoops sneakers, and the collaborative art that makes Euphoria the sartorial Dux of 2022.

Tell us about crafting the sneaker look for season 2.
When it came to new characters like Faye, our director Sam Levinson was really influenced by the Japanese anime Cowboy Bebop. Faye wears Scottie Pippen’s Nike Air More Uptempo, so we paired them with knee-high socks almost as an aesthetic homage. An insider reference. Fez obviously has a good sneaker game. The actor, Angus Cloud, has some pretty specific tastes, so we made choices that would match his core wardrobe.

But my ultimate favourite is Jules. We put a lot of old-school skate shoes on her, like DCs, Etnies and Emericas. She wears a pair of black DCs with hot pink stitching, and they’re the exact same shoes I wore in Junior High [laughs]. A lot of the Y2K styles are coming back, obviously. The Gen Z kids are wearing the skate shoes I was wearing 17 years ago. It was fun to play with a really big shoe on Jules when she’s wearing a mini skirt and items like that. They’re so blown out.

Are the actors collaborating on wardrobe choices?
It just depends on the actor. Some people want to be really involved and are DMing us brand names that they’re into. Hunter Schafer (who plays Jules) is super involved, but she also trusts us. She was super into the whole skate-shoe vibe, and I’ve seen her rocking them in paparazzi photos recently.

Javon Walton (who plays Ashtray) brought a pair of Air Jordan 1s and a Gucci tracksuit that he really likes. Javon is already so similar to the Ashtray vibe aesthetically, so it makes sense to incorporate who that person actually is. He has good taste, and his parents have good taste, so it was definitely fluid.

Who picked out Fezco’s Charles Barkey Air Max CB 94?
We have another girl on our team, Claire Redman. She’s a total sneakerhead. She’s always buying crazy sneakers for herself, so she really took control of some of the more niche models.

The streetwear space is such a competitive market in 2022. What made you opt for legacy brands like Supreme and Palace?
A lot of it is what relationships we already have. We have a relationship with Supreme and Palace, so they’ll send us items, or we can go to the store, and they’ll put things on hold for us. It just so happened that those brands worked really well for him. In terms of labels like Polo, that’s just what a dude like Fezco is going to wear. We wanted to pair these outfits with more lesser-known brands like 40s & Shorties. We also used Sergio Tacchini and other lower-priced menswear too. But the colours fit, the silhouettes fit, and it just seemed cohesive. Basically, we’ll look through a lot of brands and pick out the stuff that we like the colour and cut of.

You want the name recognition, but at the same time, we’re creating costumes – we don’t want to bring people out of it by putting Fezco in a colour or cut that you’d never see them wear.

How does an iconic model like the Converse Chuck 70 reveal the character of Rue?
Rue is a character that is not going to have a bunch of different sneakers. It’s just a classic silhouette. You’re really not focusing on the shoe – it’s just a grungy pair of high-tops. She wears the same sneakers for everything and the same black band socks. That’s just something she wears – no matter what. We literally don’t change her socks. And usually, it’s the same underwear, too.

I know your partner-in-crime, Heidi Bivens (costume designer), was recently quoted as saying that she wasn’t interested in making the wardrobe look affordable to high school students in season 2. Did you ever think about incorporating more upmarket sneakers like the Balenciaga Triple S or the Dior B23?
Balenciaga actually sent us sneakers for Fezco, but the scripts changed a lot throughout the series. We were going to do Balenciaga on Fez’s first scene and then on Jules’. We were actually looking at 1980s stock.

Still, we bought a lot of expensive shoes for Fezco and Ashtray in the first season, so I don’t think it changed too much. I think breaking the doors open was more about just being open to everything and picking an item that suited the scene visually.

Were you interested in time-stamping the show in 2022, or did you want to make the series more fluid?
Obviously, if you’re watching the show in 20 years, it’s going to feel like a very specific milieu. But I also feel like we did it in good taste. It’s very Gen Z, obviously, but there’s also characters that are timeless. I think Fezco is pretty timeless. It’s just a vibe that wouldn’t look out of place in the early 2000s, 1990s or 1980s. The same goes for Rue’s character.

There are things that are trendy, obviously. I don’t love the word trendy, but there are definitely items that are very 2022.

Were any sneakers left on the cutting room floor?
Not really. The only sneakers we didn’t end up using were from 1017 ALYX 9SM. We bought a pair for Jules, a black, kink Burberry-esque pair, but we just decided to stick with the skate shoes. We just felt like they were cooler, paired with layered shirts, jewellery and mini skirts. Or even bookending baggy pants and crop tops.

What are you personally wearing in 2022?
There’s a sneaker store in LA that I really like called Sportie LA. They have a lot of deadstock sneakers. I tend to go for a more retro look for my sneaker game. I have a brown leather pair of adidas shoes with yellow stripes that I wear a lot. Usually with soccer shorts. I tend to try and stay comfortable because I’m running around all the time for work. My friend’s telling me now that I’m a mix of 1980s Italian mixed with 1990s Ralph Lauren [laughs].

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