WARNING: This article contains spoilers for 'Big Little Lies' season one.
Some say "The clothes maketh the man". If we were to update the saying, we might say: "The clothes hold the clues"—especially when it comes to TV.
This is certainly the case for the Monterrey Five in season two of the blockbuster series Big Little Lies, which returned to our screens on June 10, 2019, in a blaze of TV glory, this time with the inimitable Meryl Streep in tow.
And while the premiere gave us a reunion with the five after season one's dramatic ending, along with Streep's brilliant debut as Celeste's mother-in-law and the scream that sparked a thousand memes, a closer inspection at the show's costumes reveals a much more nuanced glimpse into the character's mental states this season.
Here, we take a look at all the best costumes from season two of Big Little Lies so far and decode surprising details hidden within.
Amabella's birthday party: Episode Four
Despite the fact that it's "not even her f--king birthday", eight-year-old Amabella's birthday party was an extremely stylish affair.
The Monterey Five brought along their husbands and children for maybe one of the most elaborate children's parties in TV history.
Renata and Amabella's mother-daughter party dresses: Episode Four
Fresh from an appointment with her bankruptcy judge, Renata put on a glamorous front at Amabella's birthday party.
According to the show's costume designer Alix Friedberg, Renata "is a woman that has power" and she dresses to reflect that.
At the same time, the emphasis on power dressing in season two appears to be a form of overcompensation for the fact that she is struggling to hold on to her power.
Celeste's 'Studio 54-meets-American-Bandstand disco night': Episode Four
Disco party outfits: Episode Four
Kathryn Newton (AKA Madeleine's daughter, Abigail, on the show) shared pictures to Twitter from behind the scenes, providing a close-up look at some of the other outfits.
While Jane wore a bandana and colourful makeup, Madeleine curled her straight hair into frizzy locks—both representing 'disco' in their own ways.
Bonnie's effortless beauty look: Episode Four
Zoë Kravitz is one of the world's most stylish women, so it was only fitting that her on-screen character, Bonnie, nailed the disco aesthetic.
Renata's Calvin Klein 205W39NYC dress: Episode Three
Though Renata may be headed towards bankruptcy, she's certainly still dressing the part of a brazen career woman.
Renata's Gucci and Balmain ensemble: Episode Three
Later in the third episode, Renata wreaked havoc around Monterey (and had an awkward encounter with Mary Louise) while wearing a Gucci logo belt and handbag, paired with a $3,000 tailored Balmain blazer in crocodile print worn over a gold blouse. Maximalism at its peak.
Renata's Norma Kamali puffer vest with Gucci pants and a Gucci bum bag: Episode Two
Renata may have been in the middle of a meltdown but she still looked stylish to a fault in her Norma Kamali puffer vest and Gucci bum bag. According to the show's costume designer Alix Friedberg, Renata "is a woman that has power" and she dresses to reflect that. At the same time, the emphasis on power dressing in season two appears to be a form of overcompensation for the fact that she is struggling to hold on to her power.
Renata's red and white knit: Episode Two
Renata delivered not one but two noteworthy ensembles in episode two. Amidst an argument in the car with husband, Renata can be seen wearing a red and white chevron knit. Although it's arguably the most relaxed look Renata's sported so far, it still speaks to her powerful side through bold red hue.
Bonnie in a black sports bra: Episode Two
Bonnie continues to swathe herself in dark colours, shunning the bright hues she favoured as a yoga teacher in season one. The black sports bra she wears when her mother comes to visit only serves to further highlight ongoing guilt and grief she's still experiencing over Perry's death.
Jane, Celeste and Madeleine: Episode one
While the trio generally appears to resemble their last season selves, there's one important difference that stands out: Jane (Shailene Woodley) sporting a striking new fringe and retro-style sunglasses. Now that she is less pained by her past with Perry, the look may signify a move towards a bolder, more confident Jane.
Mary Louise's Hermès Scarf: Episode one
Meryl Streep's debut as Celeste's mother-in-law Mary Louise is one for the ages, as is her penchant for an Hermès scarf. A subtle yet significant accessory, the colourful scarf set against her rotation of grey ensembles appears to symbolise Mary Louise's high regard for tradition and doing things the 'proper way'—with a twist, making her one to watch as the season progresses.
Renata's Roland Mouret Gown: Episode one
Arguably the best look to come out of episode one, the burgundy Roland Mouret dress Renata (Laura Dern) wore in a photo shoot for her magazine cover cost a staggering $6,576 AUD. The black La Perla bra and thigh-high Christian Louboutin boots totalled around $3,800, bringing the entire look's approximate value to $10,376 AUD.
According to the show's costume designer Alix Friedberg, the 'superwoman' look riffs off of Renata's power dressing from season one with one key difference.
"In season two, we amplified that a bit as the walls are caving in on her," she told Fashionista.
Bonnie's grunge garb: Episode one
One of the most affected after Perry's death, Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz) has made a distinct departure from her signature colourful bohemian clothes. Favouring dark colours, silhouettes that shrouded her frame and sunglasses to hide her eyes, which may suggest that she struggling with their secret.
Celeste wearing Perry's shirt: Episode one
Season one's Celeste (Nicole Kidman) favoured luxurious long-sleeves and cashmere turtlenecks in an effort to cover up the signs of abuse at her husband Perry's hands. In the second season, however, Celeste can be seen wearing one of Perry's shirts. On one hand, this could be a sign that she is still mourning her husband, on the other, a symbol of her exhaustion and difficulty with remaining 'put together'.
Madeline's pink pussy-bow blouse: Episode One
Madeline's new real estate career calls for more corporate wardrobe, with the Monterey mum's candy pink pussy-bow blouse making a notable appearance in episode one. But as it turns out, there may be more to her preppy look than just needing to look professional.
"She is always trying to fool you that she's totally together when she's got a crumbling marriage and teenage daughter that's wildly frustrating," Friedberg told Fashionista.