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Killer Looks From 'Big Little Lies' Puts Monterey on the Fashion Map

Picture of Jill Di Donato
Fashion Editor
Updated: 3 April 2017
In a dreamy, cathartic last episode, viewers learn that it takes five Audreys to slay the monster, as the finale of Big Little Lies restores peace to the coast of Monterey, the posh seaside town where nothing is what it seems.

The finale gala isn’t the first time the women of Monterey get dressed to the nines at Otter Bay Elementary. The ladies of Big Little Lies prove that in small, tight knit communities like Monterey, fashion plays a pivotal role in how your neighbors, friends, and frenemies see you. With this series, Monterey, the one-time center of the sardine packing industry, has just become as chic as Paris, due to the killer looks served up by the starlets of Big Little Lies.

@ HBO
@ HBO

In the series finale, all Monterey moms must dress like Audrey Hepburn for a glamorous fundraising event at Otter Bay Elementary Charter School. Costume designer Alix Friedberg told W Magazine that her favorite look of the show was Renata’s “chic take on Audrey’s My Fair Lady iconic ascot dress.” Eliza Doolittle, brought to the screen by Audrey Hepburn in the 1964 adaptation of George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion is a fine metaphor for the premise of the show: bubbling beneath the glitz and luxe lifestyles is not only a Cockney accent, but the potential for violence.

Madeline, Jane, Celeste, and Bonnie turn out dressed as Holly Golightly, a character whose fate is darker on the page (in Truman Capote’s novella Breakfast At Tiffany’s) than in the film adaptation, where Hepburn’s Golightly gets a happy fairytale ending, and a closet full of Givenchy. Still, Holly Golightly is a flawed heroine, much like the characters who inhabit the idyllic maritime landscape.

Once the mystery of Big Little Lies is solved, (Perry is revealed as Jane’s rapist; Max as the school bully; Celeste as his battered wife) the monster is impaled (literally) and women and children get to live in harmony, with nothing bubbling beneath them but the sea. In a pact of female friendship and power, femininity and diamonds, the women of Monterey can finally shed their costumes, peel away the armor, and celebrate their lives.

And so, in the spirit of a restorative ending to Big Little Lies, here’s a rundown of the ladies’ signature styles, and the designers who’d most likely show up in their closets.

Martha Mackenzie

Designer Inspiration: Dolce & Gabbana x J. Crew

Reese Witherspoon as Madeline Martha Mackenzie @ HBO
Reese Witherspoon as Madeline Martha Mackenzie @ HBO

Celeste Wright

Designer Inspiration: The Row x Le Perla

Nicole Kidman as Celeste Wright @ HBO
Nicole Kidman as Celeste Wright @ HBO

Bonnie Carlson

Designer Inspiration: Chromat x Ulla Johnson

Zoë Kravitz as Bonnie Carlson @ HBO
Zoë Kravitz as Bonnie Carlson @ HBO

Jane Chapman

Designer Inspiration: Converse x Levi’s

Shailene Woodley as Jane Chapman @ HBO
Shailene Woodley as Jane Chapman @ HBO

Renata Klein

Designer Inspiration: Chanel x Alaïa

Laura Dern as Renata Klein @ HBO
Laura Dern as Renata Klein @ HBO