The ‘Everything I Know About Love’ Costumes Are The Best Trip Down Memory Lane For Millennials

The show of the summer is here.

Everything I Know About Love

by Natalie Hammond |

If you graduated from university in the early 2010s, Everything I Know About Love will prove to be a very merry trip down memory lane. Cast your mind back to those halcyon days. Instagram had only just arrived. Topshop, king of the high street chains and ultimate taste-maker among millennials, was the destination for buying your going out clothes. And the perfect pair of skinny jeans was the cornerstone of every twenty-something's wardrobe.

Everything I Know About Love
Emma Appleton as Maggie ©BBC/Working Title/Universal International Studios Limited

This is why Everything I Know About Love, available to watch today on BBC iPlayer, is like looking through your many (many) albums on Facebook. Because as well as being a love letter to the power (and exquisite pain) of female friendships - those that carry you on their wings through school to the cusp of adulthood - it nails the millennial wardrobe so accurately that it could almost be yours or mine circa 2012.

Matthew Price, the costume designer whose previous credits include Chloe, Behind Her Eyes and Catastrophe, knew he had fulfilled his brief on a visit from writer Dolly Alderton (the series is based on her smash-hit memoir of the same name).

'The first time she came to the costume room to look at the ideas, she found various items that she a) used to wear and b) still owned. We knew we were on the right path then,' says Price, who started the research process by looking at old photographs from his actual friends, street-style blogs that don't exist anymore, the work of Robert Lang, a photographer who published a book called Filthy Gorgeous Camden Town, and icons such as Kate Moss, FKA Twigs, Zoë Kravitz and Amy Winehouse. (Maggie, the character loosely based on Alderton, is something of an homage to Stevie Nicks. As well as having a sultry, messy fringe, her first outfit is a fringed suede jacket, skinny jeans and Converse.)

Everything I Know About Love
©BBC/Working Title/Universal International Studios Limited

Price himself used to live in Camden, where the four main characters pitch up after leaving university and arriving in London, and its fading glam-grunge mood is the backdrop to their after-dark escapades. For their first Big Night Out, the foursome gathers to get dressed up - and it's like a check list of the decade's greatest hits. Maggie's in a floral mini (a prized piece from the collab to end all collabs: Kate Moss x Topshop), Amara's wearing a scrunched dress by AllSaints (my sister owned the same style in white), Nell's in denim cut-offs and a polo shirt from Fred Perry, and Birdy, the slightly more straight-laced member of the gang, is in a dress from Karen Millen. (A lot of the script's best punchlines, in fact, are based around clothes e.g. 'You're literally wearing a dress from Karen Millen', is one particularly funny put-down in episode one.)

Everything I Know About Love
Aliyah Odoffin as Amara ©BBC/Working Title/Laura Bailey

As they cavort on the dance floor, they look amazing, but never 'done'. As Maggie puts it to Birdy: 'We’re in this grubby, golden phase of life that is so short-lived.' Price captures that energy to perfection, sourcing a lot of the clothes from Depop (especially old Topshop - and the cult collabs it pulled off with Kate Moss, Christopher Kane and Mary Katrantzou).

'Back in the day, you couldn't really find them, people were queueing round the block to get [these] collaborations. They're a bit like gold dust in a way.' Mixing these finds with particular pieces he knew that had to have - Topshop's Jamie jeans, for example - he drew from his own archive in east London, as well as treasures pulled from vintage markets.

As women who are either looking for their first job or working their first job, Price hasn't included anything that's overly pricey. These are girls who are living on the brink of falling into their overdrafts (especially after a night of buying blue shots for strangers) and working a corporate job just to be able to afford ASOS. 'It needed to feel absolutely authentic, in that sense. They would be saving up to maybe get a piece from the Kate Moss collection, for example, in Topshop,' says Price, who adds that the team agreed that they wanted it to feel relatable at all times.

Everything I Know About Love
©BBC/Working Title/Universal International Studios Limited

'The other thing that we really paid attention to is that it shouldn't be perfect because they're young women. They're discovering themselves - and part of that discovery is through clothes. It needed to have some looks in there that obviously looked fantastic. But in a way some of the combinations are slightly wrong. And we all agreed that would be a good route to go. It shouldn't be perfect; it should feel realistic,' says Price.

And on that theme, as a group of girls cohabiting outside student accomodation for the first time, they would naturally share their clothes, which they do, while pieces that you've seen them wearing appear on coat hooks around their home. It can't help but bring a smile to your face at the thought of flatshares old, as well as sending you down a kind of nostalgia rabbit hole where you might end up thinking, 'Did we really wear that?'.

Everything I Know About Love
Marli Siu as Nell ©BBC/Working Title/Laura Bailey

'I think the thing that shocked us all was actually how period the clothes felt when they initially tried them on. I know it’s sort of recent history, but silhouettes have changed massively in the last 10 years,' says Price, who agrees with my suggestion that things were a bit a tighter and shorter circa 2012.

If you're ready to ride the helter-skelter that is being young and adrift in a big city for the first time, dig out your skinnies (and your ability to go to work bleary-eyed and hungover AF): Everything I Know About Love, just like life when you're 24, is yours for the taking.

Everything I Know About Love
Bel Powley as Birdie ©BBC/Working Title/Universal International Studios Limited

'Everything I Know About Love’ starts 7 June, 10.35pm, on BBC One and iPlayer

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