Turns Out The OC’s Marissa Cooper Wore Fake Chanel Bags

A classic case of fake it 'till you make it

The OC

by Elizabeth Bennett |

This week marks the fifteenth anniversary of the The OC. The show that gave all noughties' teens a weekly slice of life at a glamorous Californian high school. The black tie debutante balls, Cribs-worthy mansions, and, of course, an endless array of designer outfits.

We poured over the wardrobes of the lead characters, and in particular the preppy mix of polo shirts, rara skirts and cashmere knits worn by Marissa Cooper, played by Mischa Barton.

However, in a new interview with Page Six, the show’s costume designer Alexandra Welker has revealed that Marissa’s much-loved outfits were not quite as they seemed. In fact, her impressive array of designer garms, notably her collection of Chanel bags, were actually fake.

'It was a challenge because everything had to look super high-end,' Welker told the publication.

With the show yet to hit the big time, Welker struggled to find designer brands who would work with her. 'There was absolutely no borrowing [from brands] involved either, because nobody had ever heard of us, so they were very [wary] of loaning anything.'

However, Welker was determined to create the expensive wardrobe of a Newport Beach teenager, and searched high and low for believable alternatives.

'People got really worked up over that Chanel book bag; they thought that the idea of a teenage carrying one to school was obscene!' Welker said. 'I’ll be honest, those Chanel bags that she carried, those weren’t something I could have on my budget. But I found this amazing store in Downtown LA that sold the best-looking fakes I’d ever seen! So we used some really, really good knockoffs.'

As the show rapidly gained a loyal legion of fans, and viewing figures went through the roof, it wasn’t long before designer brands were calling Welker.

'By the Season One finale, brands were falling all over themselves to lend to us.'

Ironically, Mischa Barton quickly bagged an ambassador role with Chanel fine jewellery, and the rest, as they say, is history.

'I’ll always be grateful to Mischa Barton. She started doing a lot of modeling because of the show, and the folks at Chanel loved her. They actually loaned me a couple of samples, and once we started using real Chanel, of course, I had to let those fakes fall by the wayside.'

READ MORE: Where Are The Cast Of The OC Now


Where are the cast of The OC now?

Ben McKenzie (Ryan Attwood) then
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Here's Ryan 'from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks' Atwood back in the day. Phwoar.

Ben McKenzie (Ryan Attwood) now
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CREDIT: REX/Shutterstock

And here is is now. Still phwoar. Is it just us, or does he look essentially the same?Since leaving The OC, Ben has continued to act starring in such films as 2013's The Advocate and Batman: Year One. He's had major success on the small screen, with lead roles in Southland, Gotham, and Line of Duty.

Adam Brody (Seth Cohen) then
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You were either a Seth girl or a Ryan girl, and Seth was the whiny, nerdy, but sweet-natured type with a very specific (read: inexplicable) type of sex appeal.Not anymore.

Adam Brody (Seth Cohen) now
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CREDIT: REX/Shutterstock

BLOODY HELL, WOULD YOU LOOK HOW FIT HE'S GOT? Since leaving the show, Adam has had a number of smaller parts in a range of indie films and series, most recently alongside Cate Blanchett in Mrs America.He's married to Leighton Meester who played Blair in Gossip Girl and they have a child together.

Mischa Barton (Marissa Cooper) then
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Here's Marissa Cooper. We really wanted to be her back in the day, but looking back she was very much not OK and we're very glad we weren't.

Mischa Barton (Marissa Cooper) now
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CREDIT: REX/Shutterstock

Here's Mischa now, and can we all just take a moment to APPRECIATE THAT DOG. Since leaving The OC, Mischa has appeared in loads of films, in particular a load of moderately successful American slasher films for some reason and our personal fave, St Trinian's. She was also a contestant on Dancing With The Stars in the US.

Rachel Bilson (Summer Roberts) then
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Rachel Bilson played Seth's girlfriend Summer Roberts, and the pair actually dated IRL while filming the show.

Rachel Bilson (Summer Roberts) now
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CREDIT: REX/Shutterstock

Rachel later starred in films like The Jumper and The Last Kiss, and had recurring roles on American sitcoms How I Met Your Mother, Nashville and Hart of Dixie.

Willa Holland (Kaitlin Cooper) then
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Willa played Marissa's younger sister Kaitlin, who had an absolute mare in season two when she was shipped off to boarding school and seemingly didn't see her family for about 10 years. But she returned in series four after her sister died to wreak havoc.

Willa Holland (Kaitlin Cooper) then
10 of 22

After leaving the show, Willa appeared on a number of TV shows - notably (for us) Gossip Girl, in which she played Agnes (the one that burned all of lil J's dresses).

Autumn Reeser (Taylor Townsend) then
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Autumn played the quite frankly extremely irritating character Taylor Townsend, who inexplicably ended up with Ryan at the end following Marissa's untimely death.

Autumn Reeser (Taylor Townsend) now
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Autumn has appeared in a number of films and series since leaving The OC, and was also one of the leading members of The Thrilling Adventure Hour, a staged comedy show. She also starred alongside the actual Tom Hanks in 2016's Sully, which was nominated for an Oscar.

Chris Carmack (Luke Ward) then
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Chris played Luke Ward, who had possibly the biggest personality change of any character ever, and was responsible for the iconic line, "Welcome to The OC, bitch".

Chris Carmack (Luke Ward) now
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Chris is now a successful musician, and he's also appeared in films like The Butterfly Effect 3 and The Reef.

Peter Gallagher (Sandy Cohen) then
15 of 22

Sandy Cohen played the OG Dilf Sandy Cohen, and we're still obsessed.

Peter Gallagher (Sandy Cohen) now
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CREDIT: REX/Shutterstock

YEP. STILL (sort of) A DILF (would we push GRILF? Who knows). He was already a well known actor when he joined the cast, having starred in 1999s smash hit Black Beauty, and his continued to have a successful career since with recurring roles in Grace & Frankie, Law & Order, Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist and loads more.He's also starred on Broadway.

Kelly Rowan (Kirsten Cohen) then
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Kelly played Seth's alcoholic mother Kirsten, who went on to have another baby at the end of the series.

Kelly Rowan (Kirsten Cohen) now
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CREDIT: REX/Shutterstock

Kelly's taken a step away from acting with her last film credit, Tulips in Spring, from 2016. Before that she had a recurring role on TV series Perception, as well as one-offs on CSI: Miami and The Murdoch Mysteries.

Melinda Clarke (Julie Cooper) then
19 of 22

Melinda played the absolute queen of Juicy Couture tracksuits Julie Cooper, who, like Luke, had a massive personality transplant throughout the series but was hands down one of our favourite characters (and possibly the best villain ever).

Melinda Clarke (Julie Cooper) now
20 of 22
CREDIT: REX/Shutterstock

Melinda has subsequently starred in loads of TV series including Entourage, Nikita, Dallas and The Vampire Diaries (to name a few). She's got a few film credits under her (designer) belt, too, like 2017's Enough About You.

Tate Donovan (Jimmy Cooper) then
21 of 22

Tate Donovan (or JOSHUAAAA from Friends, as we know him) played Marissa's dad Jimmy. Also a Dilf.

Tate Donovan (Jimmy Cooper) now
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CREDIT: REX/Shutterstock

Tate has since appeared in a number of films - including Oscar winning Manchester By The Sea - and continues to have bit-parts in various TV and short films. His last recurring role was as James MacGyver in CBS's MacGyver.

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