Empire’s Costume Designer: I Did Some Research on Woman Bosses Who Are Married to the Mob"

As of last week, superfan Nikki almost convinced me to log some quality time with OnDemand to catch up on Fox’s Empire, but with this peek into what goes into crafting the style of Taraji P. Henson’s character, I’m probably going to shut down my laptop as soon as I’m done typing this and turn on the TV instead. The show’s costume designer, Rita McGhee, talked to Essence.com about Taraji’s character, Cookie, and what goes into her style.


On who Cookie is:

“She’s bold and she’s fierce, but she’s also very vulnerable and she’s also a sexy boss. She’s a woman, so she cares about her appearance, and she cares about herself, and she cares about how she presents herself to the world.”

On what we can expect Cookie to wear:

“She likes bold colors; she likes loud colors. She likes all the animal prints, tigers, zebras. She likes the leathers, she likes the fur, and she likes the loud colors. So she blings and she’s loud and ostentatious but also in a way that’s just refined style.”

On her signature pieces:

“You see these music girls and Hollywood wives, they’re going to rock something different all the time. She has a fur that she may wear three times, but that’s one of many looks. She has a one-of-a-kind Gucci bag. She keeps it fresh, and when she recycles it, it’s fabulous.”

On her fashion icons:

“Definitely Diana Ross and Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface. I did some research on the style of woman bosses that are married to the Mob. Leading ladies who are with mobsters, boss ladies. She’s a combination of everyone, like a Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Rita Ora. She’s music, she’s a mother, she’s fashion.”

On using pieces from real women in music:

“In Cookie’s closet we have clothes from different women in the industry, their own personal clothes that they let us use for the show. Janet Bailey, the first wife of Philip Bailey from Earth, Wind and Fire, we have some of her furs. Monique Mosley, Timbaland’s wife, we have some of her personal clothes.”


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