It says something, our times as they are, that a fictional female assassin from the BBC drama Killing Eve is being cited alongside models, actors, royals and influencers as style inspiration this season. Villanelle’s fashion sense is uncategorisable; put her in a box and she will slice straight through it. Clothes mean a lot to her; when Eve laments in the finalé: “I have lost two jobs, a husband and a best friend because of you,” Villanelle replies: “Yeah, but you got some really nice clothes out of it.” Her style is slippery and, as such, her outfits have something for everyone.

1. The trenchcoat



Burberry trench. Photograph: BBC

We have to assume Villanelle knows her way around Vogue and so she’s aware of fashion’s continuing love affair with the trench. Here she’s opted for Burberry, given a dusky pink twist and cinched in at the waist. Always playing a part, she looks every inch an Insta-influencer in Paris. Villanelle is a character who sees retail as reward – as many might – but with her, bag count seems to correlate with kill count.

2. The sundress

Miu Miu sun frock.



Miu Miu sundress. Photograph: BBC

This is Villanelle doing her solemn best to dress like someone who hasn’t just been on a killing spree in London and then arbitrarily murdered a weeping office worker in Bulgaria. Her handler has urged her to “do something normal”. This is it: wandering along the Champs-Élysées, eating ice-cream, professing her love of national anthems while wearing a Miu Miu sun frock and crisp, boxfresh white trainers. Clearly, this is a costume she does not often wear.

3. The maxi dress

Burberry lace maxi-dress.



Burberry lace maxi-dress. Photograph: Robert Viglasky/Sid Gentle Films/Robert Viglasky

This Burberry lace maxi dress is perfect for a garden party at an Italian palazzo and Villanelle knows it. Her savviness with clothes and costume make her a slick assassin and this – “borrowed” from the wardrobe of her target’s wife – gives her the perfect cover to infiltrate the bash. Its silhouette is not far from that of the prairie-style frocks that proved popular this year, but there is nothing home on the range about Villanelle. Her hair clip takes functional fashion to unexpected places, keeping her updo in place before doubling as a murder weapon.

4. The even maxi-er dress

The Molly Goddard billowing bubblegum pink gown was a bold choice.



Molly Goddard billowing bubblegum pink gown. Photograph: BBC America

Villanelle in this billowing, bubblegum-pink, Molly Goddard gown is Villanelle at her elusive, teasing best. It is a bold outfit choice for the psychiatrist’s couch. Any misguided expectation of ultra-femininity is undercut by her choice of Balenciaga leather boots; she is throwing all manner of curveballs in the direction of those trying to psychoanalyse her. This dress, by a designer beloved of Rihanna and Adwoa Aboah, might look flimsy, but it is designed to take up space.

5. The pussybow blouse

Chloe pussybow blouse: loaded with meaning.



Chloe pussybow blouse. Photograph: Robert Viglasky/Sid Gentle Films

Few necklines have been so loaded with meaning lately as the pussybow – with Melania Trump wearing one for the presidential debate in a move some read as a protest against her husband’s “grab ’em by the pussy” remarks, to women in Sweden wearing them in protest after the sex scandal at the body that awards the Nobel literature prize. Villanelle wears hers in the form of a custom Chloe blouse teamed with denim cut-off shorts and Dr Martens boots – ideal for scaling the aforementioned palazzo.

6. The power suit

Dries Van Noten suit.



Dries Van Noten suit. Photograph: Robert Viglasky/Sid Gentle Films/Robert Viglasky

Wearing a suit for an important day at work? So far, so conventional. Wearing a Dries Van Noten suit in which to murder an MI5 operative on a Berlin dancefloor thrumming with sweaty techno heads? Not so much. Earlier the same day, Villanelle dons a JW Anderson leather blouse with a ruffled neck to sit spying on her latest murder scene, now crawling with police officers. Others in her position might have dressed less ostentatiously, but where would be the fun in that?


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