Reese Witherspoon's 5 Best Fashion Moments On Big Little Lies
If there's one thing Big Little Lies does well, it's drama -- very stylish drama -- and Reese Witherspoon's effervescent Madeline Martha Mackenzie is the drama queen bee. Laura Dern's Renata got to sing "It's My House," but Big Little Lies is really Madeline's floral print house and we all live at her stilettoed feet.
It's hard to rank just five great Big Little Lies fashion moments from Reese Witherspoon, so in the tradition of Maddie herself, I'm being a little extra to add some honorable mentions at the end. Warning: Plot spoilers ahead from Season 1 and the start of Season 2 are all up in this article.
5. Madeline's Floral Suno Dress At Bonnie And Nathan's House, Season 1, Episode 6
Big Little Lies costume designer Alix Friedberg tends to dress Reese Witherspoon's Madeline Martha Mackenzie in classic feminine flower prints -- fitting for her sunny looks, but a perfect contrast to her usual f-fomb fury. In Season 1's "Burning Love," Madeline and husband Ed (Adam Scott) went for a horrible dinner at Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz) and Nathan Carlson's (James Tupper) house. Madeline puked all over the food, and then had an even more awkward talk with daughter Abigail (Kathryn Newton) about her "secret project." Madeline used the talk to reveal to Abigail that she had cheated on Ed.
Maddie came to regret that decision -- not only cheating on Ed, but also revealing it to Abigail. But she should have no regrets about the dark flower-print dress she wore in the dramatic episode. The stretch silk floral dress by Suno -- which was also worn by the character of Mandy Baxter on Last Man Standing -- was selling for $595 at Saks Fifth Avenue, but Yoox currently has it for $292.
4. Madeline's Play Opening Night Dress, Season 1, Episode 6
Ed actually said "kazowie" when he first saw Madeline in this pink cap sleeve sheath dress, adding that she looked fantastic. Madeline attended the opening night of her Avenue Q play in this gorgeous "Casson" dress by Roland Mouret. An exact match had been selling on Farfetch for over $2,000 but it's currently sold out. You can find similar versions elsewhere.
Big Little Lies costume designer Alix Friedberg told Vogue Reese Witherspoon's Madeline loves bold colors, prints, and feminine silhouettes. "That perfectly put together Madeline look is a mask for what’s happening in her personal life. Her marriage is crumbling and her daughter is making poor choices."
3. Madeline's Trivia Night Audrey Hepburn Look, Season 1, Episode 7
The Big Little Lies Season 1 finale was set at the ill-fated trivia night, with the ladies all dressed as Audrey Hepburn. Madeline went for a more risqué take on Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Even before we saw Maddie's final look, we got to see her prepping for the night, with a gorgeous teal robe that matched her later sleep mask. Don't miss her pink earrings and slippers with the Audrey look. It's easy to miss them when gaping at her bare legs under the very short shirt dress.
Big Little Lies costume designer Alix Friedberg told EW they bought the sleep mask on Etsy and enhanced it with trim and eyelashes; the shirt was a reworked Céline piece; and the tassel earrings were custom-made. Apparently it was freezing through two weeks of night shoots, but Reese Witherspoon was game to commit to the very exposing look.
2. Madeline's Yellow Floral Dress, Season 1, Episode 2
Madeline wore her sunniest outfit across the second episode of Big Little Lies. As usual, the bright sunshine colors contrasted perfectly with Madeline yelling at her daughter Abigail, plotting to sabotage Renata, and fighting for her play. As she told Tom the coffee shop guy in this episode: "Everyone's making me angry." But at least she looked happy on the surface.
The yellow floral print dress Reese Witherspoon wore is by Caroline Herrera. Madeline also carried her beloved small "Alice" leather satchel from Chloe, which sells for $480 (per Shop Your TV), along with her $798 camel hair jacket from Brooks Brothers (per Worn On TV.) Side note: Do you think Madeline named her daughter Chloe after the bag designer?
1. Madeline's Rosy Premiere Look, Season 1, Episode 1
My favorite Reese Witherspoon fashion moment is the first we ever saw from her Maddie, on the first day of school in Big Little Lies Season 1. We met Madeline Martha Mackenzie as she stormed out of her car wearing this $1,795 Burberry Kensington mid-length trench coat over a short flower-printed dress, topped by a matching cardigan. The rose print brocade dress -- which Celeste (Nicole Kidman) gave Maddie, we were told -- is by Dolce & Gabbana. Her Arabella suede pumps were by Ralph Lauren, and of course she had her Alice satchel by Chloe.
Big Little Lies costume designer Alix Friedberg told Variety Madeline's style is a portrayal of a perfect exterior. "She’s got this competitive edge that comes out in the choices she makes with her clothes." To achieve Madeline's looks, Friedberg turned to designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Red Valentino, Zara, Prada, and Burberry, along with more accessible brands like J. Crew and Tory Burch. As Freidberg added to Vogue, "Madeline mixes high and low end. It doesn’t need to be at Renata’s level of fashion."
Honorable Mention: Madeline's Tweed Jacket, Season 1, Episode 5
Floral, feminine Madeline doesn't always wear pants, but she had the perfect look for this chic cliffside hike. The opening scene of "Once Bitten" showed Madeline driving to a spot overlooking the ocean. It turned out to be part of a nightmare scenario where Renata pushed her off a cliff. But at least she looked good falling into the sea -- rocking the blue tweed Helene Berman jacket she wore across several episodes. It was selling for $278 at Nordstrom but apparently it sold out. Not shocked.
Honorable Mentions: Madeline's Floral Skirt and Houndstooth Coat, Season 2, Episodes 1- 2
The dramatic events of the Season 1 finale affected our Monterery Five in different ways. Big Little Lies Season 2 saw Bonnie deeply affected by what she did, and Jane got herself a darker new look and a new job. Season 2 showed Madeline in a new job too -- a real estate agent where she's basically printing money. The premiere showed her in a classic floral print skirt that closely resembled the full dress she wore in Season 1 when revealing her affair to Abigail. This time, she paired the silk floral pencil skirt by Dolce & Gabbana with a frilly pink top and the highest of pink heels from Christian Louboutin ($675), and she even got herself a new pink Prada bag.
But I'm particularly fond of the pink and blue houndstooth coat she wore in Season 2, Episode 2, "Tell-Tale Hearts." That was apparently custom made by the Big Little Lies costume department.
Big Little Lies isn't done with Season 2 and I have zero doubt Madeline and the rest of The Monterey Five will continue to serve up fabulous fashion moments. Big Little Lies Season 2 has seven episodes and continues Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.
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Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.
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