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Set It Up’s Best Supporting Character Is Lucy Liu’s Wardrobe

We’ve been in a very celebratory state of mind when it comes to Netflix’s new rom-com Set It Up, mostly because, well, have you heard? It’s so goddamn delightful. Zoey Deutch goes nuts at a Yankees game. The High Line gets the VIP treatment! Glen Powell says he wants to fuck a pizza. (Uh, we should clarify that one, it’s because it looks tasty.) But with all of the romantic scheming and fire escape high jinx shared between our two 20-something assistants, it’s perhaps easy to overlook the real star, the real glue holding this rom-com together: Lucy Liu and her power outfits. Pick up your nearest Merriam-Webster, and under the word power will read “(n.) that red pantsuit Lucy Liu, goddess divine, wears in Set It Up.”

Liu is total perfection as Kirsten, the HBIC at a Bleacher Report–esque online sports empire who proves that total domination in a generally male-populated field and a love of chic silhouettes aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, it was this type of ethos that fueled the wardrobe department’s inspiration. “I wanted her to be a powerful female boss but I didn’t want to take away her femininity,” the film’s costume designer, Rebecca Hofherr, tells Vulture. “I wanted to convey that she was a successful, strong entrepreneur, but that she was also still a woman who can be the head of a sports website, and can also care about the way she looks.”

Liu was very involved in the wardrobe selection process, as she and Hofherr have worked frequently together on Liu’s current CBS series Elementary. “Lucy herself is a bit of a fashion icon and brings years of experience to the table. She and I looked at images and did fittings and then slotted outfits into scenes where we thought they would work,” Hofherr says. “Lucy is an easy person to dress, especially for this role. She has a natural beauty and confidence that worked great for this character.” Hofherr was kind enough to break down the inspiration behind six of Liu’s most defining Set It Up looks.

“The first time we see Lucy, the outfit has to be perfect. We needed the audience to know that she is in charge. The outfit was actually a two-piece Roland Mouret top and skirt. It’s powerful but not severe, and it’s fashionable without being over the top. This outfit had to also be the complete opposite of Harper, so that when you see them, you instantly see that Harper aspires to be Kirsten one day.”

“This dress signifies the start of her romance with Rick. I wanted it to be a color that was strong and more adventurous than what we had previously seen her in. She was in mostly black and reds before we see her in this blue dress. I put her in a different color for this scene because I wanted Rick to notice her, and I wanted the audience to notice that something was different. Lucy looks beautiful in this royal blue color, and it’s a masculine color with a feminine silhouette, which a character like Rick would take notice of.”

“Alice + Olivia made this suit. This scene was so important because she was happy and thriving in her relationship and in her professional life at this point in the film. More so then her other looks, a red suit, in my opinion, is a statement piece that exudes confidence. You have to feel like a million bucks to pull this off and in turn you look like a million bucks. I think this scene was one of the highest points in the movie, and it needed to be bold!”

“This is almost the exact opposite statement of the red suit. This outfit was still beautiful, but the color choice portrays more of a wallflower feeling than someone who wants to stand out. I think when you aren’t feeling your best, it’s noticeable in what you chose to wear.”

“This dress needed to be a little softer than her other looks. I feel like an engagement or wedding announcement is something you remember forever, and her character, who plans everything in her life, would have thought about this. Although pink isn’t bridal, there is something about the color that conveys a softer, more feminine side of Lucy’s character that we hadn’t seen before. We needed to see this side to believe that she and Rick are capable of entering into a marriage together.”

“Lucy and I felt that a jumpsuit is more playful and relaxed than we have ever seen her character, yet elegant and practical for traveling. I like that it looks like she let her guard down a little here with Rick. I also love that it’s a practical outfit for anything, which is, again, something her character would have thought about.”

Set It Up’s Best Supporting Character Is Lucy Liu’s Wardrobe