Kerry Washington's Vintage 'Scandal' Gown Worked Perfectly with a Wind Machine

11/26/2012 at 09:00 AM ET

Kerry Washington Scandal
Vivian Zink/ABC

The dress Kerry Washington wears on this Thursday night’s episode of Scandal is anything but scandalous — though it did take a lot of work to find.

“We were having a really hard time finding anything,” Scandal costume designer Lyn Paolo tells PEOPLE. “There were a lot of needs for this dress: I wanted it to be white to echo [an episode from] last year, and she had to be able to move in it, too — she had to run down a hallway in one scene, and withstand wind effects in another. So I needed something that flowed.”

Knowing she wanted to go vintage, Paolo found a gorgeous white Jean Fares Couture dress that was a few sizes too big for Washington — and in somewhat rough shape — but “fell in love with it,” she says. “There were so many challenges — the size, the destroyed hem — so we basically rebuilt the whole gown.”

The work was worth it, though; Paolo says that when Washington walked onto the Scandal set wearing the gown as her character, Olivia Pope, “the reaction of the crew and other actors was phenomenal.”

Paolo says a perk of her job is collaborating with Washington, whom she calls a true fashionista. “We spend a lot of time together in our costume room, talking about the tones of a scene, and try to tailor each individual costume to what’s happening in her head, in her world, the palette of the set,” she explains. “I think sometimes the rest of the crew wonders what the heck we’re doing in there!”

But with Washington changing outfits 13 or 14 times per episode, the serious costume consultations are necessary. “We’re constantly striving to one-up ourselves with the fashion on this show,” Paolo says.

As for Thursday’s stunning white dress, Paolo says she’s kept it, in case it’s needed for any flashbacks. “I decided that once it was Olivia Pope’s, it should stay as Olivia Pope’s,” Paolo explains. “And I think we might see it again …” Tell us: Are you loving Washington’s Scandal fashions?

–Kate Hogan

PHOTOS: SEE STARS IN COSTUME IN ‘LIGHTS! CAMERA! FASHION!’

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Showing 21 comments

nana082000 on

Kerry Washington looks Gorgeous as always! I can’t wait for this episode to come! “Thursday night please hurry and come already! Love SCANDAL! OLITZ FOREVER!!!!!

foreclosuresurvivor on

Kerry looks stunning in that dress!

tcvajv on

She’s a beautiful woman…stunning in that dress!

Tracey on

Kerry looks absolutely beautiful in this dress!!!! Fitz is gonna go crazy when he sees her!!! I can not wait for Thursday to get here!!!!!

Ivy on

While the plot and quick style conversation is addicting, I admit that I watch Scandal for ideas on what to wear to work. LOVE this show!!

Jennifer on

One of my favorite shows on TV. Kerry Washington is beautiful, her fashion is superb and she’s a classy. This dress is amazingly beautiful and I can’t wait to see her in it on Thursday nights episode!!!

Jennifer on

I love this dress! Kerry looks so elegant; feminine yet strong enough to go against Mr. President. This show is my favorite, by far, on television. I cannot wait until Thursday.

cheri on

Gorgeous dress and she wears it perfectly. This is a great show…hoping it continues with great script, acting, direction, etc for a long time.
Kerry is just fantastic and Lohan could take some pointers from a real actress……….

ukcat1 on

Beautiful dress! Breath taking

Bosco on

GORGEOUS! I am such a fan of this show! Kerry is amazing and I love her style and the strength she imbues to Olivia. It’s amazing to see her as a lead and I love her chemistry with Tony Goldwyn and Jeff Perry. SO ADDICTED! WHY ISN’T IT THURSDAY ALREADY!

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