They’re ba-ack! After a decidedly suspenseful Season 4 finale that sparked more questions than it answered, Pretty Little Liars returns tonight for its fifth season. And while we are absolutely itching to tune in and see what Alison, Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer are up to (and if they’re any closer to discovering who “A” is), we’re just as eager to find out what they will wear. PLL has long been a show that’s known for both its cliff hangers and its fashion. We caught up with Mandi Line (below), the costume designer responsible for the girls’ amazing outfits, for the inside scoop on their clothes (as well as details on her new summer collection for Aéropostale).
Can we expect any big changes in terms of style this season?
I would say keep your eye on Hanna (Ashley Benson). She’s coming to the dark side. We have Alison, the queen bee, back, so Hanna is questioning her identity. Who is she now that Alison is back? I think it’s cool how the clothes have that backstory.
How would you say the girls’ style has evolved?
I think it’s really cool that Aria (Lucy Hale) is very true to her uniqueness. You never know what to expect, it’s not that she’s got all one style—one day she’s boho, one day she’s punk rock, one day she’s latino gangster. I just do kind of whatever mood I’m in, so that’s really cool about Aria. Spencer (Troian Bellisario) is getting a little more lax on her preppyness, a little more chic, a little more sophisticated. She’s got a little edge to her too. Emily (Shay Mitchell) we’ve seen from her earlier seasons was always concerned with pleasing her parents. She was very conservative and very sporty. And now, she’s hip-hop, she’s got this rocker edge sometimes. I think it’s cool the risks she takes. Her arc has been the biggest on this show. She’s just being able to express her openness in all areas of her life, and in her fashion it definitely shows. I think it’s cool because the fans have responded to Emily so much, they’ll say, “I didn’t know who I was, I came out, and I think Emily’s style has really helped me be comfortable with who I am.” I love that. And Hanna obviously has taken a turn.
Where do you draw your inspiration from when choosing the outfits?
[PLL creator] Marlene King allows me to live out my fantasies from high school. All the things I never got to do, every girl I wanted to be and was never able to for financial reasons or accessibility reasons, I get to play them out on my four, now five, little dolls every season. But the script really dictates what I can do. We always say school is a little more fancy. The script and the days and the action really dictates what happens.
Do you prefer dressing them for school or more casual scenes?
I just want to have them on the red carpet 24/7 at Rosewood High School! If I could have it my way they would all be in heels and 10 pounds of accessories and 35 patterns, with dreadlocks, braids, and different colored hair.
Are there any scenes you don’t like styling?
Yes! I hate breakups. Every time they’re going through a breakup they’re in sweats and T-shirts. I hate it.
How many black hoodies have you gone through?
We have a whole trailer. We have probably 30 black hoods, 30 [pairs of] Levis, 30 black T-shirts.
Who is your favorite character to style?
I used to say Aria, but I am obsessed with dressing flashback Mona. She’s like a school teacher from 1976. Her clothes are awesome.
How is your new collection for Aéropostale different from the last?
When I started with Aéropostale, it was a lot of taking their own stuff and me tweaking it, and now for summer, back to school, and fall, it’s a lot more me. We had enough prep time for production to be able to look at it and start from fabrics, start from cuts and silhouettes, and not just from the garments they have. So that’s kind of cool because you’re going to get ultra-Aria, ultra-Hanna.
Do you have a favorite piece from the collection?
I really love Hanna’s summer girly, girly, girly dress (above, right) because you can pair it with leggings, pair it with combat boots, pair it with heels, pair it with a leather jacket, pair it with a jean jacket. Even though it’s girly, I think it’s really fun to edge up the ultra girly piece.
Shop the new Pretty Little Liars collection for Aéropostale here, and tune in tonight at 8 p.m. ET to catch all the Season 5 action!