When you first think of Kerry Washington’s style, you likely conjure up an image of her powerful fictional character Olivia Pope in the White House wearing a luxe wool coat, high elbow-length gloves, and a structured handbag. In fact, when Scandal ran from 2012 to 2018, fans looked to Pope just as much as a fashion icon as D.C.’s top political problem fixer (so much so there was a whole collection for The Limited inspired by her wardrobe on the show). But, as it turns out, Washington’s personal fashion sense is quite different from her beloved character’s.
“Olivia Pope was mostly all business,” Washington tells TZR over email of her character’s signature style. “I like to bring a little bit of her aesthetic with me when it’s time to boss up, but I’m much more relaxed and casual in my everyday life and a bit more of a risk-taker on the red carpet.” For instance, just over a month ago, her Etro mermaid-like ensemble for the SAG Awards was arguably the most talked-about look of the evening. In terms of street style, Washington isn’t afraid to play with bold colors and prints (see: her Sally LaPointe purple sweater and coordinating snakeskin pants for an appearance on the Today Show in 2019).
“Right now I’m definitely in an athleisure mode,” she says of her minimal style amidst the pandemic. These days, her go-to “quarantine edition” ensemble involves her wedding band (the most important jewelry piece she owns,) Kyrie collection Nikes, and her Girlfriend Collective sweats. Washington has also been sticking to this same less-is-more philosophy with her beauty routine. “Due to the pandemic, I have been using a lot less heat on my hair and I’m just really embracing my curls and coils.” But, while she’s embraced a less-is-more philosophy, she’s still choosing to invest in forever items, especially gravitating towards timeless earrings and necklaces. “Focusing on health and comfort has shifted my shopping priorities,” she explains. “But, I still love to splurge on jewelry.”
If you’ve seen her street style photos, it’s evident that the actor leans towards jewelry pieces like sleek hoops or a chic statement earring, bangles, and dainty necklaces. Now, Washington turned her love of simple, luxe jewelry into a brand collaboration with Aurate. The collection, which includes delicate pearls and sustainable gold, was inspired by Sandro Botticelli’s painting The Birth of Venus. This second line (the first was in November 2020) with the label is extra special for the actor as she says it honors the essence of motherhood. “As we were designing the collection, we talked a lot about ourselves as mothers and about [the] role that we play as nurturers, not only to our children, but also to our ideas, our projects, and ourselves.”
For the brand’s campaign, Washington posed with her mom, sharing images on her Instagram with the caption, “And it means the world to me that I get to share this with my beautiful mother. She’s the bravest and strongest woman I know.”
In addition to looking to her own mother for inspiration, Washington turned to her own experiences as a mother of two to create this collection with Aurate, which features pieces like a pearl necklace and seashell earrings. In fact, some of her fondest fashion moments remind the actor of the importance of motherhood, for instance at the 68th Emmy Awards. “I was very pregnant at the time,” the actor says. “The brilliant Brandon Maxwell constructed a custom cut-out dress to showcase my pregnancy bump and I wore my hair big and bouncy and natural. It was such a powerful and liberating moment to celebrate my journey of being a working mother.”
Below, shop some of the pieces in Aurate x Kerry collection, launching Apr. 27. Consider gifting one of these luxe jewels to the mother figure in your life this Mother’s Day.
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