Saying Goodbye to Naomi Pierce, Succession’s Fashion Queen

Pop Culture

For a show dominated by boardroom-appropriate suits and unbranded baseball caps, it’s a little astonishing that the fashion on Succession became the stuff of watercooler conversation, generating memes about “ludicrously capacious bags” and driving interest in so-called quiet luxury and stealth wealth. The giddy fan club that formed around the show’s clothing is a testament to the work of costume designer Michelle Matland, who over four seasons deftly tweaked the outfits of the Roy family and their associates to mirror the ups and downs of their power plays. As the series comes to a close, though, it’s time to celebrate Succession’s best-dressed media scion: Naomi Pierce, whose monochromatic wardrobe was a gift to mood boards everywhere.

Since Naomi’s introduction in season two, Matland and actor Annabelle Dexter-Jones have been sharpening the semi-reformed party girl’s look, refining it as she grows into herself. Matland sees Naomi as a classic It girl, the special type of person “who can put a boa over a bikini, walk into a party, and all of a sudden it’s the Met Gala.” Naomi never wears that precise look, but with a taste for inventive, tomboyish evening wear, she certainly doesn’t look like anyone else in the Waystar Royco universe.

With the series finale airing on HBO on Sunday, May 28, Matland and Dexter-Jones have closed out Naomi’s run on Succession in high style. Season four opens with the Roy siblings visiting the Pierce family’s airy estate in California, in the hopes of convincing Nan Pierce (Cherry Jones) to sell Pierce Global Media to them rather than to their father. Naomi serves as a ferryman and gatekeeper for her cousin—Nan has a headache and can’t see the Roys, Nan is suddenly feeling better—while simultaneously serving laid-back polish. For the occasion, she’s dressed in billowing white Proenza Schouler trousers, a half-tucked black sleeveless shirt by Proenza Schouler, black Tom Ford sunglasses, and long pearl earrings by Sophie Buhai. 

Following her split from Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) at the end of season three, Naomi has also gotten a breakup haircut, swapping her blunt bob for a chic highlighted mullet reminiscent of Princess Diana’s style in the ’90s. “The bob was such a thing, but I really wanted to differentiate between where she was last season and where she is this season,” says Dexter-Jones of the cut, executed by hair stylist Ashley Javier. “It’s an ensemble show, it’s a big cast, so I really like to exploit every opportunity I have to communicate my character.”

Courtesy of HBO

While Naomi’s breezy season four look became instant style inspiration for Succession fans, it also reflects Naomi’s growing sense of comfort in her own skin. “When we last saw her in season three, I think she was feeling kind of untethered and had to take a step back from the codependent, black-hole-iness of the relationship [with Kendall],” says Dexter-Jones. “I think this season, she’s in a very grounded place.” At home in California, in a place where Naomi feels safe and secure, Matland wanted the character’s clothing to be more casual and less architectural than before. Naomi is always dressed as though she could be photographed by the paparazzi, but, Matland says of this outfit, “It’s almost like pajamas.”

It’s a notable evolution from the Naomi Pierce we met in season two, when the entire Roy family descends on a different (East Coast) Pierce compound to start talking about the acquisition. In her earliest appearances, Dexter-Jones wears leather blazers, black turtlenecks, and crisp white button-downs—the kind of clothing that functions as armor, much like Kendall’s sharply tailored suits in season one. “[Kendall and Naomi go] from being young, sort of out-of-control party children to finding their way to the place where they might be able to support their families, their own finances, and their personal lives,” says Matland, noting that Kendall’s season four wardrobe has similarly gone in a softer direction, full of earth-toned suede jackets, T-shirts, and sweaters.

Season three cemented Naomi as a true style icon, thanks to a series of killer party looks that revolved around metal chokers and trousers worn with strapless tops (or partially buttoned minidresses that functioned as strapless tops). As Dexter-Jones explained it to me at the time, Naomi’s style is elegant without preciousness: “[Her look] has an Upper East Side feel to it, but she likes to fuck it up.” Today, Matland sees the seamless way that Naomi mixes brands—Proenza Schouler, Celine, The Row, Marina Moscone—as a product of her worldly upbringing. “I’ve always thought of her as a girl who is highly educated, but not particularly interested. I think she dabbled in art history, I think she traveled the world a lot, I think she went to boarding school with the right people, politicians’ children and artists’ children, and she’s a mélange of all kinds of different cultural ideas,” Matland says.

Lounging comfortably on the couch at her family’s California estate across from the tightly wound Roy siblings, Naomi’s season four look expresses not just personal groundedness, and not just an excellent sense of style, but a certain authority. When you don’t need to armor up in a leather jacket or a suit in order to help drain your ex-boyfriend and his siblings of $10 billion—when you can do all that in a cool little tank top—that’s power-dressing.

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