Costume Designer of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Responds to Kylie Jenner’s Controversial Themed Party

Most people have probably seen or at least heard of The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s a Hulu series based off Margaret Atwood’s novel. Fans truly love the show, including Kylie Jenner it seems. She recently hosted a Handmaid’s Tale themed party. Natalie Bronfman, the show’s costume designer, had a few thoughts on the subject.

Bronfman doesn’t think it was meant maliciously

Kylie Jenner
Kylie Jenner attends the 2019 Met Gala celebrating “Camp: Notes on Fashion” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 6, 2019 in New York City. Taylor Hill/FilmMagic

Bronfman spoke with Entertainment Tonight about Jenner’s themed party, and how the costumes in the show are a symbol of oppression towards women. The red costume especially, which is worn by the handmaid’s forced into sexual slavery, was worn at the controversial party.

“I don’t think it’s done maliciously as it is more done not having really thought the process through and really [understanding] the symbolism,” explained Bronfman to Entertainment Tonight. “We live in a society where people don’t take the time to read the full newspaper article, they usually read the headline. And everything is in split seconds and then they move on to something else. And that’s just where we’re going at with all of the technology.”

She knows not everyone has read Margaret Atwood’s novel

Bronfman continued on the subject with Entertainment Tonight, and knows that those involved didn’t understand the meaning behind the costumes in the show.

“So I know it wasn’t really done for any other reason other than not having really understood what this stands for. Not everyone has read Ms. Atwood’s book,” said Bronfman. “Not everyone knows the core meaning of it I guess. I mean people will wear what they wear and I can’t criticize people’s choices — but yeah, I was a little shocked.”

The themed birthday party took place in June

Jenner hosted the birthday party for her friend Anastasia Karanikolaou and held it shortly after the premiere of the third season of The Handmaid’s Tale. Guests wore red outfits accompanied by the white bonnets the handmaids are forced to wear in the show. People were understandably upset by the party, as it’s based off a book and show that portray the atrocities women face in an alternate reality.

Bronfman spoke with Vogue about the Season 3 costumes

The Handmaid's Tale cast
The cast of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ poses with the award for Best Drama Series in the press room during The 23rd Annual Critics’ Choice Awards. Steve Granitz/WireImage

June (Elisabeth Moss) and her fellow handmaids that we are more familiar with have the same outfits as in previous seasons. However, season three introduces viewers to the handmaid’s stuck in Washington, D.C. They are much more oppressed than ever, with ring piercings keeping their mouths forcibly closed. Their mouths are also covered with a red neckpiece. When viewers first saw these costumes, many were struck with horror.

Bronfman spoke with Vogue (France) about creating the costumes for the third season. “The only part of the handmaids that was really exposed was the neckline, which can be quite sensual,” said Bronfman. “I wanted to muzzle the handmaids. [The veil] sits under the nose, because that allows for acting in the nose and eyes. On the back I put on these gigantic hooks that have a secondary clasp in case they should fall off – which they can’t. The dichotomy of this lightweight fabric and these heavy hooks is quite creepy.” It certainly is, and is enough to send shivers up the spines of those of us at home watching.