When it came time to dress Pretty Little Liars stars Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell and Troian Bellisario for this week’s issue of EW, stylist Emma Trask called on the ABC Family show’s costume designer Mandi Line for pointers.
“I spoke to Mandi and she described the vibe that she goes for on the show,” says Trask. “What we ended up with is a blend of [each girl's] personal style and the look of her character.”
Trask and EW Senior Associate Photo Editor Matthew Levinson sifted through photos from teen queen classics like Clueless, The Craft, and Heathers looking for inspiration, finally settling on Mean Girls as a reference point for the cover shot.
In addition to the “nude, pastel palette” for the cover photo, Trask also pulled a variety of colorful dresses and metallic pieces for the shoot. “[We also did] a jewel-toned look, because it pops,” Trask says of the above photo of Hale (in Mandalay), Benson (in Ted Baker), Mitchell (in Issa), and Bellisario (in Bao Tranchi).
Lucy Hale as Aria Montgomery
On the dark and stormy set, Hale shimmered in a metallic Julia Clancey dress and Monika Chaing shoes. “Lucy was like ‘I’ve worked with you before!’” says Trask, who has styled other campaigns for the CW. “When I go out and start talking to showrooms and designers, I find out that a lot of them have dressed the girls, or they’ve worn their clothes on the show, so that helps a lot.”
Ashley Benson as Hanna Marin
Trask put Benson in a strapless dress by The Blondi and accessorized the actress with Loree Rodkin earrings, Deepa Gurnani bracelets, and cut-out booties from Gio Diev. How did the stylist make sure that no one got a case of outfit envy? “I came prepared with so much stuff, because I know what it’s like. I did Melrose Place and there were four young actresses. It was always a ‘first in gets [best] dressed’ type of thing. Luckily with this group, there was no mad rush to beat each other out,” Trask says. “And there were moments the girls would say, ‘I love this, but that would be better for [her]!’ [Each one] knows what works for her and for her character.”
Shay Mitchell as Emily Fields
Trask highlighted Shay’s gorgeous gams by outfitting the actress in Boohoo Boutique shorts, which she paired with a Georgine top, Danielle Michetti heels, a JNB ring, and Deepa Gurnani bracelets. “They all loved the accessories! They just kept piling them on,” remembers Trask. “That’s something they also do on the show. It’s a young, flirty look.”
Troian Bellisario as Spencer Hastings
Bellisario posed for the forest shoot wearing a gold and black mini-dress by the The Blondi, L.A.M.B heels, and a Fenton/Fallon bracelet. “They were really, really decisive and really quick, so we didn’t have to mess around. That’s how we got four different looks done,” Trask says of the girls’ lightning fast outfit changes at the four-hour shoot. “It was Golden Globes weekend, and they were all doing other things. To get four outfits done and have them all be happy with the final result is pretty killer.”