I Hate Suzie: Billie Piper explains the meanings behind those striking looks

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Sky Atlantic’s I Hate Suzie is about to become your next TV obsession. Here, Billie Piper talks to Stylist about the striking costumes that help tell Suzie’s darkly hilarious story. Warning: minor spoilers ahead. 

Everybody is going to be talking about I Hate Suzie this week. The new Sky Original series, which stars Billie Piper, will be available to stream from Thursday 27 August on Now TV – just in time for a weekend binge.

The story follows Suzie Pickles, a 30-something actor who finds herself navigating the aftermath of having her phone is hacked, and private, nude photographs being leaked. It’s told over the course of eight episodes that are named after the grief cycle – shock, denial, fear, shame, bargaining, guilt, anger and acceptance.

Suzie was born out Piper and co-creator Lucy Prebbles’ fascination with the anxiety women experience in their 30s. “She’s very recognisable from life, but she’s not really been seen on screen before,” Prebble recently told Stylist. “That combination of being eager to please, at the same time as being ambitious and angry. She’s also very, very anxious all of the time, as well as having this weird performative confidence in her work.”

We have a feeling that viewers will, in fact, love relatable Suzie.

But it’s not just the darkly hilarious dialogue and fascinating characters that will pull you in. Suzie’s wardrobe, hair and makeup all very clearly play a big part in telling the story.

From the paint-splattered faux fur coat in episode one, to her messed up hair and makeup in episode two’s intense hotel scene, a lot of thought has been put into how Suzie should look. 

Piper, who worked with costume designer Grace Snell during the series, explains to Stylist the meanings behind the different looks and why they were so important. 

“She’s an actress so she has that world to consider in what she wears. But she’s also a chaotic woman and that needs to be reflected too,” Piper says. 

“We wanted these sort of madcap fashion moments, but it always had to come from a place of truth – it couldn’t just be, ‘Oh let’s wear this fabulous coat at the end of episode one because we want to make it shiny’. It has to always come from this place of truth and we were both married to that idea from the beginning.

“It’s a hard balance because you want it to be truthful but you also want every frame of the show to be impactful.”

Billie Piper in I Hate Suzie.
I Hate Suzie: Billie Piper wears a paint-splattered faux fur coat in episode one.

When it came to hair and makeup, Piper laughs about often “going home with my head in my hands” because of the imposing closeup shots and strong lighting used to capture the full, truthful picture of Suzie. 

“It’s not about this, ‘Oh, let’s make this woman look beautiful all the time,’ because actually she’s completely falling apart and that had to be shown so with hair and makeup,” she explains. “It’s as we would live our lives in the middle of the trauma; it doesn’t look perfect, you look like shit.”

Prebble refers to the hotel drug binge scene in episode two to illustrate Piper’s point about looking “real”. In the scene, Suzie’s hair is a total mess, and her makeup is slightly smeared around her face – any woman who’s stayed up for 24 hours and found herselflooking back at a dry face full of flaking makeup in the mirror will relate. 

“There were all these moments where me and Billie would look back and go, ‘Oh my god, I love her hair in that moment’ because it’s the sort of hair that you never normally see on TV for a woman,” says Prebble.

“It’s clearly a mess in a certain way… It’s weird how you only notice the fakeness that you normally see on screen when you start making choices to do the opposite and you suddenly go, ‘Oh yeah, it’s never even occurred to me that I’ve never seen that sort of hair or skin, even if it’s like that in real life.”

Sky original series I Hate Suzie is coming to Sky Atlantic and Now TV on 27 August

Watch the trailer for I Hate Suzie

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Images: Sky Atlantic

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…