Tyranny of Style recently spoke to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. costume designer Ann Foley. They discussed what was involved in designing for each of the characters including Agent Coulson.

Ann Foley: I watched all of the Marvel films again before I started the pilot with special attention paid to Marvel’s The Avengers since the pilot takes place after the events in New York. In the previous films Coulson has always been a “company man”. His suits were in the S.H.I.E.L.D. palate – grey, black and navy with a distinct but subtle pattern. The idea was to blend in and not draw attention. Now that Coulson is back after being “killed” by Loki, we are seeing a subtle change in his wardrobe. I streamlined the suits, custom made the shirts at Anto so they fit beautifully, and his ties are a bit more slick. It’s Coulson 2.0! The inspiration I drew from for him was Daniel Craig from the Bond films. One of my favorite images from Skyfall is Bond landing in the train from the roof after an explosion & straightening his cuffs! Whether Coulson is landing on the beach in Malta or escaping from a Siberian stronghold, he’s wearing his suit. His suit is his armor!

Foley also discussed some of the guest characters including “The Girl in the Flower Dress” Raina.

AF: Raina is definitely one of my favorite characters! Fortunately the writers gave me a heads up about this character so we had some time to flesh her out with illustrations and time to print the fabric. When we first meet her in episode 5 on the street in Hong Kong we don’t know what her intentions are – is she good or bad? So we used a softer silhouette for the first dress & the floral pattern was white with black flowers. Next time we see her, it’s becoming clear that she has an agenda so the dress is more streamlined and we flipped the colors – black background white flowers.

The final time we see her visiting Po in prison she is in a sleek Balenciaga inspired dress – red background, black flowers. The final touch is a black onyx carved rose at her neck designed by Karen Karch. Ruth and I wanted to show a progression in her dresses that reflects where her character might be going. So by the time you see her again in Ep 10 you know she means business! Her Blue/Black dress with the leather collar & cuffs is easily one of my favorite costumes on the show! Although Mike’s “Suit” from the same episode runs a close second!

For the full interview head over to


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