When Emily in Paris premiered last year on Netflix, it quickly became one of my favorite shows. Created by Darren Star of Sex and the City fame, it explores the same addictive themes of love, career and relationships, with the attractive leads swathed in jaw-dropping fashions (created by costuming genius Patricia Field) and visiting glamorous locations.
Season One was the classic fish-out-of-water story of Emily Cooper (played by Lily Collins) moving from Chicago to Paris, adjusting to French culture, navigating the pitfalls of a new workplace with an extremely haute-y boss, and falling in love with a handsome chef, Gabriel (Lucas Bravo), who turns out to be the boyfriend of one of her new friends, Camille (Camille Razat).
The season ended with the two finally giving in to their feelings and spending a passionate, forbidden night together.
In Season Two, Emily is more settled and seasoned in the City of Lights. She’s learning French and continues to impress clients at her marketing agency Savoir, but has to deal with the fallout from that night.
Can she ever make things right with Camille? Can she possibly get over Gabriel? And is she finally ready to find new love?
We sat down with Emily in Paris stars Lily Collins and Ashley Park, who plays Emily’s best friend, Chinese zipper heiress and singer Mindy Chen, for a two-on-one Zoom interview on Season Two. Here are excerpts:
THE PHILIPPINE STAR: Fashion plays a huge role in this show. In real life, which character’s wardrobe would you love to wear, or is closest to your own style?
LILY COLLINS: I’m gonna go with Camille. Yeah, actually, I think what’s closest to my own style these days is probably like Gabriel because of the T-shirt and jeans. (Laughs)
ASHLEY PARK: And the Birkenstocks?
LILY: Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Birkenstocks. And then maybe like Julien’s oversized suits, you know?
ASHLEY: You would put that with your sweatpants from the show?
LILY: Right. But definitely Camille’s. I love Camille’s.
How do each of you feel about your character’s arc this season?
LILY: I was very excited that Emily was immersing herself more in the French culture, learning the language and taking note of Parisian je-ne-sais-quoi style in her outfits and experiencing more throughout the city because of her coworkers and her friends, and just like feeling more comfortable and confident within the city, which therefore translates into kind of more centeredness and calmness within herself.
Everybody’s so fashionable on this show, to the extent that you question, would this even be acceptable in real life? Because it’s so colorful and there’s a lot of mixes and ideas and so creative, it’s like another world.
ASHLEY: We’re both super-psyched about our arcs this season, because Mindy really served as kind of a touchstone every episode first season, and so I feel very honored and grateful that the writers and Darren decided to intertwine her more into Emily’s daily life.
That really served as a way for both characters to open up, in a sense, and having new characters, romantic love interests and music
in different avenues, being part of it — it all serves as a way to open up Mindy’s more personal side and internal life, and I was really, really excited to explore that.
What was your favorite scene to film or fave day on set?
ASHLEY: Starting out in St. Tropez was really cool for us. We started filming there and so we got to be with our whole crew again for the first time, and it was just gorgeous, the Cap Ferrat hotel that we filmed in.
They hadn’t been open for a year and we were their first guests, and it’s just like the most gorgeous property, and we were in such shock that we were even filming season two and able to be together, but the fact that we were in this literal heavenly place was so surreal for us.
LILY: Yeah, we all were very happy to be reunited again with the technical French crew as well, and so it did feel a bit like coming home, but also this kind of summer-camp vacation.
How much of the show is actually shot on location?
LILY: Everything minus the inside of Savoir and maybe the inside of my apartment.
ASHLEY: Right. I really think most of it is locations. I know that from season one because I never went into Emily’s apartment except for the very end and I never went to the office. Everything we shot together in season one was on location.
Lily, tell me about the hammam scene (where Emily goes to a Turkish spa and all the other women are topless, including Camille). Was that awkward to film?
LILY: (Laughs) Honestly? It was so funny because part of it was like, oh, I’m going to spend the day at the spa, and then the other part was like, wait, um, how naked will I be? And they’re like, “Oh no, Emily is just very uncomfortable.” Okay, that’s great! So where do I look? And they’re like, “Oh, well, that’s also very much Emily’s character of not being sure.”
ASHLEY: It was so funny. When I first watched that scene I was like, dying laughing.
LILY: I was very impressed with everyone. First of all it was an incredibly respectful crew and cast, so everyone… again, I can’t speak for the other women, but it was a very comfortable situation in terms of what it was, but I was just very much like Emily, like, I’m just gonna look here, I’m just gonna talk to you guys here.
And I was meeting certain actresses for the first time! And you don’t want to be like, “You were great in that scene, you looked amazing.” It’s like, what?
ASHLEY: That’s why I love the writers so much, because they really found a way in season two to put the characters specifically — like putting Emily in that situation was so funny, and Lily did such an amazing job with that, it was so fun to watch.
LILY: My skin felt great by the end of the day, though, it was very hydrating. (Laughs)
On the love triangle between Emily, Gabriel and Camille
LUCAS BRAVO: The conflict in Season Two will be for Camille and Emily to see where their friendship is going, knowing that Gabriel is in the middle of all this, and there’s still feelings on Emily’s side, on Camille’s side.
So I feel it’s a bit of a little competition, because once there’s betrayal, you kind of see the dark side coming out of everyone. So it’s a bit competitive, feelings are hurt, and I think in season two, they’re just trying to proclaim what’s theirs.
Mostly Camille, but Emily just wants to make things okay because she doesn’t stay and she doesn’t want to leave the battlefield.
LILY: Emily has to make a very distinct separation between her personal life and her work life, and Camille is one of her closest friends in Paris. She’s also now technically a colleague and a client.
So work, like I’ve always said, is extremely important to Emily — she finds romanticism in her work, she loves it deeply. And that’s true from Chicago to Paris.
Gabriel is new, he’s exciting and fresh and romantic and fun, but she’s also a girl’s girl and she wants to stay true to who she is and not let a guy come in between that.
So a lot’s at risk for her with Gabriel, but she also has a big heart, so to what extent does she risk those things? And the season kind of allows that to play out.
On favorite locations in France
LILY: Oh, my God, there’s so many different places this season, which I keep saying to Darren, “You’re not saving anything for the next one if we get to go.” I found it to be magical to start in St. Tropez. I found it to be so incredible on the Seine in a Bateaux-Mouches, just staring at the Eiffel Tower and seeing all these museums pass by.
But I have to say when I found out we were shooting at Versailles, my response was, “Oh, great. So next season we’re going to the moon?” Because I thought, how are we doing that? And of course then my next thought was, so we’re sleeping over, right? Like we’re gonna get to, like, have sleeping bags in the Hall of Mirrors? But no, truly, there’s nothing more opulent and grand and special and wow than Versailles, especially for Emily.
We had the Opera House last year where she’s just surrounded by this incredible history and art — it feels very natural to then go to Versailles.
On locations she wishes she could shoot in
LILY: There are always little side streets and cobblestone streets that I wish could be in the show. But I love Store Merci, which I feel like Emily would do a really good job of marketing. Palais de Tokyo is always so incredible, whether or not there’s an exhibit going on or you’re just wandering around the building. It’s just so fascinating. And Monsieur Blue — I love that restaurant.
I would say Shakespeare and Company. I love bookshops, and the history of Shakespeare and Company is so wonderful and I feel so much a part of Paris itself. And it’d be really fun to go to the catacombs.
On Emily’s and Gabriel’s fashion styles
LILY: Emily is still Emily — Emily from Chicago who loves color, prints, styles, texture, shapes — all of the above. But I feel like she’s a little bit more settled in who she is here in Paris. There is an elevated, slightly Parisian flair about what she is wearing this season. We’ve incorporated more purples and violets, as well as these kinds of yellows and chartreuses — bold colors — nothing too overwhelming but very much just Emily.
I’m always surprised by what (costume designers Patricia Field and Marylin Fitoussi) show me and we have hours and hours of fittings and photos and sketches to go over, which is just my dream: walking into a massive closet filled every day. But we incorporated more boots this year.
There’s a practicality to some of her outfits, more cognizant of her day-to-night. So the shoes are a bit more practical; even if they are heels, they can transition from day to night and she can run around the city a little bit easier.
LUCAS: Everybody’s so fashionable on this show, to the extent that you question, would this even be acceptable in real life? Because it’s so colorful and there’s a lot of mixes and ideas and so creative, it’s like another world.
And Gabriel is kind of the only one that dresses like a normal human being, so to speak. Gabriel is working class; he just wants to be comfortable and functional. But he likes texture and he has an autumn palette: it’s a lot of burgundy and orange and greens, because he’s a very melancholic character.
Season Two of Emily in Paris premieres Dec. 22, Wednesday at 4 p.m. on Netflix in the Philippines. You can watch it at www.netflix.com/EmilyInParis .