The costume designer of Cruella on the dress of Emma Stone
There are many reasons to watch Cruel, the live-action movie starring Emma Stone as the main character and adapted from Dodie Smith’s novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians and disney 101 Dalmatians franchise. Mainly the glitzy and fabulous costumes.
Set in 1970s London during the punk rock era, the story centers on the story of Estella, an orphan and aspiring fashion designer who, with the help of her scam buddies, Jasper (Joel Fry) and Horace (Paul Walter Hauser), landed a job at the posh department store Liberty London and was eventually hired by Baroness von Hellman (Emma Thompson). Dress hijinks ensue, including a guerrilla fashion show and a haute couture dress made entirely of moths, on her journey to becoming the full-fledged, Dalmatian-wielding villain Cruella de Vil.
POPSUGAR spoke to Cruel Oscar and Tony Award winning costume designer Jenny Beavan whose previous credits include A room with a view and Mad Max: Fury Road, on what it was like to outfit the cast of the Colossal Fashion movie.
POPSUGAR: Cruella is such a fashion focused movie. Where did you even start?
Jenny Beavan: The way I start it all – with utter dread, obviously, because it was so huge. [laughs] I had real doubts as to whether I should take [the movie] on, but I decided to go. In any form of costume design, you start with the script and the director’s vision, and then make really boring lists of each character and what they need. At the same time, I researched and used my own memory, because I was very present in the 70s. I started my career as a stage designer by doing sets rather than costumes. Then, I set up moodboards.
PS: what did the moodboards look like? Where did you get your inspiration from?
JB: They had a lot to do with the characters. I also do the crowds, because that gives me the background where the character is going to come from. I’ll make a board of dogs that look like their owners, 18th century bulls, black and white bulls, people from the streets of London, fashion houses. Then I would get into the real characters and start thinking about [Cruella’s] mother, the baroness. . . it’s a whole world that I inhabit.
PS: Fashion houses in particular?
JB: BodyMap, Vivienne Westwood – all that sort of Sex Pistols and King’s Road vibe. I’ve always been a bit of an underdog – I wasn’t interested in all that funky fashion, but I remember all the feeling from that time. Dior also had a great influence for the Baroness. I have gone through a lot of old problems of Vogue from the 60s and 70s.
PS: Where did you buy the costumes?
JB: We basically collected everything we could find from the time. There are a lot of vintage costume shops and markets and houses in England and Los Angeles, and I would actually go and loot them. A lot of ideas came from Portobello; there is also an amazing vintage market in New York called A Current Affair. With all this collection of stuff, we then went to meet Emma. At that point, I had also been thinking about how I was going to use some of it, but some of it was purely speculative. It was more about getting a feel for her and what would look good on her – what might be the very first pieces, what might sound more sophisticated, what might work for the most important moments.