How Cruella’s costume designer turned Emma Stone into an incredibly stylish supervillain
How was Emma Stone as a collaborator?
“I had spoken to her and emailed her before we met, and she seemed very receptive to what I brought and open to anything. She loved to put on clothes and pose. We did everything in his kitchen. I think it was about six hours of fitting. I had one before it came to UK [to shoot] and it was useful because we found the basis for the whole Cruella look. I don’t think we used one piece [from the vintage pieces pulled] but we knew where we were going.
What are the things that you kept coming back to when creating the Cruella aesthetic?
“Cruella’s colors were clear: black and white with a bit of gray, plus red for signature moments. [Emma Thompson’s character] Baroness von Hellman had a lot of brown and gold.
We see one of those defining moments in the trailer, when Cruella lights a white cape on fire to reveal a red ball gown underneath. How did this look come together?
“It was in the script and I wanted to see if it was possible. There are threads of fire and fabrics that will catch fire without killing an actor, but ours was a visual effect. The dress underneath is made from one of the Baroness’ old dresses and that is part of the story. Cruella sees her in a vintage store and the next time you see her she’s made this amazing dress that’s been deconstructed and rebuilt. It was inspired by Charles James’ “Tree” dress. Genius costume designer Ian Wallace decided this was the way to go. It was all a bit far-fetched, but you could pretty much believe that there was enough fabric in the original dress to make this new dress. We also designed the original dress and made sure it had a stole so that there was enough fabric.
Another sight is the look of Cruella as she stands on top of a car wearing a long pink skirt and jacket with miniature horses and carriages on her shoulders. How did you create this?
“This jacket was a work of art. I found a nice jacket that could have worked, but we decided to do it again. Then, the whole point of the ruffled skirt was that it had to enclose the baroness’s carriage. It had to be huge and light enough that she could carry it, but also heavy enough that you could rotate it. [the car]. It was a real challenge because at the beginning it was just way too heavy. Ultimately, it was made by Kirsten Fletcher, who is an amazing costume designer, and I had a lot of students hand-stitching petals in my studio. Apparently there were 5,060 petals in total. “
Baroness von Hellman’s look is so different from Cruella’s. What inspired him?
“It’s quite influenced by Dior and she’s a bit dated – a bit more of the 1950s and 1960s. She’s a good designer, even though she’s past her sell-by date, so Cruella can come in with this new approach. most fun of fashion. We felt that the Baroness had a real sense of style and this reflected in her work. I worked with a fabulous costume designer, Jane Law, who has a workroom in Worthing, on the south coast of England. I used to go there with a car completely stuffed with fabric, throw everything on its floor and then we would leave with our mannequin stand, draping and brainstorming ideas. Then we would meet Emma [Thompson] and ask him to try everything.
What was your favorite costume from the movie?
“There is a little chihuahua who has a rat costume. I think that must be it!
Cruella will be in theaters and on Disney + from May 28, 2021