The Dress by Jenny Beavan, Cruella Costume Design

This story is about “Cruella” first appeared in the Below-the-Line Issue of ’s awards magazine.

You’d imagine that for a costume designer, a film like “Cruella,” Disney’s unexpectedly hip standalone film built around the immortal villain from their 1961 animated classic “One Hundred and One Dalmatians,”This would be a wonderful dream come true. After all, the film follows young Estella (Emma Stone), who careens through 1970s London as a fashion designer/provocateur known as Cruella as she seeks revenge for her mother’s tragic death years earlier. It’s the rare film where clothes take center stage and also serve a narrative purpose.

For Jenny Beavan, a two-time Oscar-winning Costume Designer Jenny Beavan“Mad Max: Fury Road”), the prospect of designing for Cruella was, she said, “totally daunting.” “Fashion in any form is not really my thing, so I was very much out of my comfort zone,”Beavan said that he has previously played in the live-action Disney Sandbox. “Christopher Robin”And “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.” “But the script was intriguing and I am a storyteller, so I just had to adjust my thinking to include 1970’s fashion, which I remember.”

Of course, this new film is part of a continuum of amazing on-screen Cruella de Vils, and Beavan made sure to tip her hat—but not to the Cruella you’d expect. Beavan was not thinking about the 1961 film. Instead, she was thinking about the John Hughes-scripted, live-action version from 1996 with costumes by Anthony Powell. “I absolutely loved Anthony Powell, who I knew well, so I was conscious of the possible comparisons,”She said. “But our story was so different and an origin story so I felt safe in doing something new.”

CRUELLA Costume Designers

If there’s one standout look from a film positively bursting with them, it’s when Estella, incognito in her Cruella persona, crashes a ball that is being thrown by the evil Baroness (Emma Thompson). She arrives wearing a white jacket, which she sets on fire and exposes her vibrant, blood-red underneath. “The description of Estella finding the dress in a vintage store and what she does with it is in the script,” Beavan said. “Also, the lighting of the cape and the reveal of the red dress, I wanted to make it somehow possible. I don’t like cheating an audience.”She thought about sewing. “fire wire”In the fabric “so theoretically it was almost possible to actually burn off the cape,”Even though Disney lawyers may have levitated at the thought of that, she stated.

In the end, the visual effects artists did their finest work—and when Beavan saw the sequence, she was blown away. “We shot the sequence quite far into the schedule so I had lived with the ideas and creation of that dress for so long, I don’t think I could have imagined another way to see it!” Beavan said. Beaven, though initially intimidated by the idea, created looks that lived up the legacy of Cruella. She is a true fashion icon, whose influence transcends all media.

Read more from the Below-the-Line Issue here.

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