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If you know you know, I have said it over and over (if you follow me on Instagram that is) that when I do not have anything to watch I fall for Cruella so whilst on my last re-watch night I realised I keep coming back to the movie because I am in love with the fashion side of the movie and so I thought it would only be fitting to discuss the fashion/wardrobe side and make my top 10+1!!!
So let’s break it down, so movie is set during the 1970s, and follows Estella – a misfit little girl who is orphaned as a child. With no family to look after her, Estella forms a bond with two pickpockets, and together the trio steal wallets from unsuspecting Londoners in order to get by.
But as Estella grows older, it becomes apparent that pickpocketing is not the life she wishes to lead – she longs to become a top fashion designer instead. And sure enough, she soon gets her wish granted when she lands a job with The Baroness – London’s leading fashionista. Although she initially respects The Baroness, and works hard to please her, Estella quickly realises that her boss is a heartless woman. Worst of all, The Baroness was responsible for Estella becoming an orphan – a revelation that is simply unforgivable.
Keen to extract her revenge, Estella adopts the persona of Cruella – a show-stopping socialite, with the power to out shine The Baroness at every opportunity. And outshine her she does, but soon Cruella finds herself locked in battle with her foe, while going on a journey of self-discovery that reveals key details about her childhood.
BIO ON THE COSTUME DESIGNER
Cruella is dressed by the two-time Academy Award–winner for costume designer extraordinaire Jenny Beavan to bring Estella and the Baroness’ fashion faceoff to life, a feat the two-time Oscar-winning costume designer achieved with 47 costume changes for Cruella and 33 costume changes for the Baroness — the largest project Beavan has worked on to date.
Ms. Beavan puts forth one the most artistic, beautiful, and accomplished costuming works of this century so far, bursting with numerous instantly iconic dress reveals, scene-stealing frocks, and impeccable tailoring at every turn. Ms. Beavan rises to the challenge with immense insight and epic imagination, bringing the period to life daringly with inspired visual to the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Alexander McQueen, David Bowie, and even Marie Antoinette.
So no let’s get down to the list, here is a collection of Cruella’s best looks which definately deserve the spotlight.
the Work Clothes
As she shadows the Baroness through scenes straight out of do I dare stay De Vil Wears Prada, Estella puts her Vivienne Westwood silhouettes front and center, favoring mostly blacks and greys (ADORE!!!), both skirts and trousers. These clothes also illustrate her fashion journey, as Estella becomes more minimalist and streamlined in time while still boasting her alternative style. The first ensembles that she sports that hit the mark for me was the grey patterned shirt and black skirt combo, the latter has a high waistband, oversize buttons (a dream), and plenty of drapey, voluminous flare over combat boots and striped tights (LOVE).
The Flame Dress
If you recall one fashion moment from Cruella, allow me to bet on this one is definately the inconspicuously stroll into the Baroness’s famed Black and White ball in a floor-length white cape only to set it ablaze and reveal a sculpted red gown veiled underneath it (VISUALS ON POINT). I mean at that point who cares about the monochrome dress code, really!!! As she introduces herself to the public for the first time, Cruella simply looks stunning in the amazing crimson number with echoes of Alexander McQueen and a mermaid tail that visual like a cluster of flames!!! And that is not the best part!!! Cruella gives us her own take on an old Baroness dress from 1965, a peplum gown with a sweetheart neckline she discovers at her fashion-loving pal Artie’s vintage shop somewhere around Portobello!!! “I fixed it,” she proudly says to her competitor. “I’d like to make an impact.”
The Leather Skirt-Suit
This is just WOW … it was the first time we see Estella the morning after she makes her dramatic debut at the Black and White ball, she is a vision of comeback in a glossy two-piece leather ensemble featuring a stunning geometrically eye-popping checkered ensemble including a fitted jacket with puffy statement shoulders and a sleek A-line skirt, complete with tulle-accented gloves and high-heeled booties (DEAD). It’s THE outfit that unmistakably gives me merger vibes, from Estella’s former thrifty DIY punk aesthetic with Cruella’s glam-goth extremity! This is when Estella truly steps over to the dark side, deciding to become one with her alter ego … and who could possibly dare to question her authority when she stomps out with that intimidating cane?
the Motorcycle Look
Haha this scene gave me all the glam entrace vibes, when Cruella upstages the outmoded Baroness on the red carpet with this bedazzled jumpsuit look — a pair of dazzling, sequin-encrusted pants topped with a square-shouldered leather jacket that shockingly looks like it was made out of tires and it left a mark on one of those unforgettable instances, delivering Cruella’s message to the public in the loudest way possible.
THE Garbage Truck Dress
This is very close to being quite possible my personal favorite Cruella look!!! It’s hard to recall a recent costuming-defined moment in contemporary film that explodes with this level of shock and surprise. When the notorious firebrand arrives at yet another exclusive Baroness-hosted event surrounded by the press and elite attendees, Cruella does so in a garbage truck. Before we know it, seemingly unrelated, pastel-toned pieces of fabric spill out of its rear, with Cruella emerging out of the clutter in a meticulously boned and fitted strapless bodice adorned by newspaper clippings about herself. PURE EXTATIC MOMENT!!
As the truck crawls forward, gaining speed with the showstopper dangling at the back, it reveals the 40-foot-long train of her gown, reportedly a patchwork made up of dresses that belonged to one of the Baroness’s old, outdated collections. The windswept dress flaps and flies, capping off the movie’s most sublime costume-design moment that screams, “One woman’s trash is another’s treasure.”
THE Petal Dress
Not exactly subtly, Cruella towers over the Baroness in yet another guerilla-style red-carpet stunt. After locking her adversary in her car, she climbs on top of it in her combat boots, rocking a vintage jacket gilded with pins, chains, rosettes, and epaulets and an absolutely massive, swoon-worthy organza skirt of reds, blacks, and purples sais to be made of over 5,000 hand-sewn flowers. Well, 5,060 to be exact (I researched it)! This whole larger-than-life look is a bit like Dior Couture by John Galliano but dialed up to the extreme, rebellious punk sensibility. It’s truly a scene to behold when Cruella drapes her intimidating train over the car windows, presenting the nosy paparazzi their money shot with a runway-worthy pose.
the Butterfly Dress
Okay, it is perhaps a cheat to include this ultrastructured and gold-crusted look in a list of styles dedicated solely to Cruella. But while it’s not something that she wears herself, she single-handedly designed it all the same as the signature spring collection look of the Baroness label, which her boss predictably plans to take all the credit for. But wait … what are all those glimmering beads stitched all over this glorious strapless, almost architectural gown, which is a little like Dior, with a side Estella’s touch? The reveal arrives soon enough when the statuesque dress unleashes hundreds of its wings into the halls of the fashion house and self-destructs, just the way Cruella has planned it (AN ABSOLUTE WOW FACTOR MOMENT).
The Dog Coat
No Cruella (as we know it) could be complete without the idea of that spotty, much-dreaded yet character-defining outerwear. So, when Stone’s deranged designer takes the stage at her very own glam catwalk wearing one black-and-white, broad-collared fur coat with front buckles and a full, fabulously asymmetrical skirt were she leads the Baroness to believe that she slaughtered her much treasured Dalmatians in revenge but please rest assured: No animals were harmed in or during the making of this movie. And the coat is simply magnificent.
the Charity Gala Frock
During the film’s final-act Cruella descends a grand staircase in a slick, V-neck, floor-length black gown and a chain-accented, square-shouldered cape, with her two-toned hair gathered in a neatly swept, puffy do that elevates her iniquitous look. She is at the conclusive gala in the movie, surrounded by guests all clad in a near-identical frock that they have been supplied by the villainess prior to the event. The purposely geometric, military-esque uniformity of this scene designed to generate chaos and confusion is frankly jaw-dropping.
the Estella Is Dead. Long Live Cruella!
The final look comes with a domineering cape with a perfect neck appliqué, an impossibly sharp black suit, high heels, and a spiky attitude. There isn’t all that much to say about Cruella’s parting look other than “Make way for the new lady of the house!” She’s clearly meant it when she said to the Baroness, “I’ve come to evict you.”
As you can see I could not really choose and list ran long … I loved all the looks that I shared here and could not leave one out!!
So have you seen Cruella yet? If yes then please share with me your your favourite outfit? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time,