Emma Stone as Cruella
Image: Entertainment Weekly

The Inspiration Behind The Fashion From Cruella Movie

Have you been obsessing over the fashion in the new Disney film Cruella? Well us too! In this origin story, we got to witness Cruella establish her mark on the fashion world. Cruella played by Emma Stone takes the fashion world by storm as she competes with the Baroness played by Emma Thompson. In the film, we see this change from the classic norm within fashion to a new rebellious style. Cruella’s outfits reference many punk influences like designer Vivienne Westward and punk band the Sex Pistols. Overall, the costumes were designed by English Academy Award Winning costume designer Jenny Beavan. Do you want to know what inspired Beavan and her team to create Cruella’s iconic fashion moments? If yes, then you should carry on reading below.

The Flame Dress

Informative Image of Emma Stone in Cruella demonstrating an iconic fashion moment.
Informative Image of Emma Stone in Cruella demonstrating an iconic fashion moment.
Informative Image of Charles James 1955 Red Gown
Charles James 1955 Red Gown from his Tree Creation
Informative Image of Alexander McQueen 1998 Finale
Alexander McQueen A/W 1998 Ready To Wear Show Finale

Firstly, we have Cruella’s iconic flame dress that we all got a glimpse of in the Disney trailer. Cruella strolls into the Baroness’s famous black and white party in a floor-length silk white cape, only to set it alight to reveal this beautiful red gown. Honestly, wouldn’t you turn up to a monochromatic event in red? Beavan explains that this particular dress was inspired by Charles James 1955’s red version of the Tree Creation. What is interesting about James as a designer was that he was known to be detailed orientated and neurotic. Similar to Cruella herself.

In addition, Cruella has actually taken one of the Baroness’s old dresses that she found in her friend Artie’s vintage shop. Cruella proudly declares to her competitor that she “fixed it.” Implying that Cruella is here to deconstruct fashion and rebuild it into something better than what the Baroness could ever produce.

Also, you may be interested to know that this scene reference Alexander McQueen. The crimson colour and the mermaid style, that resembles fire, echos McQueen’s. Furthermore, Cruella setting alight her cape take a nod to McQueen’s finale at the 1998 ready to wear show. McQueen had a model, who was dressed in red fringe outfit with a read face covering, stand in a circle of fire.

The Motocycle Look

Informative Image of Emma Stone in Cruella demonstrating an iconic fashion moment.

Next, we have to talk about the motorcycle look. Here, Cruella would have even made Lady Gaga jealous of her entrance. This traffic stopping look gives off a moment where biker chick meets fashion. Cruella wears a leather jacket where the material has been made to look like tire marks have been imprinted into the fabric to make it look like the jacket is actually made out of tires. This jacket is definitely a reference to Thierry Mugler’s design for the 1997 Les Insects Collection. Also, Cruella pairs this jacket with sequin-encrusted pants which is the Baroness’s signature colour. It’s the perfect way for Cruella to get her message across to the Baroness in the loudest way possible.

Furthermore, in this scene, you know that Cruella is the future of fashion before we see the words painted on her face. Beavan explains that this was inspired by British punk the Sex Pistols but sharing the same font that was used for their album cover ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’. The Sex Pistols were the embodiment of destroying the society norm and were made famous for the controversial song ‘God Save The Queen’. Therefore, it could be suggested that Cruella is here to over throw the Baroness, the fashion queen.

Informative Image of Thierry Mugler's 1997 Haute Couture
Thierry Mugler’s Les Insects Collection Haute Couture S/S 1997
Informative Image of the Sex Pistols
Sex Pistols’ album cover

The Garbage Truck Dress

Informative Image of Emma Stone in Cruella demonstrating an iconic fashion moment.
Informative Image of Emma Stone in Cruella demonstrating an iconic fashion moment.
Informative Image of Vivienne Westwood Watteau Evening Dress
Vivienne Westwood Watteau Evening Dress 1996
Informative Image of John Galliano's Dior Haute Couture Show
John Galliano’s Designs for Dior’s Haute Couture F/W 2005/06

Thirdly, we have to talk about the garbage dress. You wouldn’t be blamed at all if the amazingly camp garbage dress was your favourite. This look was definitely a show stopper in the film. Yet, the real element of surprise when Cruella stumbles out of the the rubbish truck and then stands to reveal this beautiful gown. The asymmetrical and deconstructive style and revealing bodice takes a nod to vintage Vivienne Westward designs. Beavan was again hinting to the British punk culture of the 70’s.

However, you may have also spotted that there are also references to John Galliano as well. For the F/W 2005/6, Galliano’s created a collection of half done dresses where the bodice and underskirts were visible. Moreover, the inclusion of deconstructed newspapers also references Galliano’s, who was famous for his newspaper garments in the 2000 ready to wear Dior show.

The Petal Dress

Informative Image of Emma Stone in Cruella demonstrating an iconic fashion moment.

This next Cruella look was definitely a show stopper. After being locked in a car by her adversary, Cruella climbs out of the roof and stands on her competitors car in this beautifully over the top gown. We watch Cruella literally stand above everyone else in this vintage embellished military jacket and red, black and purple organza skirt.

Beavan has explained that this outfit in particular caused a lot of trouble for her and her team. They wanted this skirt to be as big as possible to add the the drama and tension that was growing between Cruella and the Baroness. However, this meant that the skirt would be too heavy for Stone to move with ease like Beavan wanted. An army of students at England’s Shepperton Studios and pattern cutter Kristen Fletcher and sew each flower to the skirt to fix this problem. You may be surprised to know that there are 50-60 hand-sewn flowers in total. Then, there is the military jacket that defiantly embodies the looks from Dior haute couture show in 2000.

Informative Image Alexander McQueen 'Voss' show
Alexander McQueen ‘Voss’ S/S 2001
Informative Image of Dior Fall Haute Couture Show 2000
Dior Fall Haute Couture Show 2000

The Dog Coat

Informative Image of Emma Stone in Cruella demonstrating an iconic fashion moment.
Informative Image of a 1950 Dior coat
1950’s Dior Coat

Finally, we have the spotted coat. The Cruella film would not be complete without a reference to a black and white spotty coat. In particular, this scene is the defining moment for the titled character. Cruella walks for her very own fashion show in front the Baroness and solidifies her presence in the fashion world.

This black-and-white, broad-collared fur coat resembles a similar silhouette of that of vintage Dior. However, the buckle detail in the front and the asymmetrical style of the skirt again shows an influence of Vivienne Westwood. We can only gather that Beavan here was demonstrating that Cruella is here to break down the old to make way for the new.

Also, you will also be happy to know that no animals were harmed in the making of the film.

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