Cruella’s Costumes and Punk Influences Explained by an Oscar-Nominated Designer

Oscar-nominated Cruella hair and makeup artist Nadia Stacey explains the influences the punk scene played into Emma Stone’s looks.

The Oscar-nominated hair and makeup artist for CruelNadia Stacey, explains the influences that the London punk scene of the 1970s played into Emma Stone’s looks. Cruel follows the younger version of Estella and how she eventually transforms into Cruella de Vil, the legendary character in Dodie Smith’s 1956 novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians. Estella is a brilliant child, passionate about fashion and tempted by mischief.

Estella grew up in 1970s London with a single mother, and at the start of the film is an orphan due to a tragic accident for which she partly blames herself. After her mother’s death, Estella runs away and begins scamming the citizens of London with two friends, using her outfits, hair, and makeup as disguises to conceal her identity. She eventually finds herself working at Baroness von Hellman’s fashion house, where, as in her squeaky days, she dresses up as her alter ego Cruella for the first time at the Baroness’ black-and-white ball.


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Stacey recently spoke with THR, revealing that the punk scene of the 1970s in London influenced Stone’s iconic looks from the film. Cruella appears in several different looks throughout the film, from her red evening dress and feathered mask, to her tight-fitting leather jacket with slightly wavy hair and bangs, to her leather motocross jacket accompanied by her make-up reading “the future” on her face and voluminous hair. Not only are these looks meant to convey Cruella’s character arc, but they’re also a glimpse into her fashion sense from her influences growing up hardened as an orphan and surrounded by the punk scene as a youngster. daughter in London. Stacey notes that it was by thinking about what Estella listened to, read, and socially involved as a young girl that she began to build Cruella’s sense of style and character through her appearance.

It’s an origin story, so in the other versions, you’ve never met Estella before. So I started with Estella, to think about who she was. I thought of this young girl living in London in 1977. What is going on socially, what music does she listen to? What books does she read? You know, that kind of stuff. I always got into the character’s mind, and I felt she would have a pretty basic lipstick, kind of a girl’s eyeliner with a bit of mascara. With simple hair and makeup, it meant that when we started to find out who Cruella was, we just had that blank canvas to play on. And all of those moments where we first meet Cruella, a lot of them are big fashion moments where she’s gatecrashing and she wants to make an impact. So that meant there was no holding back on how big we could go. Nothing really felt off the table. I looked at all the references and tried to borrow things from everywhere to put them together, which was also very punk.

I think punk played a huge role in that. In 1977, it was a huge movement in London. I really think that played into the looks massively because punk is a mismatch between a lot of different looks. The overall essence and aesthetic of punk definitely played into the look because I was taking something like an 18th century wig but messing it up and putting it on a slight slant so it wasn’t the same thing. I think coming from The favourite it had given me the courage to do this because it was a period piece, but we also did stuff in The favourite it was not the correct period. We kind of blurred the lines. So I think I had the courage to do it before trying again. And I always wanted it to be kind of relatable. I wanted people to look at Estella’s looks and be inspired by them.


Stacey also notes that punk influenced her process by not being afraid, for example, to take an 18th century wig, manhandle it, then place it at a slight angle on Stone’s head. This borrowing from other time periods and modifying it enough to modernize embraces the “gap“the nature of punk Stacey had in mind when creating Stone’s hair and makeup. Likewise, Stacey details by looking at as many Cruella references as possible and borrowing partial elements from those looks to create a patchwork of old and new references in Cruella design. Although Stacey creates a character whose hair is instantly recognizable in several past iterations, she also notes that thinking of Cruella as someone who is still discovering her sense of style has allowed her to be inventive to create new looks that are as memorable as Cruella’s original image in the animated film.

Stacey reflecting on the character’s backstory and cultural influences in a period piece such as Cruella to create styles that elevate the character’s emotional arc is a testament to how the hair and makeup process has the potential to add rich detail to a film. Although bold hair and makeup choices can sometimes distract from an actor’s performance, in a film like Cruella that revolves around an up-and-coming fashion designer, there’s no room to make safe choices. Play with the length, volume, and texture of Cruella’s signature colored hair, as well as alter the prominence and harshness of Stone’s eye and lip makeup to fully coordinate with the costume, weather season, and stage of the movie. he story is an example of how small changes can make a big difference in the cohesion and impact of a look.

More: How to Recreate Cruella’s Most Iconic Looks

Source: THR

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