The extravagant clothes of Cruella de Vil stars Emma Stone and Emma Thompson frequently steal the show.
To transform Emma Stone into Cruella de Vil, costume designer Jenny Beavan created colourful gowns that require more from the actress than just getting dressed.
At a recent Zoom news conference, Stone stated of the Cruella costumes, “They had such structure,”
This origin story of the 101 Dalmatians villain shows that Cruella was born Estella. Stone is the second live-action Cruella de Vil. Glenn Close played her in a live-action 101 Dalmatians remake in 1996 and in its 2000 sequel 102 Dalmatians.
In Cruella, Estella tries to make it in the fashion world of 1970s London, but can’t get very far working for fashion mogul The Baroness (Emma Thompson).
Estella creates the Cruella persona and shows up at The Baroness’ galas in Cruella attire to steal publicity.
Stone, 32, said a Cruella outfit that appeared to be made out of garbage was one of her favorites. In one scene, a garbage truck arrives at the entrance to one of The Baroness’ parties, and Cruella emerges from underneath the garbage in what appears to be refuse, but actually is an elaborate dress. As the truck pulls away, it unravels even more fabric.
“There was a 40-foot train,” Stone said. “That wasn’t attached to the dress, because obviously, I wouldn’t be able to move anywhere.”
Another Cruella design, courtesy of Beavan, features a skirt that envelops an entire automobile.
“Trying to walk up onto a car and then cover an entire car with a switch of the skirt was just fantastic,” Stone said.
As The Baroness, Thompson said she struggled with her costumes, too. The Baroness wears more traditional high-fashion couture, but Thompson said she still felt beholden to Beavan’s designs.
“They wore me, actually,” Thompson said.
The 62-year-old Thompson said The Baroness’ wardrobe was as elaborate underneath as it appeared from the outside.
“My underwear was like a sort of ship’s rigging,” Thompson said. “Peeing was hard and involved a team of people.”
Thompson said The Baroness’ wardrobe included corsets that changed the shape of her body, adding that she felt like a tube of toothpaste squeezed into shape.
“It’s not fantastically comfortable at the center of the toothpaste tube,” Thompson said. “Bits of me would squish out of the top of the costume.”
The Baroness also wore high heels and elaborate wigs. Thompson said she had to learn to accommodate her extra height. Plus, most costumes were wider than the doorways.
“I used to have to move in and out of spaces sideways,” Thompson said.
While The Baroness innovates fictitious fashions, Thompson recognized the fashions surrounding her. She said she remembered what she wore growing up in London in the ’70s.
“I think some of the supporting artists were in my old gear,” Thompson said. “We were all in afghan coats, clogs, smocks, cheesecloth, maxi skirts and wet-look boots.”
The Baroness has three Dalmatians that foreshadow Cruella’s future hatred of the canines. However, it is The Baroness’ suppression of Estella’s ideas that drives Estella to create the Cruella persona.
As Cruella, Estella tops everything The Baroness does. Stone said that as Cruella, Estella also loses inhibitions that held her back.
“She’s in full acceptance and autonomy [as Cruella],” Stone said.
As Estella/Cruella’s nemesis, Thompson said it might have been possible for The Baroness and Cruella to coexist. That The Baroness wouldn’t consider it should be a cautionary tale, Thompson said.
“She appears and presents as this very strong personality, but in fact, of course, she’s very weak,” Thompson said. “She can’t acknowledge talent in any other person.”
Cruella is in theaters and on Disney+ with Premiere Access on Friday.