USA TODAY US Edition
Wardrobe rules the day on ‘Cruella’
After years of owning red carpets, Emma Stone can rock any look – even one of complete trash.
Stone plays Disney villainess Cruella de Vil as a young British fashion designer in the new 1970s-era prequel “Cruella” (in theaters and streaming on Disney+ Premier Access). A genius when it comes to fabric, Cruella gets creative when waging war against her idol/boss, British couture legend Baroness von Hellman (Emma Thompson), and in one very public stunt, the protagonist shows up her foe with a dress sprinkled with garbage and sporting a 40-foot train composed of the baroness’ old gowns.
“That was an amazing costume. That train was so, so long and it was such a process. It took like 10 people to attach it
to me,” Stone tells USA TODAY. “It’s also just so much fun to be dumped out of a garbage truck, so to speak, and to pop up and go, ‘I’m here .’”
Oscar-winning costume designer Jenny Beavan pretty much put everything but the kitchen sink on Stone. Cruella interrupts one of the baroness’s appearances wearing glittering pants and a leather jacket with tire treads for shoulders, and in another sequence, she wears a military-inspired getup while standing on the baroness’s car with a huge train that envelops the vehicle. All in all, Stone had 47 costume changes in the film while Thompson had 33.
“I wore things that I loved so much in that movie, and I wore them for half a day and they’re on screen for five seconds flat,” Thompson says. Then there’s the Marie Antoinette-inspired outfit the baroness wears at the beginning of “Cruella” that “was basically made out of netting and a lot of the time (filming) was outside. It was freezing and that dress nearly killed me.
“I mean, I’m surprised I didn’t get pneumonia. The only thing keeping me warm was the fact that most of my innards were on fire because of the corset. That created its kind of own internal combustion engine and I think that’s the only thing that kept me alive.”
Stone also had a love/hate relationship with her wardrobe: She adored the black coat she wears in the last scene of the film but wasn’t as keen on the bloodred dress Cruella wears when crashing the baroness’s Black and White Ball.
“The thing that got harder for me, and this is just the case with any scene that’s very long, you have to wear the costume for many, many days,” Stone explains. “So that red dress I wore for the most amount of time, it was very tight in the knees and you really couldn’t (move well). I went outside and I got it all wet on the bottom. I messed it up and I was in trouble and then it’s hard to get out of. Even though it was gorgeous, I just had to wear it for a solid week. And so by the end, I was like, ‘Ugh.’ ”
Director Craig Gillespie felt her pain. The fashion and keeping all the outfits straight was “the most stressful and time-consuming part of the production, on so many levels,” he says.
He had never even been to a fashion show, much less filmed several catwalks for a movie. One of his key guiding lights was the 2018 documentary “McQueen” because the late Alexander McQueen’s “rebellious nature” felt appropriate when crafting what a Cruella de Vil show would look like. “Looking at his work, there was this very punk way (he did his shows) which lent itself to maybe not being classically fashioned.”
Gillespie acknowledges he pushed filming all the fashion shows till the last week, “just to get time for Jenny to get it all figured out . ... I think there’s five galas with 400 outfits. There was a couple of times where I saw an outfit for the first time on the day. It’d be like, ‘Well, it looks great!’ ”