We’re giving an account of young Estella’s journey that led to her becoming the iconic Cruella de Vil, and we’re doing it with the outfits seen throughout the film

Written by: Riddhima Dave – June 7th, 2021  11:24 am pst

Cruella, Disney’s latest live-action adaptation came to screens last Friday. The long-anticipated adaptation of the 1961 classic One Hundred and One Dalmatians, is a tale of the famed villain and her beginnings. Emma Stone portrays a young Estella in the story of how she became the iconic Cruella de Vil we all know and fear.

A lot of her story and character, however, can be owed to the costume designers of the film. The aspirational Estella soon transitions to the dangerous Cruella, and this is starkly marked throughout the clothes she wears.

*Minor Spoilers Ahead*

The Early Estella Numbers

Young Estella is a starry-eyed, red dyed pick-pocketeer. Her outfits from this time are trendy and fresh, but do not have the drama Cruella brings to the screen. Nevertheless, Estella serves some amazing looks.

The disguises:

She wears clothes that look expensive as part of elaborate con schemes. The faux leopard fur and metallic print matching sets are peak elite London fashion, but they have a distinct sense of originality. For the leopard print, the fur vest is a refreshing addition that sticks to the trends of the time but also shows Estella has some ideas worth exploring. The metallic look is also traditional but the puffed shoulders add a little something to the designs. Here, Estella is simply trying to get by, while holding dreams of becoming a designer.

The classic 70s grunge with the berets:

Estella is stylish but she is also a young woman in the 70’s. The beret outfits are a very fashionable take on a rocker-chic look. Unlike distressed hems and fringes and other types of more typical rock-grunge, hers is more sophisticated and fitted. This was during the time Estella was still struggling and trying to make a living. The beret on top completes the look and also reminds us of her blue collar beginnings.The red hair and beret also look absolutely fantastic on Stone.

The Fire Look

Raging through all the trailers, this is the look everyone was waiting for during the movie. The dress in the movie is designed by Cruella/Estella’s nemesis, the Baroness, who Estella also works for. Cruella provides her own touches to it and appears wearing it at the Baroness’ Black and White gala. She is still conservative here and does not go full-blown rival yet. It creates a sense of mischief rather than danger. Cruella is just there to briefly distract the Baroness, she still has no intentions of waging a war. Even so, she makes a magnificent distraction by looking better than the Baroness and the little trick she did with the fire stick. The look begins with a hood which gives us an idea that something is about to be unravelled- in this case, the titular character’s identity. It must be noted that she wore red at a Black and White gala. The dramatic gothic makeup also makes its debut here and this is where Estella dyes her hair back to her original black and white. All these little touches set her apart. This is in contrast with her earlier attempts to create subtle changes in existing trends. Her style is getting there, but still not completely outside the box.

The Revenge Leather

As soon as Cruella cements her animosity with the Baroness, we see her slipping into her dark side. This look is edgy and sexy all at once. There are touches of Estella still especially the makeup, but the revenge look solidifies Cruella’s presence onscreen, hence making her the character’s more dominant identity. The square texture arms and fitting bodice make for a comeplling yet highly experimental look. The long skirt and the stick are powerful accessories that complete the look and make the character an instant attention grabber.

The Sabotage Outfits

These might just be the most entertaining and creative of all the outfits. By now, Cruella has declared a symbolic fashion war on the Baroness. It is important to note that all of the outfits were set in a specific scene in order to replace the Baroness and crown Cruella as the new queen of fashion. Let’s break them down look wise!

The Future:

Cruella is still trying to mask her identity since she works as Estella and cleverly does it by imprinting “the future” on her face. The eye makeup has become a little more dramatic here. The leather still remains edgy and pairing it up with sequin is yet another bold, but ultimately well-accepted choice.

The Queen in Red: 

This might just be the most magnificent costume design in the whole movie and also the most memorable one. The ruffles are very Oscar de la Renta and the upper half of her outfit places her as the Queen. This half-regal, half-punk chic look makes her a complete sensation and the new queen of fashion. Here, Cruella stands atop the Baroness’ car and covers her with the ruffles of her skirt. She quite literally, steps over the Baroness.

The Newspaper Garbage Look:

Cruella is enjoying the media frenzy behind her, and in an innovative moment, uses a garbage chute to unravel a newspaper dress. This one also has ruffles like the previous but the train is much larger and she makes her exit standing by the rails of a garbage truck as her long trains glides away. Cruella understands her influence, the lauders of her creativity and she is basking in this newfound success. She is also declaring this success to the Baroness.

The Dalmatian Look:

The infamous Dalmatian look! Don’t worry, she later confirms that it is faux as we see the Dalmatians alive and well. This is one of the final in a sequence of disrupting and upstaging the baroness. The impromptu fashion show culminating with the Dalmatian coated Cruella completely takes over the fashion scene with a screaming audience and gasping media.

The Final Look:

Estella is gone and her transition to Cruella de Vil is complete. She is now a rich, influential and dangerous woman as can be seen from this final outfit. The dramatic eye makeup stays and her cape gives her a regal albeit sinister look. Though we know what happens years later, from the original movie, Cruella is still not quite at that level of evil yet. All we know now is she is powerful and here to stay. And yes, she has her famous car by now too.

About The Author:

Riddhima Dave is a senior journalism student at Emerson College. Originally hailing from Mumbai India, she has previously worked at Harper’s Bazaar India and wants to build a career in multimedia journalism. Along with entertainment, she is interested in social issues, fashion and culture.

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