After a year and change spent peering at coworkers through sad Zoom filters and perfecting our skin-care routines, makeup is back. Thank God. And what perfect timing for Cruella, a live-action film about the fur-obsessed Disney villain that’s now in theaters.
Set in London during the punk-rock movement of the ’70s, the film stars Emma Stone as a young grifter named Estella. Tired of a life of petty crime, Estella thinks she’s finally scored a dream job as a designer for Baroness von Hellman (Emma Thompson), the head of a prestigious Dior-like fashion house. But Estella is both talented and rebellious—a dangerous combination to someone like the Baroness, who is more than happy to take credit for Estella’s hard work. Without spoiling too much, their fraught relationship eventually inspires Estella to transform herself into a new, more confident persona: Cruella de Vil.
Any movie centered on a fashion designer—even one who aspires to kill puppies for a coat—is guaranteed to serve up looks, but Cruella is even more visually exciting than expected. (That big Disney budget goes a long way.) Stone, and the creative team behind her, delivers so many moments through the two personas that it’s all a bit overwhelming. Estella, a punk girl who grew up on the streets picking pockets, is defined by her chipped nail polish, smudgy eyeliner, and perfectly not-perfect ’do. Her alter ego Cruella, meanwhile, is known as an avant garde fashion disruptor; her beauty signatures become bold red lips, dramatic eyeshadow, and that unmistakeable two-tone hair.
For makeup artist Nadia Stacey, Cruella was the assignment of a lifetime. “When Emma Stone called, she said the movie was set in the 1970s, around the punk era. As a hair and makeup artist, that is just an absolute dream,” she tells Glamour. “London at that time is a fantastic setting—there was this explosion of punk and change for women. Not just in fashion, but also in social attitudes.”
For Estella, Stacey looked to ’70s icons like Blondie singer Debbie Harry, the Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde, “Because the Night” singer Patti Smith, and German new-wave artist Nina Hagen—women who “had that kind of effortless beauty that still has a kind of messiness to it.” Estella’s hair is a deep red, in a shade that is obviously from a box. “It’s not a natural red because I think if Estella’s going to dye her hair, she’s going to dye it,” Stacey says, with a laugh.
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