Breaking Down the Fashion in Cruella

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I finally watched “Cruella” and it has been a roller-coaster of emotions! I was happy, sad, confused, angry and even disappointed. Something weird always happens when Disney tries to modernise a live action movie as things can go wrong! Let’s just say Cruella is one of those even though it had amazing costumes.

The Premise

The origin story of Disney’s famed villain with an intense hatred of Dalmatians, Cruella charts the life and times of the young orphan Estella (Emma Stone) as the aspiring fashion designer navigates the counterculture of London in the ’70s and converts into 101 Dalmatians’ notorious puppy-killer-to-be. Except she is a misunderstood dog lover here with a loyal four-legged sidekick, and that whole pooch-skinning thing seems to be fake news. While this puzzling narrative departure might baffle some, no one will be able to dispute the film’s consistent commitment to exquisite craftsmanship in the costuming department. In that regard, if you come to Cruella for the breathtaking fashion that has enormous fun with the era, you will be left awestruck. Info from (all rights reserved).

Breaking Down the Fashion in Cruella

Now that we are all caught up, let’s get into those costumes. Let’s bear in mind the era was described as the “Punk Rock” Era was which was inspired by Vivienne Westwood who coined the phrase. The 1970s saw the emergence of the punk rock movement. Most notably young performers like Siouxsie Sioux and groups like The Clash. The music inspired fashion as well, in particular designer Vivienne Westwood, whose punk designs for the Sex Pistols helped define the decade’s London style.

This style of dressing saw individuals who could not afford designer clothing to use what they have to pretty much upcycle into other styles. The ripped Jeans came about when Jeans were so worn that they began to tear and because people could not afford to replace Jeans, they ripped the other leg which started a trend. There were dark colours like black, purples and plaids which could easily be found in thrift stores. So with this in mind, you can see why the Fashion made sense or where they missed the mark in the film.

Work Clothes

Cruella Fashion

Let’s just skip past Estella getting her dream job at Liberty Department  where instead of working the floor and putting together cool outfits, she was cleaning toilets and had a horrible boss who was a pompous jerk.  Estella’s “Day Job” working for the Baroness featured sensible pencil skirts, long sleeve tops and sensible flats. Though a more subdued look, these pieces mimicked the Vivienne Westwood silhouettes that featured blacks and greys. As she started to become more engrained and garnered a sense of confidence, the outfits  saw a bit of an elevation.

The Fire Dress


This was one of the first transformations we saw that was both amazing and confusing! They showed her visiting a vintage shop where she met “Artie” and forged a friendship where we saw the beautiful Red Dress that the Baroness made a few collections ago. What we did not see was how they made the “fire dress” and its significance. We understood that it was a Black and White event and she wanted to create a distraction by standing out, but did they have the technology and tools to make a dress that caught on fire then transformed?? We were just as confused. During this scene, Estella became “Cruella” and opted for her signature Black and White Hair. 

The Leather Suit


This was a “Casual Cruella” Daytime look which saw her in full Cruella mode and Punk Rock Garb where she donned a leather suit. This was commendable as they managed to touch on the Punk Rock era, while not taking away too much from the scene. The look worked for all the right reasons as she is starting to become her true self after trying to fit in all her life and trying to behave as her “mother” wants.

It’s an outfit that unmistakably signals the merger of Estella’s former thrifty DIY punk aesthetic with Cruella’s ostentatious glam-goth extremity, and for good reason. This is when Estella truly steps over to the dark side, deciding to become one with her alter ego as she curtly gives orders to her besties and strides through town to scheme the downfall of her murderous nemesis. “I want to make art and trouble,” she says. And who could possibly dare to question her authority when she stomps around with that intimidating cane?

The Garbage Truck Dress



This is where the competition became serious between Cruella and the Baroness! Sis brought a whole garbage truck to the venue (thanks to Horace and Jasper) and she revealed the most breathtaking dress in the whole movie! What most people might not have noticed is the top of the dress featured Newspaper articles about Cruella! It was everything and more! The dress featured the longest train in movie history that was 40-foot-long! The other fabric we see sprawling on the road are from older collections of the Baroness. They were using the clothing to make a statement that the baroness is old news and her overall brand is garbage …literally! 

The Dalmatian Dress

cruella movie

This one took us all by surprise! For a second, we thought she killed and skinned those horribly, aggressive fake-ass Dalmatians. As it turns out, it was just another of her amazing creations.The dress was a little underwhelming, but we loved the overall presentation and how they were just being in the moment. She gathered her troops and a few dancers and had a mini concert by the fountain where she spoke to her “mum”.  This also came after it was suspected that she was in fact “Cruella” where she also destroyed the collection the Baroness was supposed to show.

The Petal Dress

This was another favourite of mine as it was a juxtaposition of girly meets edge with a long hot-pink petal train and some sort of military jacket. It was cool and was definitely a head turner! It was an absolutely massive, swoon-worthy organza skirt of reds, blacks, and purples comprised of over 5,000 hand-sewn flowers.

Well, 5,060 to be exact! This whole larger-than-life look is a bit like Dior Couture by John Galliano but dialed up even further with an extreme, rebellious punk sensibility. It’s truly a scene to behold when Cruella drapes her intimidating train over the car windows, presenting the nosy paparazzi their money shot with a runway-worthy pose.

There were a few other looks I liked from the movie that Cruella wore, but these are the ones that stood out to me the most. See below for the slideshow gallery.

Have you watched Cruella? Let me know your favourite looks and how you liked the movie. I will also be sharing my favourite Baroness looks.

Breaking Down the Fashion in Cruella 

Breaking Down the Fashion in Cruella

Breaking Down the Fashion in Cruella

Breaking Down the Fashion in Cruella

Breaking Down the Fashion in Cruella

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