In an early scene from Netflix’s dark comedy “Do Revenge,” clumsy new girl Eleanor (Maya Hawke) tentatively enters the grounds of Rosehill, a posh Miami private school swimming with sharks. Luckily, cute alternative underclassman Gabbi (Talia Ryder) generously offers an impromptu tour through the campus cliques: there are the Instagram-influential “Witches of Rosehill,” the “excited theater kids who tried to mount a mostly white take on “Hamilton” and popular alphas – a staple of every teen movie (and life). The social primer feels like a nod to “Clueless,” just like the sea of coordinated school plaids.
“I was definitely inspired by cult classics like ‘Romy and Michele’ and ‘Jawbreaker’ when I read the script,” says costume designer Alana Morsehead. “It immediately reminded me of those movies I used to watch as a teenager in high school, classics that we could [take inspiration from and] turn it into something like this.”
For the Rosehill insignia, however, Morsehead took direct inspiration from South Korean school uniforms, which became a fashion in their own right, also seen in K-dramas and K-pop artists. “They were so hip and cool without being over the top, and they were so understated,” she says.
The Easter egg’s color scheme speaks both to the Miami setting – with its famous deco architecture (and the iconic pastel costumes of the original “Miami Vice”) – as well as the stylized aesthetic that brings a “reality heightened" of this tony, cut- Throat Private Schools Ecosystem. The crisp bow ties, chic capelets (which are really academic attire), plush knits, and sassy berets also underscore the constant effort Rosehill students make to show up.
“They pride themselves on looking their best, with their straight hats and ties tied all the way,” says Morsehead, who has individualized each character with an expressive range of patterned and embellished socks, variations on shoes schoolboy and trendy jewellery.
The uniform elements – all sourced from overseas suppliers – also allow for gender inclusion: the performative “golden boy” Max wears the delicate bow ties with his copious jewellery, while Eleanor starts the year schoolboy in the dark, wearing an oversized v-neck sweater and pleated khaki pants. “We have the parts for Everybody“says Morshead.
In Rosehill, “Cruel Intentions” type machinations are taking place under the watchful eye of oblivious (and rarely seen) adults. The versatility and interchangeability of uniform elements indicate hierarchical ranking – and possible decline too. In a Teen Vogue video, Yale-bound scholarship student Drea (Camila Mendes) presides over Rosehill in a pristine pistachio cape ensemble, with her bow tie on the tip and her beret perfectly askew.
“It was more of a power move for her, being in a cape,” Morshead explains. “Once things really start to go downhill for her, we see her without a tie and [her shirt is] unbuttoned and it’s really, really not Drea at all.” Although she ran ‘Rosehill’s Royal Court,’ it went downhill when her boyfriend Max (Austin Abrams, above centre) released a sex video she had made for him .
The characters’ off-campus styles are equally extra, fun and specific, complete with uplifting nostalgic references. “For Drea, I was really inspired by all those 90s model looks worn by Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell,” Morshead said.
During summer vacation, Eleanor spots Drea instructing – and dominating – her terrible classmates at tennis camp. At first, you’d think the two wouldn’t mix at all, especially since Eleanor is wearing a t-shirt that says “models suck” (ironic considering Drea’s style inspiration).
“The T-shirt felt like a slight insult, not just to Drea, but to everyone,” Morshead said. “It’s making a statement without saying anything. The baseball cap that Eleanor often wore also said, ‘I hate it here.’ She’s not holding back!”
Drea and Eleanor connect over their grievances. Drea is determined to demand retaliation from Max, while Eleanor remains haunted by a false rumor started by her college crush, Carissa (Ava Capri). So the former takes the latter on the shopping montage required for teen movies, flipping another trope on its head. “Please don’t say ‘a makeover’,” moaned Eleanor. “It’s so problematic.”
Of course, Drea is dressed confidently for the pivotal day in a bright pink houndstooth ensemble (above) custom-made by Morshead, which references a 1992 photo of Iman with David Bowie in Paris , wearing a black and white plaid shirt. – plaid suit by Alaia.
“I just fell in love with it and thought, ‘How can we do this Miami?’ So it was a halter top and some pink,” she says, adding that she imagined how the talented and resourceful Drea also custom-designed her art-poppy ensemble, as well as the rest of her colorful and printed outfits. assorted to keep up with her affluent peers. (Attentive viewers may spot a sewing machine at the back of Drea’s bedroom.)
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Using her expertise in fashion and storylines, Drea helps shape the new persona of Eleanor, to catch the attention of the easily distracted Max – and the fickle royal court. Eleanor changes from her baggy sweater uniform to her new “high status pussy” look, complete with power cape and beret; her off-campus wardrobe is also evolving.
“I didn’t want Drea to just create another mini-clone of herself,” Morshead said. For Eleanor’s mustard and orange palette, she referenced ’60s and ’70s icons, like Twiggy and Goldie Hawn from the “Shampoo” era.
As their subterfuge is successfully underway, Drea and Eleanor plot in unison through their mode, such as when they discover the true contents of Carissa’s hothouse. Drea wears a lilac ruffled crop top from Australian brand Dyspnea, while her yellow gingham shorts are from La Veste de Blanca Miró. They play in Eleanor’s adorable marigold-print overalls and matching hat from Miracle Eye, owned by the Latinx family (above).
“They’re a team, and it’s them against everyone else – but it’s a balance: they have their own identity, but they also go together,” says Morshead. As Eleanor infiltrates the royal court and bonds with Max on Drea’s behalf, she ends up taking advantage of her newfound status. She looks particularly comfortable with her feet (and her slips blocked by Charlotte Stone) on Max’s lap, wearing a Mary Quant-esue de Rabôt floral fishnet turtleneck and yellow vintage shorts canary. An illustrious metallic bomber jacket from The Mighty Company signals his official induction into the Royal Court (below). (The costume designer has made a point of supporting independent and women-owned brands, like all of those already mentioned, as well as labels like Lesjour!, 3 Women, Muaves and RoseCut.)
“By this point in the film, she’s getting used to playing this ‘role’ of Eleanor, and it becomes a bit more natural for her to love dressing up and putting pieces together like this,” Morshead explains. . “At that time, she has the most daring look to make it as pop as possible.”
Later, the two reunite again for a climactic, hedonistic, and highly exclusive party. They make their grand entrance in shiny (and very “Romy and Michele”) looks, both custom-designed by Morshead in their signature hues. (She credited Drea with a “cooler palette” of blues, purples and jewel tones.)
The kind of inverted sweetheart neckline of Drea’s shimmering gown is directly inspired by model Carla Bruni wearing an ice-blue Versace dress in 1995 at an afterparty hosted by the legendary designer; the gold butterfly on the bodice foreshadows a final conversation, while the chunky gold chains recall Clinton’s extravagant, spendthrift era.
“It was so 90s Moschino,” Morshead says. The provenance of the embellishments, however, isn’t so much: “The straps on this dress are actually two belts from the beauty supply store. They cost about $1.50 each.”
Morshead woke up one morning with inspiration fresh in her mind for Eleanor’s cutting-edge look, which counters Drea’s sparkle with an oversized pantsuit crafted in a vibrant metallic orange lamé.
“I was just like, ‘I have to do something with orange zippers,'” Morshead says. “So I go to the fabric store, buy about 50 zippers of orange pants, and I’m like, ‘Why don’t we make a top out of this?'”
The asymmetric strap choker offers an intentional “dog collar vibe,” which creates a “little tricked-out illusion,” Morshead says. “She’s under Drea’s spell.”
The two still have to deal with Max, who says things like, “I would love to travel around Europe with my camera. It just blows my life away. It’s all so performative,” without any self-awareness. (It also pronounces “privacy” as if it’s British. It’s not.) The inspiration for her floral pants, sheer ruffled blouses, and vintage Gucci teddy cardigan (and no shirt)? “It’s totally Harry Styles,” Morshead says.
According to the costume designer, she wanted to subvert the straight, cisgender, “kind of misogynistic” male love archetype of ’90s teen romantic comedies. “Max is the most popular guy in school. He wears a necklace pearls, and that’s cool,” says Morshead. “We’ve come a long way since then. You can really have your own style.”
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