How ‘Cruella’ Makeup Artist Channeled the Punk Rock Aesthetic of 1970s London

·2-min read

Disney’s “Cruella” is both a live-action “101 Dalmatians” origin story and an ode to 1970s London. It’s set at the height of the punk rock era, when an “anything goes” mentality ruled music, fashion and makeup. When she took on the job, makeup head Nadia Stacey, who had previously worked with “Cruella” star Emma Stone on “The Favourite,” happily realized she was free to follow the punk rock ethos of unapologetically expressing your style. “This isn’t standard. It’s going to be unexpected for Disney,” Stacey promises.

The film follows a young Cruella, who gets a job at a fashion house run by the Baroness, played by Emma Thompson. Stacey says one look, where Cruella shows up to an event in a red ruffled skirt paired with a black jacket, was inspired by Stone’s red-carpet makeup at the London premiere of “The Favourite.” Stacey recalls seeing Stone’s bold dark lip. “I remember thinking, ‘Not a lot of people can pull that off, so we should use that,’” she says.

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Stacey referenced period looks while trying to add something modern. She studied 1920s photos of silent movie stars. “There was a doll-like feeling to one picture, and I wanted to create that,” she says.

Images from designer John Galliano’s collections also inspired her, as did punk rocker Siouxsie Sioux, who often rocked a razor-sharp, gradually tapered black eyebrow. With the eyes, “I went for the beetle-wings [effect], whereby you rub something dark in, and there’s a metallic look,” she says.

One of her favorite looks is when Cruella arrives by motorcycle at a fashion show attended by the Baroness at a time when Cruella is being portrayed as a rival designer. Stacey needed to incorporate the words “The Future” into Cruella’s makeup. “I asked Emma if I could write it across her face, and she said, ‘Yes, let’s do it.’”

To style the words, Stacey used the iconic stencil font from the album “Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols” and airbrushed it on with MAC cosmetics. When the motorcycle helmet comes off, she says simply, “I wanted it to boom.”

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