Nadia Stacey interview: ‘Cruella’ hair and makeup
“I think I just went wild,” says Nadia Stacey with a laugh as she reflects on her work for “Cruella.” The hair and makeup designer just picked up the first Oscar nomination of her career for transforming Emma Stone into the iconic Disney villain. She drew upon the London’s punk scene of the 1970’s for inspiration to help her pull off her most ambitious design effort to date. Watch the exclusive video interview above.
Stacey describes feeling an overwhelming sense of “freedom” with her work since the film is an origin story. She was shocked to discover that despite the iconic nature of the Cruella de Vil character, there were essentially no restrictions placed on her designs. “The parameters were black and white hair. That was kind of it,” Stacey reveals. So she took full advantage of the “huge scope and blank canvas” given to her.
Stacey approaches her looks with a focus on character. “I always immerse myself in whatever period we’re set in,” she explains, “I always put myself in the mindset of that person.” The punk scene featured in the movie contained an alluring mashup of styles and creativity that was a true shock to proper society at the time. “So, we could go big and bold and creative with the looks,” says Stacey. “I became brave with that I guess.”
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Cruella is a budding fashion designer in this film, who is looking to take the industry by storm with a series of extravagant statement pieces. Perhaps the most instantly iconic of these looks, sees Cruella roar into a red carpet event on a motorcycle. Her black and white hair is in a short tussle, as if Marie Antionette was thrashing around at a rock concert. Her lips a shock of blood red and covered in glitter. And most striking: “The Future” is spray painted across her eyes like a masquerade mask. In the scene that follows, the script dictates that a newspaper read: “Is Cruella the future?” so the designer contemplated how to tell that story with hair and makeup. The answer came to her in the form of a Sex Pistols poster hanging on her wall, as she realized she could use the same font and literally write “the future” across the character’s face.”
While all of Cruella’s looks are eye-popping, Stacey was committed to keeping them realistic to the means of the character. “As bold as they are, they’re actually minimal products,” she reveals. “Because I wanted to believe that Estella could go out on the streets and buy them.” So the makeup makes a statement, but they are generally created out of just a couple products used in creative ways. “That feels a bit punk too,” believes Stacey, “they wouldn’t have had access to everything.”
Stacey earned a BAFTA nomination and her first Oscar nomination for “Cruella.” She is a previous BAFTA winner for “The Favourite.”