After studying the script for Emerald Fennell’s revenge thriller “Promising Young Woman,” costume designer Nancy Steiner pictured a number one woman who was “matted” or, in gentler phrases, “less-than put collectively.”
In spite of everything, Cassie — the movie’s important character portrayed by Carey Mulligan — is depressed. The 30-year-old medical college dropout by no means recovered from a mysterious traumatic occasion, one which’s impressed her to fill her nights exacting revenge on poisonous males. But in her each day life, Cassie is outfitted head-to-toe in bubblegum pinks and florals, together with her lengthy blonde hair usually pulled again in a braid and adorned with ribbons. That’s all deliberate.
“Emerald actually wished Cassie to decorate as if she was this happy-go-lucky lady. You’d by no means know she’s depressed,” says Steiner, whose resume contains “Misplaced in Translation,” “Little Miss Sunshine” and “The Virgin Suicides.” “I’ve come to comprehend that it’s simply one other certainly one of her costumes she wears to cover who she actually is.”
Her girly exterior, what Steiner refers to as a “candy all-American lady,” is a part of Cassie’s chameleon-like tendency to cover in plain sight. Her on a regular basis apparel could also be stuffed with daring prints, shiny hues and multicolored manicures, however relaxation assured, she’s not attempting to face out.
“I harkened again to the ’60s,” Steiner says. “I had Brigitte Bardot footage on my temper board — loads of cute blondes.”
As a fancy dress designer, she views her job as “telling the story with out shouting.” However, she says with a understanding wink to the film’s surprising finale, “generally you could shout.”
“Promising Young Woman” debuted in theaters on Christmas Day and launched on-demand final weekend. Right here, Steiner particulars key outfits worn by Mulligan within the film.
All through the film, Cassie frequents quite a few golf equipment and bars to bait her prey. Behind-the-scenes, the crew gave every watering gap its personal nickname to distinguish the vibes. “Promising Young Woman” opens with Cassie on the “enterprise bar,” a conventional pub the place males congregate after work. As she does in her on a regular basis life, Cassie clothes to slot in. (On the “hipster bar,” she dons feather hair extensions.)
Steiner selected a conventional swimsuit to maintain Cassie the main focus of the shot. In the meantime, a montage of sweaty males carrying khakis and ill-fitting costume shirts performs over bumping music.
“We had been attempting to indicate how disgusting it may be to observe males from a lady’s perspective,” Steiner mentioned. “You recognize, like, ‘Ew!’”
When she’s not tormenting evil males, Cassie moonlights as a barista. On the espresso store, she reconnects with a former medical college classmate Ryan (Bo Burnham). After cute and bumbling banter, the 2 start relationship. One in every of Steiner’s favourite scenes transpires on a date, the place Cassie and Ryan scour the aisles of a comfort retailer utilizing snack objects as karaoke props to belt the Paris Hilton pop anthem “Stars Are Blind.” She’s carrying a sizzling pink cardigan, a shiny floral high, and blush-colored denims.
“There’s a ‘Stepford Spouse’ type of factor about it,” Steiner says of Cassie’s date-night apparel. “She places on the gorgeous garments and will get by means of the day. No one asks her about herself as a result of she simply blends proper in.”
Later, at what the crew dubbed the “Eurotrash bar,” Cassie clothes up in a good, glittery sequined mini-dress, accessorized with ratty hair extensions, sky-high heels and silver hoop earrings. Cassie leaves to go dwelling together with her subsequent pawn. However not earlier than she awkwardly runs into Ryan whereas she’s draped over one other man, who’s carrying a fedora.
“She goes to those locations pondering she gained’t be acknowledged. I don’t know why Bo’s character was going to that bar,” Steiner postures. “I by no means understood that. It’s so not him. That was disturbing.”
The film involves its climactic head as Cassie makes a shock go to on the bachelor social gathering of the person answerable for her trauma. A reference to their med college days, Cassie arrives at a distant cabin within the woods carrying a sultry nurse costume that’s full with a multicolored wig and blood-red lipstick. Steiner says she couldn’t discover the right costume, so she ended up making her personal.
“We wished one thing that wasn’t too excessive, however nonetheless horny and taunting,” Steiner says. “It was enjoyable to design as a result of it was very completely different than Carey and Cassie.”