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Dressing The Bling Ring: Celebrity style and costume design

Alliance Films Media Author: Elle Canada Credits: Alliance Films Media

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Dressing The Bling Ring: Celebrity style and costume design

When it comes to acquiring a celebrity style, there’s creatively adapting red carpet looks to mirror your own, or physically breaking into the homes of say, Orlando Bloom and Lindsay Lohan, and literally seizing them right out of their closets. The members of the Bling Ring—the infamous Hollywood Hills teenage burglars—chose the latter, and became the fame-hungry subjects (and title) of Sofia Coppola’s latest film.

We chatted with costume designer Stacey Battat (Somewhere, Country Strong) on the challenge of outfitting the characters in The Bling Ring with a distinctly L.A. style.

Did you originally follow the news of the Bling Ring Hollywood Hills burglaries when the story broke in February 2009?


“I read the article [“The Suspects Wore Louboutins”] in Vanity Fair but I don’t watch tabloid TV and I don’t read tabloids. I didn’t know about it until the story came out in Vanity Fair and it piqued my curiosity.”

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Did you start with the personal styles of the celebrity victims—Rachel Bilson, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan— when looking for inspiration?

“We got tons of back issues of US Weekly and just being in L.A. inspired me. Just walk down Robertson Boulevard, eat lunch at The Ivy, go to Hyde Lounge.”

These characters seem like they could only exist in Los Angeles, was it important for you to source clothing from local stores?


“Yeah, there were L.A. stores like Kitson, and [L.A. brand] Wildfox that I feel became inspiring in terms of finding stuff that felt like them.”

Were the stolen items based on actual outfits the celebs wore?


“Some were—obviously I researched all the characters and [production designer] Anne Ross and I did that together, the setting of the closets. I would say, ‘oh these designers would be good here,’ but at Megan Fox’s they take a Rick Owens jacket and I don’t know if she ever wore that but Megan Fox probably owns like 50 Rick Owens jackets!

I feel like the authenticity was there in certain places where we could have it. In Miranda Kerr’s closet we used the actual stuff that she wore on the red carpet from Hervé Léger, because they were able to dig it up for us. And there was a camouflage Louis Vuitton bag that they stole from Paris Hilton and we had that and it shows up a million times in the movie.”

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Were the stolen items based on actual outfits the celebs wore?

“Some were—obviously I researched all the characters and [production designer] Anne Ross and I did that together, the setting of the closets. I would say, ‘oh these designers would be good here,’ but at Megan Fox’s they take a Rick Owens jacket and I don’t know if she ever wore that but Megan Fox probably owns like 50 Rick Owens jackets!

I feel like the authenticity was there in certain places where we could have it. In Miranda Kerr’s closet we used the actual stuff that she wore on the red carpet from Hervé Léger, because they were able to dig it up for us. And there was a camouflage Louis Vuitton bag that they stole from Paris Hilton and we had that and it shows up a million times in the movie.”

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These kids have so much of everything and yet they always wanted more. Were you ever worried that they would become bored with excess?

“I feel like part of what we wanted to show on a whole was decadence and greed, and they were very greedy. And even just working on the movie, the amount of clothes that I would have for a fitting or take from a store because I know that part of [the clothing] was set dressing, it actually made me a little sick.

Like when I would go somewhere and have so many things, it felt really gluttonous and greedy, and I think that there’s something about that where once you get in the mindset of ‘more, more, more’, you’re there. They never wore the same outfit twice in the movie, and in most movies I would never really do that. I feel like real people do wear the same clothes.”

Nicki, Emma Watson’s character, seems to embody the stereotypical OTT L.A. girl. Did you have fun dressing her in pink velour tracksuits and extensions?

“Yes, I think we all did! And it was fun developing her and that character—we made the film time ambiguous because we wanted these kids to have iPhones but we also did not want to lose the Juicy tracksuit.”

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Read on to find out which other girls Battat has outfitted on set...

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The suspects wore Louboutins, even to their court trials—it seemed like this style was all they knew and it wasn’t about putting on an act.

“I think the clothes worked for them in court because they were so obsessed with Lindsay Lohan and what not, that we wanted them to have the idea that they’re getting dressed for a fashion show—it’s their moment, the paparazzi’s watching.

They felt like stars when they were going to court and we wanted them to feel like they were going to a nightclub, not to court, like putting on their tight, short skirt and trying to be conservative. They were acting like, ‘oh my God, I’m going to go to jail!’ it was very dramatic.”

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Did you ever speak with the members of the real-life Bling Ring?


“No, I never spoke with the actual people. Also I feel like that in my imagination, I wanted them to be a little better dressed than I think those people really are. We also wanted them to be sympathetic. Their story is very dark, but there is something about that desire to want to belong, that is maybe not as dark.”

You also styled the pilot of Girls—do you feel like you have a pretty good understanding of young, millennial females?


“The characters are on Girls are very different—they are very significantly flawed in a nice way, and they like to be flawed, and I hope that that came across in their costumes. But I feel like these girls want to be perfect. They want to be celebrities. The girls on Girls want a real life, they have a different aspiration. They want to work in their field, but they’re not entitled in that way.”

Win tickets to an advanced screening of
The Bling Ring in Halifax, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, Vancouver or Victoria on June 19! Tweet us with your preferred city using the #ECBlingRing hashtag!

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Dressing The Bling Ring: Celebrity style and costume design