If you're looking for a movie that will hold your full attention, convincing you to finally put down your phone and actually watch, you might want to check out Last Night in Soho. Aside from the dark, nail-biting, breath-holding suspense, as well as brilliant performances by Thomasin McKenzie and Anya Taylor-Joy, the movie is visually pleasing in every single way — especially when it comes to costumes.
That's all thanks to Odile Dicks-Mireaux, who created a range of enviable looks for the film, from the self-made, modern-day clothing (and newspaper gown) that aspiring fashion designer Eloise (McKenzie) wears, to the playful dresses of 1965 London, a world she's mysteriously transported to night after night, following the journey of a woman named Sandy (Taylor-Joy). Yet, even though you may feel inspired to search for vintage on Etsy as soon as the credits roll, the costume designer — whose work you might also recognize from Brooklyn — says the process of coming up with each outfit, right down to the underwear, wasn't exactly easy.
Ahead, Dicks-Mireaux gives us the backstory behind the movie's most iconic outfits, including the peach swing dress, that glam white coat, and Eloise's look from the last scene.
Anya Taylor-Joy’s Peach Dress Was More Complicated Than It Looked
"Sandy's main dress had to have two things: it had to be a dress of that period that would get into the Café de Paris, but also be something she would've been able to have. And something that was going to inspire Eloise's fashion show much further down the line. A lot of the fashions of the time were very simple shift dresses, but some did own tent dresses. We made a prototype of the shape to see how it moved, then chose a very fine silk chiffon, so it would move very nicely when she danced."
"It was quite a nightmare to make though, because you could make it too thin or too big. We worked very hard to get it right. It wasn't too thin where it became too modern and cheap looking, and had just enough fabric where it looked classy but didn't make her look too large in any way, if you see what I mean."
…And Landing On the Color Was a Process
"There were a couple of images of Twiggy wearing a very peachy-pink color that I thought it would go with Anya's skin and her hair. It's funny, because I never set out a plan to design a peach tent dress. It came out of discussions and working through a design process. I offered up the color yellow first, but the peach is works much better for the character, in a way. You can see why she would find that more interesting, rather than sunshine yellow. Everyone was kind of looking at it and saying, 'Yeah, let's go for that.' When I dyed the chiffon, I think I dyed four different peaches to make the color that I want."
"I really like clothes that have a little bit of see-through-ness, that you can maybe shine through. The nice thing was that, in the end, Anya is very responsive to costume. She owned her clothes very, very well, and she used that dress. Nobody asked her to flick the dress up — she just decided to do it herself and everybody loved it. It's so great when that happens, isn't it?"
Those Matching White Coats Were Sort of a Happy Accident
"[Eloise] was never going to buy a white mac coat; she was going to buy a black lace dress. Then, it changed. Suddenly, we found this mac and put it on Thomasin McKenzie, and everyone thought, 'Oh, that's kind of more interesting to buy.' Then we'd have two ladies following each other in white macs, which kind of made more sense for the night shoots than her running around in black."
"I'd found this reference of Petula Clark singing 'Downtown' in a black PVC mac, which was very common, because the beatnik look was in at the time. And then, in the film Darling, Julie Christie comes back wearing a white mac, because it's black-and-white film. Suddenly, that was the one to use. They were a little bit worried about filming it, but actually it gave an interesting ghostly kind-of quality to her. It's hard to light a white plastic mac, I think, because it will reflect a lot of light."
There Were Real Vintage Pieces in the Movie
"We tried to find different dresses each time you saw [Sandy] sit down [with different men]. The red dress reveals much more flesh, and a little bit later we could go shorter. It was fun to do the last one, which was much more psychedelic 1968. All of those dresses we found — we found lots of little mini dresses, and I was trying to make it so it wasn't the same shape all the time. There was one with a big bow, the crochet one, the kind of glittery gold and silver one, and then the patterned one."
"We did all the underwear as well, which was fun. A bit of it came from England, a bit of it came from France. They're all genuine sixties pieces, which was nice. It's always nice when you can find really good, genuine pieces."
Eloise’s Last Look Was the Hardest to Design
"It was quite fun to work out all the characters. Some come more quickly than others and some are a little bit harder to achieve. I felt the costume that was quite difficult to achieve was [Eloise's] last costume, when she reverts back to being herself. I think she must have tried about 20 outfits before we got to the one that everybody was pleased with. It's funny to think it was so simple, but somehow it really wasn't as easy as you think, because she changed so much. We were wondering where she'd got to after the journey she'd been on."
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