It’s a given that when a movie like Cruella reimagines the world of something as iconic as Disney’s 101 Dalmatians, some homage to the original legacy will be present. But in Emma Stone’s turn playing Cruella de Vil, there’s one inspiration in particular that’s being invoked in director Craig Gillespie’s live-action origin story. It’s all thanks to the marvelous outfits that actor Glenn Close wore in her outing as the villainess.
Costume designer Jenny Bevan was one of the members of Cruella’s creative team who spoke with EW about the big tip of the hat to Glenn Close’s haute couture variation in 1996’s 101 Dalmatians. Though in this case, it’s a bit more like a twirl of the dress, as a big moment in the Cruella trailer shows Emma Stone’s version of the character really embracing those Dalmatian spots in her design. You can see the look in question below, pictured during what’s been described as a true “fashion bomb” moment:
Just looking at this Cruella outfit is all that you need to link Emma Stone and Glenn Close’s takes on the character. The defining black and white color scheme is present with both characters, and with Stone’s fetching dress, the Dalmatian spots are built right in. This is pure obsession on display, especially when compared to some of the outfits Glenn Close sported in 101 Dalmatians. You can compare for yourself thanks to the screencap below of one such design:
Thinking a little deeper into the connections between the two movies, there seems to be another clue as to how Cruella will invoke the spirit of de Vil’s past. While there were obviously no real dogs were harmed in the production, the in-universe origins of that dress are something we’re particularly worried about. As seen in the trailer released for the film, Emma Stone’s Cruella makes a big entrance at a party held by her boss/antagonist, Emma Thompson’s Baroness von Hellman. And sure enough, three Dalmatians snarl at Cruella as she makes the scene.
As Cruella did land a PG-13 rating “for some violence and thematic elements,” putting two and two together would suggest that those dogs, and their fur, are what start Ms. DeVil’s obsession with Dalmatian-skinned apparel. Taking that one step further, that fashion bomb may be the ultimate statement of victory, as Baroness von Hellman’s prized pooches may be the fabric that makes up that very outfit. Feel free to take a look at the trailer again yourself to let that horrific thought sink in.
Paying tribute to Glenn Close’s 101 Dalmatians performance and wardrobe is a fantastic move when it comes to visually connecting Cruella to its Disney origins. But if the thematic and practical implications above are to be believed, then this latest live-action reimagining could be the darkest entry in the Disney canon yet. It’s a disturbingly fun possibility that we’ll all get to discover soon enough, as Cruella hits theaters and Disney+ Premier Access on May 28.