Costume Designer Mona Might Displays on Clueless, 25 Years On

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Costume Designer Mona May Reflects on Clueless, 25 Years On


Clueless was method forward of its time. The quintessential ’90s vogue movie based mostly on Emma by Jane Austen is a cinema traditional because of author and director Amy Heckerling and costume designer Mona Might. Not like generic movies about vogue or highschool, Clueless does not glorify imply woman habits, which is a cause it continues to be enjoyable, contemporary, and related since its 1995 debut.

The movie provides a uncommon look into the fictional friendship of two of the preferred women in highschool, who’re expectedly wealthy, fashionable, and fascinating. And regardless of Cher and Dionne’s familiarity with being the envy of others, their stable friendship and real love for vogue makes Clueless a permanent teen hit. On the movie’s twenty fifth anniversary, we spoke to costume designer Mona Might about why she thinks Clueless has transcended generations, the shocking inspirations behind some key outfits, and if Cher and Dionne can be concerned within the political conversations of as we speak.

CLUELESS, Stacey Dash, Alicia Silverstone, 1995, (c) Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

The Girlie-Meets-Grunge ’90s Aesthetic Was Created For Clueless

The girlie-meets-grunge aesthetic of Clueless was created by Mona Might completely for the movie. On the time the movie got here out, “it was all Kurt Cobain. Women and boys appeared the identical. Big, huge saggy shirts, huge saggy trousers. So it actually was like, ‘How do we modify that? How do we actually discover the search for the women to emulate, to be girlie once more?’ That was our purpose,” mentioned Might. Geared up with a $200,000 price range, which was not a lot to costume a complete vogue movie, and the web as we all know it having but to exist, Might “actually needed to be resourceful,” she admitted. “I feel a few of that resourcefulness actually created the style as a result of I could not purchase from the runway present, so I had to determine what was round me that I may use. I had some cash, so I purchased a Dolce & Gabbana go well with . . . It was really the D&G, the decrease line for Cher.”

Costume Designer Mona Might Displays on Clueless, 25 Years On

“I borrowed the purple Alaïa gown. I known as the PR group as a result of I could not afford it with my price range, and I used to be like, ‘Simply know that she’s going to should go down on the bottom, however we’ll mud the ground, so nothing goes to occur to the gown.’ Then, there was shopping for issues from the mall, and shopping for thrift retailer stuff. I feel that was very contemporary on the time. No one dressed excessive and low. All people wore designer, or they had been grunge, or perhaps they had been mall youngsters. The truth that you had the excessive finish, you had the thrift retailer, you had the mall garments, all sort of combined collectively — that was so relatable,” Might mentioned.

The blending of subcultures like grunge-meets-girlie, and luxury-meets-high avenue, and even the duality of Cher and Dionne’s ethnic backgrounds, or the women’ excessive social standing in comparison with Tai’s humbler upbringing provides complexity to a frivolous movie. Might makes it clear in our chat that costume design is integral to framing the movie’s storyline but in addition reveals the private growth of key characters.

Costume Designer Mona Might Displays on Clueless, 25 Years On

Tai’s Journey of Discovering Herself Is Instructed Via Her Costume

Might defined how Tai’s complete character arch is informed by way of her numerous costume adjustments. “You will have Tai coming into the combination who has an entire journey for herself, of being the grunge woman from the East Coast, not likely understanding vogue, being revamped by Cher, and turning into her mini me,” mentioned Might. “Then, her personal journey of discovering herself, being uncomfortable when she’s at that occasion, and altering the outfit when she’s placing the shirt on the hand. Then on the finish, while you see her, when she’s now actually who she is, it is nearly like a mirror to the start, however now in a extra of a skateboardy method. She’s nonetheless boyish together with her Chino pants, and with the stripe shirt, and a headscarf.”

CLUELESS, Stacey Dash, 1995, (c) Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

Dionne’s Black-and-White Hat Was Impressed by Dr. Seuss

“Dionne was so cool as a result of she was funky. She was a little bit bit extra skilled with the boys. She actually had this pores and skin tone that I may push issues with colour. I may push issues with texture. She had the vinyl, she had the leopard, she had all of the enjoyable components whereas perhaps Cher was a little bit bit extra straight, and boxed in, and tailor-made. That allowed me to deliver the component of the hats, to push it and be extra outrageous. The primary hat was from a designer pal of mine in New York, Carl Kim, and he, on the time, was probably the most enjoyable hat designers,” mentioned Might.

“After I designed the costume, after we selected the yellow plaid for Cher, I designed the black-and-white plaid go well with for Dionne and added the vinyl lapel to match the hat. It was simply the entire look. Once more, that was what’s a lot enjoyable. I actually had the artistic freedom to try this. To actually deliver all the weather. Then we simply went loopy with the Dr. Seuss hat.”

CLUELESS, Alicia Silverstone, Stacey Dash, Brittany Murphy, 1995, (c) Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

Cher’s Capped-Sleeve Clothes Had been a Delicate Nod to Emma

“I really like how Cher wears the little capped-sleeve empire clothes,” mentioned Might. “That was actually enjoyable. The movie is predicated on Emma, in order that was a little bit of a throwback to the time for me, too. A bit little bit of a thread of the [Regency] interval, as a result of that is what they wore then, these sorts of clothes with the empire waist. To me, that was one thing very classical that I wished to deliver into the movie, which was a vogue nod then but in addition one thing that perhaps solely sure folks acknowledged.

Costume Designer Mona Might Displays on Clueless, 25 Years On

Cher and Dionne Would Put on Dior If Clueless Got here Out As we speak

I used to be to know the way Might would gown the characters these days, in 2020. Might thinks “that occasions are very totally different. We aren’t as harmless. This was a film when cellphones weren’t round, so we’re a special species nearly, as a result of we’re so linked, and we all know all the things. A few of the innocence could possibly be gone, as a result of they’re simply a lot extra uncovered. I feel that I’d attempt to have the same method to the movie, to seek out that innocence and painting that innocence. So I’d not over-sexualize the movie and the garments.”

“I feel that I’d attempt to preserve it very candy. You recognize what I imply? I used to be wanting on the collections for fall, and I’d purchase one-third of the Dior assortment from fall 2020 for Cher. It is stunning. A lot black. It is a little bit bit extra subtle in a method. It could possibly be a little bit bit extra edgy for her, however I feel that she would have the identical sensibility. The place we got here from within the movie, for the look, we picked plaid. It was an concept that it is a faculty woman, it is a Catholic faculty uniform. What would Cher do? All of it has a backstory.”

CLUELESS, (seated center) Stacey Dash, Alicia Silverstone, 1995, (c) Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection

Cher and Dionne Would “Completely” Be Political in 2020

When requested if Cher and Dionne can be politically engaged excessive schoolers as we speak, Might mentioned “completely. I feel that Dionne can be a lawyer. Fully. I feel she can be a whole badass lawyer, and I feel that Cher would turn into metal. She can be like Gwyneth Paltrow with Goop. The mogul Cher with all her all natural and all the things clear, and serving to women, as a result of she was all about serving to. That was the goodness of her coronary heart, there was no imply bone in her physique, I all the time felt.”

“My work is to empower women,” mentioned Might. “I feel in all my movies, that is what I pleasure myself in, and it is one thing that’s actually vital to me. I’ve accomplished Romy and Michele’s Excessive Faculty Reunion, The Wedding ceremony Singer, Enchanted, and By no means Been Kissed. To me, it is about women. It is about the way to empower them to be ok with themselves, who they’re, and discovering themselves within the characters”

The transcendent teen flick Clueless turns 25 this yr. Clueless is obtainable to observe now on streaming service NOW TV, with a Sky Cinema Move.



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