Lock up your puppies: how Cruella de Vil became a fashion icon

Lock up your puppies: how Cruella de Vil became a fashion icon

In an era of wellness, veganism and ethical consumerism, Cruella de Vil, complete with toxic green cigarette smoke and Dalmatian blood lust, is the ultimate transgressive style icon. Spending her days scheming, drowning kittens and laughing maniacally, Cruella has been Hollywood’s greatest fashion baddie since she upstaged all 101 Dalmatians in the original 1961 film. Her nearest rival, Miranda Priestly in the Devil Wears Prada, may have given her subordinates some very withering looks, but she did not kidnap puppies to upgrade her outfit. Cruella’s look made her a style icon. Just like Karl Lagerfeld, Anna Wintour or Suzy Menkes, she not only has statement hair but a signature aesthetic. Whether depicted in Marc Davis’s exacting pencil strokes, or being played by Glenn Close in the 1996 film, her clothes are extraordinary. Her most famous look – a huge cream fur coat with a blood-red lining, matching blood-red gloves and high-heeled shoes – remains horribly glamorous. And everything about her is sharp and pointed: nose, cheekbones, eyebrows, chin. This month, a new movie, set in 1970s London, opens in cinemas. …
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