The Beguiled, a Sofia Coppola remake based on the 1971 Clint Eastwood classic, takes place at an isolated southern girls’ boarding school during the Civil War era giving you a taste (and so much more) of what it would be like being a woman of that time. There’s a protective headmistress, a romantic teacher and a rebellious teen who all wouldn’t be able to fully convey the female experience if it weren’t for the movie’s costume designer Stacey Battat.
So to tie you over until the movie’s release on June 30, we sat down with Stacey to discuss what’s it like to work with those actors, their costumes and the wardrobe mishap that was so stressful it actually made her cry.
“The film takes place in the Civil War, so history was a big part of the inspiration,” started the designer. “We, [Sofia and I], wanted it to feel light and flowery with a heavy use of pastels, which may not have been traditional at the time. It was a little more dower, but the fabrics we used did exist. That was important.”
When it came to dressing and collaborating with the actors, Stacey considers herself lucky to have worked with these particular females.
“Nicole Kidman looks great in everything, so in that respect, it was very easy to dress her. She’s just so beautiful,” she noted. “But she’s also been doing this a long time. She knows what looks good on her, so there is a stress level of her being a super pro and knowing that about her.”
Just like us, you’re probably dying to know what the actors went through to be able to wear corsets every day on set, but to our surprise, there wasn’t actually much preparation.
“They didn’t have to prepare for the corsets, but each morning when you put it on, you only take it in slightly. You pull it in a little at a time so you don’t push all the air out of the lungs at once. So they don’t get sick. It’s a very gradual process, it’s not quick. You ease into the corset.”
As for the wardrobe malfunction that had Stacey in tears fearful of ruining the whole movie?
“We did have one major mistake while shooting. Someone put bleach in the washing machine,” she told us. “They bleached out two of the tops one of the actresses wore. And she had already worn it on camera, so we had to scramble to make a replica. Thank goodness I had the most incredible tailors in New Orleans (Patty and Aurora). I spent the weekend re-dying the fabric to make it look the right color and the other one I spent fading, because the originals were heavily treated long before clothes were ever made from them. It was a real team effort and it would not have happened without those two brilliant tailors pulling them back together. A lot of dedication and a lot of stress when into the fix. I definitely cried and was like, ‘I’m going to ruin the movie. What are we going to do?’ But Patty whipped up that top in moments—well two days.”
Secrets from set. You’ve officially been given the inside scoop.
Don’t forget to go see The Beguiled when it comes out June 30. See you there!