Dress To Kill – Cruella De Vil

Welcome to the first edition of Dress to Kill – the column where you can play master criminal and steal the style of well-dressed villains we all love to hate. First up is a Disney denizen – if she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will….

101 Dalmatians has every hallmark of a classic Disney film; great songs, adorable puppies, and a villain that sends children running. But did you know that in the original design, Cruella was younger, prettier and a lot more seductive? It’s true!

Unfortunately this version of Cruella never made it to the screen; if she had, there would probably be more little girls wanting to dress up in Dalmatian print. Her look is so iconic that donning the spots will probably always look like you’re wearing a costume, but there are other ways that you can imitate her striking look. Steal style, not puppies.

Real fur is a controversial issue; for a better selection of prints (and price points), the best option is to go faux. White fur, while somewhat impractical, can be found quite easily; check charity and vintage shops, like Armstrongs in Edinburgh, for a good selection of retro wares. Cruella goes for full, silky and luxurious; it’s best to buy these coats in person rather than online in order to have a good stroke.

Beauty wise, Cruella is ALL about the hair and lips. Half-and-half hair isn’t for everyone – I’d love to do it at least once, but I can’t shake the thought that the bleached side would be far more damaged than the black. It looks surprisingly sophisticated in the live-action version with Glenn Close; that is probably due to the cut and styling more than colour. (In the cartoon, it is undeniably mullet-y. Sorry, Cruella.)

Cruella’s always pictured with a bold, red lip. Everyone seems to go mad for MAC’s Ruby Woo (or occasionally Russian Red), and if you’re going to spend on a lipstick then these are great beauty standbys to go for. However, my personal holy grail is the Kate Moss Lasting Finish Rimmel collection. They’re inexpensive, available in every chemist, and super-pigmented. For a seriously intense red, go for shade 01, a kind of blue-toned red that would flatter anyone. It also lasts up to 8 hours, so you don’t have to worry about reapplying when you’re busy chasing puppy dogs. She wears matching gloves; Barry M nail paint in Bright Red is much more versatile.

Although parts of her style are enviable, we don’t recommend that you adopt Cruella’s animal rights attitudes, dubious morals, and incessant smoking habit. (Think of the wrinkles!) But if you’d rather walk a puppy than wear one, some of her beauty trademarks are surprisingly transferable to real life. Just think twice about that mullet.

Article reproduced here was originally published by the website of Impulse Magazine (February 2014) and is no longer available online. 

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