Fairy Tale Magic - Cruella de Vil



Costume and photography: Richelle Hernandez

Cruella de Vil


“The curl of her lips, the ice in her stare. All innocent children had better beware.”

 Famous villains aren’t exactly role models, but they do tend to be inspirational when it comes to fashion. Cruella is not only a sinister madwoman, she is also a very glamorous style icon.

If you couldn’t tell she was evil by her appearance, the pun on her name makes it obvious. Cruella de Vil is a combination of the words “cruel” and “devil”, an appropriate moniker for this notorious villain. 

Designer, Richelle Hernandez, has a consistent commitment to exquisite craftsmanship in the costuming department. In one the most artistic and accomplished costuming works, this reveal bursts with an iconic ensemble which was fashioned from Cruella’s prototypical color palette of black, white and red. 

Richelle wanted to document a story arc that highlights Cruella’s (or Estella’s) fashion evolution. 

Her design decision is a nod to the deranged fashionista. Richelle describes a fiendishly sculpted black Marin top made from leather with soft and fluid drape. She embellished this simple, short sleeve number with edgy hand-applied grommets

Just like Cruella, Richelle loves breaking fashion rules, so she added a reverse hem and hand stitched a long, red running stitch which was intended to allude to the character’s deconstructive fashion sense. The pants are fashioned from the New Haven leggings using a glossy knit to highlight Cruella’s punk aesthetic.


No Cruella costume would be complete without her signature symbol, the spotted, character-defining outerwear. Cruella's jacket has always been defined by the Dalmatian spots so it naturally became the most important pick for this project! 

Richelle decided to recreate the coat represented in the film’s fashion-show scene and wanted to highlight the sharper, more tailored style of the new and cruel-er Cruella. It’s truly a sight to behold when Cruella steps out in her intimidating Dalmatian train, presenting her mom-arazzi the money shot with a runway-worthy pose.


The overcoat was constructed by combining Marietta's bodice and collar with the Rivendell hood and Augusta's cascading skirt. The back bodice and skirt pattern were split in half and a seam allowance was added to create the dichromatic look. Cruella’s black-and-white, broad-collared fur coat with front buckles and a full, fabulously asymmetrical skirt oozes madness yet still shines with sophistication.


Staying true to form, Richelle emulates the ruthless style by embracing the duality of Cruella’s black-and-white hair. With fashion such a central part of Estella's story, Richelle finishes off the look with boots that are made for walkin’, a cane, gloves, and a spiky attitude. 

It’s hard to recall a recent costuming defined event that detonates with this level of impact and power.

There isn’t all that much to say about Cruella’s look other than the ensemble is simply magnificent and perfect for the grandiose style magnate. 


*** No Dalmatians were harmed in this edition of Fairy Tale Magic.  

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