Cindy Evans, the costume designer on Oliver Stone’s ‘Savages’, worked closely with Stone and the actors to give each character a signature style that would complement the look of the film. Stone notes: œCindy′s costumes really stand out. She got that sexy beach vibe. She comes from ‘Lords of Dogtown’, ‘Thirteen’, ‘Laurel Canyon’, and she understood that Southern California/Laguna mentality.
With multiple characters and story lines, it was important to establish a detailed costume bible. Evans offers: œIn my research, I looked into everything from Orange County to Mexico, even classic movie references. I compiled all of it onto boards that I created. They were an important visual tool to define the characters and tone. It is also a necessity to help gain a visual dialogue with the collaborators. As did production designer TomÃ¡s Voth, Evans tested the limits of design. œWe tried to keep it naturalistic with a heightened sense of realism, but all the while pushing the boundaries with color and stylistic choices.
Her costumes also reflected a collaboration with her director. For instance, the taciturn Chon, whose wardrobe is mostly functional, has a fondness for Hawaiian shirts, which arose from Evans′ dialogue with Stone. œThere was a simple brutality to Chon′s costume choice. I wanted it to feel basic and a touch utilitarian, she says. œA lot of that had to do with Taylor′s attitude, posture and physique. I wanted it to feel like he could start a fight at any moment. Oliver wanted to push him in a more playful direction, to reflect the lighter and happier times with our three leads. So in came the Hawaiian shirts and a bit of color.
Whereas many of Chon′s clothes had structure to them, Ben′s were more free-form: loose, worn green trousers, batik shirts and scarves, souvenirs from the many countries he had visited on his path to enlightenment. The designer shares: œThe intention was to give him a unique worldly flair, all the while keeping him grounded to his California beach roots.
O is a bit of a clothes horse, though her fashion”a unique layering of pattern and fabric”is all her own. Evans used O′s style to deliberate effect with a purple chiffon dress and underlying slip that became her wardrobe for much of the film. When Lado kidnaps her, soon all that is left is the ethereal white underlay that, like O, becomes battered and vulnerable. It is modeled on a painting of O′s Shakespearean namesake and the Pre-Raphaelite work œOphelia by Sir John Everett Millais.
For her part, Blake Lively brought artist Sage Vaughn onto the production to design O′s nature-based tattoos. œO′s a free spirit, Lively says. œMaybe that′s why she′s in love with two men, because she wants to be free and open and not close-minded. She′s experienced a lot of privilege, but she′s also experienced a lot of pain. I wanted to see that in her tattoos because she needs a reminder to smile every day. Sage designed O′s tattoos, and he actually hand-painted them on me. Then Bill Corso took molds of them, and we had tattoos made.
Her captor, Lado, and his colleague Alex were a sartorial study of opposites. Lado, with his oversized cowboy boots and black leather jacket, is a hulking contrast to the elegant Alex, with his bespoke suits and ties. Evans explains: œThe character definition between Lado and Alex was based on hierarchy and privilege within the Cartel world. Lado was meant to feel like he was working his way up the ladder and will never get there. And DemiÃ¡n Bichir wore those suits so well; he looked amazing in them.
Their boss had a glamorous style reminiscent of 1940s actresses: plunging necklines and shoulder pads, as well as an affinity for silks, bold colors and towering heels. Elena sports substantial bling and propmaster Kirk Corwin notes that Salma Hayek had definite ideas about it. œHer wedding ring was a big thing for us, Corwin says. œSalma knows fine jewelry and I′m a prop man, so I know costume jewelry. She told me in the nicest possible way, ˜There′s some costume jewelry that′s very nice¦and there′s some that′s not.′ So we stepped it up a notch and I learned new sources from her.
Corwin also inadvertently served as the inspiration for Dennis′ wardrobe. He explains: œI met John right after he had his first costume meeting with Cindy. They were planning a more Western look with him, like a bolo tie and snakeskin boots. I walked in to talk to him about his props: watches, rings, that sort of thing. He said, ˜Would you mind having Cindy take a look at your clothes? And your shoes, what kind of shoes are those? I like those.′ So his wardrobe ended up looking very much like what I wear to set. I′m not a fashion plate but I guess for John and that character, I was.
Image Courtesy of Savages