“Priscilla’ Costume Designer Stacey Battat On Movie’s Trend

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By Calvin S. Nelson

Along with her recognizable beehive hair and darkish eye make-up, the early photographs of Priscilla Presley are inescapable in the case of American historical past. Over the previous few years, the Presley inspiration has seen a resurgence in popular culture, whether or not it’s Lana Del Rey emulating a few of Pris’ well-known seems, Riley Keough honoring her grandfather in Daisy Jones & The Six, or a chaotic biopic about The King himself.

So, when Sofia Coppola obtained Priscilla’s approval to adapt her memoir, Elvis And Me, she wished to take a mild however actual method to her life story, because it painted a darker portrait of their time collectively — past the picture-perfect one which most of the people has seen. This began by assembling an impeccable solid and crew that allowed actors Cailee Spaeny (The Craft: Legacy) and Jacob Elordi (Euphoria) to remodel into Priscilla and Elvis fully.

“I assumed Priscilla’s story encapsulated one thing all of us undergo, however in such a heightened, glamorous manner,” Coppola beforehand instructed Vogue. “I actually wished to seize how overwhelming that first brush with love is and the way complicated it may be attempting to know a person who’s so cold and warm.”

Coppola additionally enlisted the assistance of her longtime collaborator, costume designer Stacey Battat, to craft the type as a logo of Priscilla’s modifications — from adolescence and past. In accordance with W Magazine, Battat, who had beforehand grow to be buddies with the director whereas working at Marc Jacobs, first began working together with her on the costuming for 2010’s Someplace. Since then, the 2 have collaborated on Coppola’s movies, together with The Bling Ring and The Beguiled, which was Battat’s first period-era work.

In whole, Priscilla marks their sixth challenge collectively. A difficult one, to make certain. In spite of everything, reworking two historic icons on the display is not any small feat. In accordance our dialog with Battat, there have been six weeks of prep time forward of the six-week shoot with Coppola offering a temper board for all the movie and the script.

Because the movie lately launched in theaters, we sat down with Battat to talk to a number of the key seems — and the way they add to the grander portrayal of Priscilla and Elvis.

Priscilla’s First Encounters With Elvis

Throughout Priscilla’s first encounter at Graceland, she witnesses the stripped-down model of Elvis. As a substitute of portraying him at first because the on-stage icon, he’s only a man, softened by the choice to place him in knitwear. “I actually wished to ensure that he felt common, like an intimate, not in lace shirts,” she says of the selection. “And he wasn’t performing that, that he regarded non-performative. He regarded weak.”

Nevertheless, this created a problem for Battat through the prep time. Valentino made lots of Elvis’ sweaters for the movie, which took a few month by way of hand-knitting — as “there’s not firms that simply manufacture one sweater.” Regardless of the time crunch, she feels it elevates Jacob Elordi’s take as Elvis probably the most.

Priscilla Was Stylized To Stand Out From The Celebration

As for Priscilla, who was nonetheless an adolescent on the time, the style additionally makes be aware of simply how misplaced she is to these surrounding her.

At Elvis’ social gathering, the opposite attendees are all older. The ladies sit round, gossiping, as they put on watches and high-quality jewellery. Priscilla is, as they put it within the movie, wanting like a toddler. And this was precisely what Battat was aiming to attain.

“The factor is, 1959, we’re truly nearer to the ’60s, so we’re getting right into a slimmer silhouette,” Battat shares. “We’re getting away from that sort of puffy petty coat that you just see within the ’50s… I wished to ensure that within the late ’50s once we first meet Priscilla and we first meet Elvis, that she does have a silhouette that reads as youthful, youthful than the opposite ladies, additionally youthful than she reads in a while within the movie.”

Elvis’ Controlling Affect On Priscilla’s Model

All through the movie, vogue continues to function a throughline — whether or not it’s explicitly acknowledged or implicitly delivered in refined moments, each of which add as much as the garments being a way of management. Throughout one second, Elvis asks Priscilla if she’d wish to buy groceries, which she gleefully accepts.

The scene then shifts to Priscilla parading varied clothes in a room crammed with Elvis and his older male buddies. She expresses her discomfort with one feeling too low-cut and grown-up. “I feel these garments are too subtle for me,” Spaeny-as-Priscilla says, as the fellows encourage her to purchase them. “Now, what’s that costume?” Elvis asks in one other half, when he wakes as much as Priscilla sporting a printed costume she picked that he feels is distracting.

In flip, Priscilla turns into a doll of Elvis’ design — being stripped of her id within the course of. She is modeled after the wonder beliefs he holds for himself fairly than, it appears, what he truly is interested in in ladies. Their relationship is dotted with accusations of infidelity: along with his co-stars (Nancy Sinatra and Ann-Margret), with a flirty new girl in California, and extra. Those we do see Elvis’ attraction to are all blonde, whereas he wished Priscilla’s hair to be jet black.

By the point the movie depicts Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding ceremony, the 2 are almost equivalent. Valentino as soon as once more performed an “immeasurable” function within the costumes, utilizing an “elegant black cloth” to mannequin the rock star’s tuxedo, fairly than his paisley unique. For Priscilla’s costume, Battat checked out laces with Chanel’s artistic director, Virginie Viard, from an earlier assortment, utilizing it for a recreation “throughout the identical vibe,” with the silhouette modeled for Spaeny particularly.

How The Actual Life Priscilla Knowledgeable The Costume Design

With how spot-on the costume design is within the movie, it left questions on whether or not the actual Priscilla had any enter on the style. After divorcing Elvis, she owned a Los Angeles boutique known as Bis & Beau, stemming from her love of favor. She additionally serves as an govt producer on Coppola’s movie. Though Battat didn’t have direct conversations together with her, she was in a position to cross on questions by way of Coppola and Spaeny — whether or not it was about her vogue evolution or how you can type Elordi’s Elvis.

“She helped us sort of to know when she stopped sporting stockings, and what Elvis would put on between exhibits when he went to his dressing room,” Battat remembers. “So, all of that sort of got here from her. And likewise, simply that Elvis by no means left his bed room with out being absolutely dressed. And clearly, the stuff that’s within the script comes from her, that he didn’t like her in prints.”

Priscilla Finds Her Personal Sense Of Model And Self

Upon watching Priscilla, viewers are struck by the ultimate transformation that Spaeny goes by way of. Gone are the eyelashes and eyeliner, and her hair noticeably shifts right into a ’70s-inspired straightened look. She washes out the black dye for a gentler, natural-looking honey coloration, seemingly mirroring the inspiration that Los Angeles had on her. And, she begins incorporating prints and denims into her wardrobe. In actual life, Priscilla divorced Elvis across the age of 27, six years after he married her at 21 and met her at 14. We’re then left with the identical query she probably would’ve had on the time: Who’re you once you’re alone?

It’s round this era, too, when the movie begins to depict items of the staged Elvis as he tries on varied jumpsuits in the lounge of the Graceland home or is seen acting on stage within the well-known white ensemble. These had been made between the movie’s in-house tailor, and an organization known as B&Ok Enterprises Costume Firm, which is thought for making “quite a lot of that iconic Elvis stuff.”

“They work with the unique patterns, they usually had been in a position to make the jumpsuit for us and the blue swimsuit that he wears within the picture shoot,” she provides about B&Ok, revealing that these had been a number of the first objects she tried on Elordi. “It’s a small firm. It takes about six months to make a kind of jumpsuits.”

By utilizing these extravagant jumpsuits to distinction Priscilla’s new laidback type, it turns into visually clear simply how disconnected the 2 have grow to be. Through the first half of Priscilla, Spaeny and Elordi really feel coordinated of their type, usually by way of related coloration palettes, like Priscilla’s polka-dot two-piece matching Elvis’ B&W swimsuit when leaving their Las Vegas bender. Priscilla’s adolescence can also be marked by bows being current on most of her outfits, being “indicative of the time” and Battat tied it to the Southern phrase, “The larger the bow, the nearer to God.”

Nevertheless, very like Priscilla’s beehive look, the bows additionally “tapered out as she acquired older,” very like her willingness to stay within the marriage.

Battat displays on a picture from a photoshoot she encountered of Elvis and Priscilla, taken shortly earlier than they acquired divorced — which is recreated within the movie. “I feel that picture actually knowledgeable how far they’d come aside, in a visible manner,” she factors out. In a single nonetheless from it, Elvis takes an influence stance of types, as he wears an all-blue swimsuit, and is the one sitting within the chair with a cigar and a employees. Priscilla is in a lavender outfit, posing beside him from the carpet.

“I bear in mind taking a look at that picture early on with Sofia and us noticing that she was actually uncomfortable,” she says. “There’s one picture the place he’s sort of gripping her arm, and the actual Priscilla seems very uncomfortable.”

“I feel there was additionally extra to that picture that felt disconnected, which is, he’s so embellished,” Battat provides. “He’s acquired a employees and a large collar and jewellery and eye make-up, and he or she is pared down, she’s misplaced the attention make-up, she’s sporting a easy outfit.”

Battat’s costume design work captures not solely this disconnect, but additionally the way in which that vogue is used as a type of management on Priscilla. Early on within the movie, Priscilla desires to work part-time at a clothes retailer whereas Elvis is away — a notion he swiftly shuts down. She is supposed to be there for him.

In flip, we see her rewarded with extravagance, whether or not it’s the clothes, a watch, a hoop, or another reward Elvis supplies to maintain her complacent. Reflecting again to Coppola’s earlier quote, Priscilla does an amazing job of capturing the relatability, earlier than driving house the eventual message by way of a collaboration of Battat’s costuming, Coppola’s directorial imaginative and prescient, and the appearing work of Spaeny and Elordi: it’s okay to depart Graceland when you end up.

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