Murder had never looked so appealing.
“Last Night in Soho,” the next horror film from “Shaun of the Dead” filmmaker Edgar Wright, is about Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie), a modern-day design student who is transported to 1960s London at night. She follows an ambitious superstar named Sandie (played by Anya Taylor-Joy, a real-life fashion plate) as she falls into degradation and doom.
Despite the squalor, gore, and ghouls that abound in “Last Night’s” Soho, it emanates a sensual elegance, owing to costume designer Odile Dicks-Mireaux.
“The clothing had to be lovely enough for Eloise to be inspired [to create her own contemporary designs],” Dicks-Mireaux told The Washington Post. “However, they had to be as historically accurate as possible.”
Dicks-Mireaux studied Brigitte Bardot (whose disheveled golden locks inspired Taylor-mane Joy’s in the film), actress Julie Christie, and singer Cilla Black to achieve the swinging ’60s vibe.
She also looked at hundreds of old images of Soho, which at the time had its own distinct aesthetic.
“It was very much a theater world — where people came into town dressed up and put their best jewels on,” Dicks-Mireaux said, describing the neighborhood as “flashy.”
Taylor-first Joy’s outfit for the film, a gorgeous peach chiffon tent dress that she wears to the legendary Cafe de Paris nightclub, drew on that razzmatazz.
Dicks-Mireaux revealed, “That actually came from a paper pattern that I found.” “At the time, many women, including myself and my mother, created their own gowns, and that dress had a fairly basic pattern.” Sandie is a starry-eyed ingenue with no money, therefore she would have had to sew her own dresses.
“It couldn’t be high fashion, but it had to seem sophisticated enough to get into the Cafe de Paris,” in other words. The pinkish tint was inspired by a photograph of Twiggy in a similar garment. “It’s such a lovely color… and it looks fantastic with blond hair.”
Meanwhile, the white vinyl coats worn by Sandie and Eloise throughout the film were originally going to be black, inspired by Petula Clark’s sleek black mac in a video of her singing her hit “Downtown” (which Taylor-Joy also performs in the movie). When she saw Julie Christie wearing a white version in the 1965 film “Darling,” Dicks-Mireaux altered her mind.
“It was fantastic for all of the night pictures,” she remarked. She then went to a costume shop and bought a white vintage coat that was perfect for Taylor-Joy. She also discovered a pair of white space-age Courrèges boots that she had resized to fit the actress.
The coat was so stunning that the filmmakers altered the script to have McKenzie’s character, who had recently become enamored with Sandie, go into a vintage shop and purchase a coat in the same design. “It really grew out of trying things on with the girls and keeping the lines of communication and collaboration open amongst everyone.”
Terence Stamp, the 1960s heartthrob who plays a very nasty barfly in “Last Night in Soho,” was arguably the biggest surprise.
“When I eventually saw him, he said, ‘You know, you can use my clothes [for the film],” Dicks-Mireaux recounted. Stamp, it turns out, “loves” clothes and possessed a sizable collection, which the costumer used to create actor Matt Smith’s slick 1960s suits.
“For Matt, we recreated the silhouette of one of his coats,” she explained. “It was a lot of fun.”