5 Questions with The Bling Ring Costume Designer Stacey Battat

Sofia Coppola's new film, The Bling Ring, is based on a true story of pampered Cali kids obsessed with fame and labels (who happen to burglarize the rich and famous). We spoke with costume designer Stacey Battat to discover her creative process and learn more about the characters' individual style.

L-R: Tassia Farmiga, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Katie Chang and Claire Julien / Photo courtesy of eOne Entertainment

L-R: Tassia Farmiga, Israel Broussard, Emma Watson, Katie Chang and Claire Julien / Photo courtesy of eOne Film

You can recognize a Sofia Coppola film right from the first look or listen. Each film, from The Virgin Suicides to Marie Antoinette to Somewhere, have a distinct dreaminess and imbued cool that permeates everything from the poster fonts to the soundtrack to the wardrobe. In her newest film, The Bling Ring, open this Friday, June 21, the costumes are the subtle star. The audience is immediately presented with late ‘aughts upper middle class California kid style as influenced by The Hills, the rise of the celebutante and gossip blogs and fashion magazines galore. It’s a cohesive, exact look that reflects the true-story plot of a group of high school thieves who burgled the homes of the rich and famous including Paris Hilton, Audrina Patridge, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Bilson and the ultimate get for ringleader Rebecca (Katie Chang), Lindsay Lohan.


Katie Chang, Israel Broussard and Chole Julien / Photo courtesy of eOne Film

The woman responsible for the wardrobe is Stacey Battat, a former Marc Jacobs designer who worked with Coppola on Somewhere and whose work can be seen on the upcoming Julianne Moore film What Maisie Knew. We caught up with Battat to find out how each character’s style was created, from polished Rebecca to Emma Watson’s party girl Nicki, and to find out which pieces were her personal favourites.

Emma Watson, Marc Broussard and Katie Chang / Photo courtesy of eOne Film

The gang selling off some of their stolen goods / Photo courtesy of eOne Film

How did you meet and first work with Sofia Coppola?

I met Sofia a long time ago while working at Marc Jacobs. She was incredibly supportive of me when I left Marc to pursue a career as a fashion stylist and continued to be supportive of me when I made the switch to costume design. Somewhere was the first movie we did together, but we did numerous other projects together before hand. She is one of my favorite people to work with.

How did you approach each character’s style?

I always create a mood board as does Sofia. Sofia’s is often more encompassing and includes references for costumes, but also other things like light and the general vibe of the movie. I will then create each character’s mood board based on her board as well as the script. We then discuss it and proceed with fittings once we agree about the look.

Rebecca’s style is more polished and less skin-baring than her friends’ more sexually overt styles — did you want her to stand out as the ringleader?

Yes, I always wanted Rebecca to stand out as the ringleader, but also she was the one most genuinely interested in fashion. The other girls were more interested in celebrity and perhaps didn’t appreciate the actual clothes they were stealing in the same way that Rebecca does.

Katie Chang as Rebecca / Photo courtesy of eOne Film

Katie Chang as Rebecca / Photo courtesy of eOne Film

Marc’s character gets a bit of a makeover after hanging out with Becca and her friends. He wears more slim-fitting shirts and his sneakers get more high end. How does this reflect his character’s journey in the film?

I have always thought of Marc as kind of a sweet kid who just wanted to belong, I have no idea if this is true of the real Marc, but the way Sofia portrayed him was much more sympathetic than the other characters. I was hoping to convey a little bit of insecurity in his costume choices. He progresses from being slightly awkward and uncertain to place of acceptance. The other kids were already going to Le Deux, Marc [just] finally got invited.

What are a few of your favourite pieces from the film?

I love Marc’s Balenciaga sneakers, Rebecca’s Lous Vuitton cape and Chloe’s name plate necklace and rose gold watch.

Photo courtesy of eOne Film

Photo courtesy of eOne Film