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How ‘Ocean’s 8’s’ Costume Designer Crafted Unique Looks for Each Character

The polished fashion sense of the “Ocean’s” franchise is at the heart of Gary Ross’ opulently costumed “Ocean’s 8.” The film, to be released by Warner Bros. on June 8, follows a jewelry heist pulled off by an all-female crew on fashion’s grandest night: the Costume Institute’s notoriously exclusive Met Gala.

Costume designer Sarah Edwards infused each member of the star-studded cast with a distinct identity. “Cate Blanchett had 40 changes; Sandra Bullock had 65. It was a mixture of everything,” she says of her diverse designs, noting that she custom-made some garments (like the looks of a fictional runway show featured in the film), while others were discovered off the rack and in thrift stores — or in the case of the characters’ gala gowns, made by top designers.

Ex-convict Debbie Ocean (Bullock) is paired with minimalist, practical lines — with bold coats and cutout dresses in the mix — and a single-shoulder Alberta Ferretti gown featuring underwater-themed sequins. Debbie’s nightclub-owner friend Lou (Blanchett) echoes the previous films’ Rat Pack-like tailoring with colorful custom Burberry suits; ’70s menswear served as an inspiration, enriched by leather, vintage pieces and layered accessories. Complementing Lou’s “obvious rock ’n’ roll past” is the shimmering green jumpsuit she wears to the gala, an archival Givenchy piece in the ’70s glam spirit.

For Anne Hathaway’s impish movie star Daphne Kluger, Edwards went with classic curve-hugging, off-the-shoulder dresses. A bright pink, strapless Valentino gown with a cape showcases her Cartier necklace — the crew’s object of desire. Meanwhile Helena Bonham Carter’s idiosyncratic, past-her-prime fashion designer Rose Weil exudes a sense of eccentricity in a Marie Antoinette-ish Alta Moda gown by Dolce & Gabbana. “It was important she didn’t feel too contemporary, [with clothes] she’s been wearing since the ’80s,” explains Edwards, adding that Rose mixes a little Vivienne Westwood with Japanese influences.

Sarah Paulson as Tammy, a prim suburbanite turned Vogue employee, stands out in strong-shaped knits, mimicked later by the puffy shoulders of her navy Prada gown. “We looked at a lot of different employees at Vogue. There’s a little Tory Burch in her — the real woman. That shoulder silhouette felt right for her,” says Edwards. “Rihanna’s character [Rastafarian computer hacker Nine Ball] wears oversized men’s clothing, things from thrift stores. So her Met Gala look was a Cinderella transformation with that beautiful, completely body-conscious red gown [by Zac Posen]. It was an important reveal.” Playing the utilitarian street con Constance, Awkwafina owns a similarly transformative scene, when she appears with an Old Hollywood hairdo in her embroidered Jonathan Simkhai gown.

As the jeweler Amita, Mindy Kaling wears a caped gown by Naeem Khan, with head-to-toe gold beading from nearly 150 bead factories in India. “They worked around the clock to finish it,” Edwards says. “Designers often have a year to work on a Gala dress. In our case, they had weeks. The cast didn’t see the dresses until days before wearing them.”

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