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Let's Do Revenge: A Costume Analysis

Revenge. This theatrical and empowering cinematic trend, with all its heartbreaking twists and turns has brought us to the release of a fabulously fascinating teen film, Do Revenge. Not only does it have an unexpected plot and witty line delivery, but a level of costuming which is so admirably unafraid.

Stills from Netflix's Do Revenge

At a flashy and flamboyant party, we meet the first of our two vengeance-bound leading characters; Drea. Chicly dressed and full of ambition, she appears in a bold blue mini dress under a holographic sheer jacket, along with a pair of heart-shaped earrings, her soon-to-be staple. Drea has a ‘meticulously curated’ lifestyle in the spotlight, compared to her peers who were born and raised into the wealthy private-school pathway. Therefore brighter colours and shinier fabrics make sure she remains the focus of the night.

Similarly, she wears her uniform tidily, with a headband and matching heels; her best friend Tara, however, sports the same uniform with a messily tucked-in shirt and a more relaxed demeanour with comfy yet classic lilac loafers. The contrast in style and attitude clearly depict Drea’s need to spare no effort to keep her place.

We see Eleanor for the first time in a striped shirt and blue denim jacket, the sleeves casually rolled up — she’s easy-going and unconcerned with her reputation. Or is she uncomfortable with her femininity?

Fresh wholesome colours at tennis camp - a yellow tennis skirt, clean white polo and cap indicate Drea’s longing to reinvent herself. After intimate videos of her are released by her ex-boyfriend, she signposts innocence with cute and childlike hair clips. Eleanor is dressed as casually as ever, but perhaps she could be playing with status and luring Drea into a false sense of security.

Stills from Netflix's Do Revenge

Eleanor becomes subject to the most tried and tested trope: the ugly duckling transformation. What were once band t-shirts, or in her words, Billie Jean King-esque attire, become plaid school uniforms and 20s inspired couture. Saddle shoes with her uniform allude to the 50s, playing on Max’s ‘fake woke’ nature to win his favour. Paired with pearl accessories and gold jewellery, manifesting her status of school royalty, she is ready to infiltrate Drea’s ex-friend group.

Breaking into school is a demanding task so doing it fashionably is a must. Both Eleanor and Drea are dressed in shades of yellow, displaying how they believe themselves to be saviours of their classmates, something that seems contradictory considering their morally grey actions.

Stills from Netflix's Do Revenge

The senior ring ceremony meal featured some interestingly seasoned courses. Many of the characters seem to be dressed in drop waists and silvery tones, a callback to the roaring 20s, known for its similarly unbridled parties coupled with women becoming more empowered.

Drea is belittled and gaslighted by many people around her, which piles up until she breaks and skips school for the day with motorcycle-riding Russ. When she finally leaves school at the brink of her temper, her uniform is almost completely bare of accessories, depicting her loss of motivation as well as her past self along her journey. Feeling betrayed, she releases evidence that her ex-boyfriend Max has been cheating with many girls in school. Red graphic liner symbolises her actions becoming more corrupt.

Stills from Netflix's Do Revenge

Gabby and Eleanor go out (finally) with Eleanor dressed in red heart earrings, literally depicting a girl in love, and a flower printed top, showing that she is unafraid to show her tamer side to Gabby and is glad to get a break from the aggressive atmosphere created by Drea. At her birthday party, Eleanor is given a blue bomber jacket similar to the ones worn by Drea and Tara at the begining of the film, confirming her induction into the group. She puts this over her clothes, covering herself with her new identity. Drea crashes this party in feather trim, as dramatic as the scene she makes.

When Eleanor, or should I say Nora, reveals her ulterior motives, she is in an all black sequined outfit, expressing how she is romanticising her sabotage of Drea. She makes it look as if it was done for fun, as much as karma and justice. She herself jokes that she has a costume change to visit Drea in the hospital; a striped orange, lilac, yellow and black jumpsuit set, a possible illusion to the Joker as she carries out her retaliation.

Stills from Netflix's Do Revenge

The admissions party — the final stop in the girls’ journey together. The pin Nora gives to Drea as a camera and microphone is a dragonfly, a symbol of self-realisation, change and transformation. Drea then decides to destroy it, emphasising her pivotal moment. The decision to place the two frenemies in contrasting colours demonstrates they balance each other out.

Stills from Netflix's Do Revenge

Left peacefully sitting in the aftermath of their year-long quest, Drea returns to her vivid pastels when abandoning the graduation with Eleanor, who is dressed in a pale green and white gingham set of trousers and a bralette. She has finally become comfortable with her femininity and showing skin, turning her bitterness into confidence with the very person she spent time resenting. Drea wears her signature heart earrings while making up with Russ, expressing that she has found comfort in being a beautiful collation of her old self and the version of her she has newly found.

The film’s costuming must be some of the most bright and bold clothing in cinema, sparing no expense or drama even on the background characters and making the film even more full of joy and colour. It compliments the distinct message of letting go of malice in favour of moving on, growing up, and understanding no one can be titled ‘good’ or ‘evil’, but that a dazzling and unignorable blend of both is far more interesting.

Words by Miranda Webb

(@mirandaisnotcool on IG)

Edited by Lucy Eaton

(@llucyeaton on IG)


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