The summer film season is kicking off with Disney’s much-anticipated Cruella, the latest installment of villain-centric Disney flicks. On the fashion front, Tom Davies, the British eyewear designer, has designed the glasses for the characters Cruella (played by Emma Stone) and The Baroness (played by Emma Thompson) for the live-action feature film about the rebellious early days of one of cinema's most notorious – and notoriously fashionable – villains, Cruella de Vil. What began as a small project for Davies ended up with him making glasses for almost the entire cast of the film, which launched simultaneously in theatres and on Disney+ with Premier Access for a one-time additional fee on 28 May 2021.
Cruella, set in 1970s London amidst the punk rock revolution, follows Estella (Stone), a young grifter with a flair for fashion who catches the eye of the Baroness von Hellman (Thompson), a fashion legend who is devastatingly chic and terrifyingly haute. But their relationship sets in motion a course of events and revelations that will cause Estella to embrace her wicked side and become the raucous, fashionable, and revenge-bent Cruella.
Davies was initially called in to create frames for the Baroness, alone. But while researching the period, he noticed almost everyone at that time (pre-contact lenses and laser surgery) was wearing glasses. Working closely with Jenny Beavan, the film's multiple Academy Award-winning costume designer, Davies was asked to provide glasses for nearly every cast member – a total of 120 frames. Multiple pairs were created for Stone to help track her metamorphosis from Estella to Cruella.
Davies' factory is based in London, just 30 minutes from Shepperton Studios where Cruella was filmed. Although bespoke frames usually take up to four weeks to make, the tight deadlines resulted in Davies handmaking frames personally and delivering them just hours after the fittings. To ensure the 1970s-style reproductions were perfect, Davies created an old-fashioned acetate press to handmake the raw materials – a technique which proved so successful that it is now a permanent part of his eyewear design process.
Said Davies: “I absolutely loved the challenge of working on Cruella, especially as I found myself on a roller coaster eyewear bonanza of making glasses for everyone. I've only myself to blame as I wanted the film to look as authentic as possible – and glasses were ubiquitous in 1970s London. It was such an honour to work with the legendary Jenny Beavan and the brilliant production team. I can't wait to see the film – and all my frames – up on-screen.”
To coincide with the film's release this May, Tom Davies will promote the collaboration in select retail stores worldwide and with bespoke content reflecting the placement featured in the film across his social platforms.
Visit tdtomdavies.com for more information.