Dressing Cameron Diaz

Paula Thomas talks The Counselor

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If you haven’t yet seen The Counselor, starring Michael Fassbender, ELLE’s special cover star for December, we would urge you to do so. Not only is Fass on fine filmic form but so is his co-star Cameron Diaz, who plays hard-ass ‘hunter’ Malkina.

‘There’s no humanity in Malkina,’ Diaz says of the character. ‘She’s soulless. Her world is very, very dark – so she wants to wear a façade to deflect all of that.’

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Cue an uncompromisingly sexy, modern wardrobe provided by Paula Thomas of Thomas Wylde – director Ridley Scott’s first choice when it came to dressing his femme fatale.

We caught up with Thomas to get the inside track.

What was the starting point for dressing Cameron's character?
I had several discussions with Ridley, who is incredibly detailed, and I read the script written by [Cormac] McCarthy. Lastly, I spent the day with Cameron, who came to my studios where we began the process of dissecting each scene and creating the looks.
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Where do Thomas Wylde and Malkina cross over?
I think there are elements of Thomas Wylde in Makina's character but she is, of course, a character, so the clothes were reflected differently than me styling them for a runway or presenting the collection in its entirety. I believe the idea of Malkina wanting to stand out and be bold with an edge is a part of the brand’s aesthetic.
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Can you talk us through some of the particular pieces she wears?
I have two pieces that I love. The red mini dress in the yellow Ferrari scene is perfect for her many ways. Firstly, the print itself is leopard, with bullet holes shot through it, which makes it kind of ironic. I also love the craziness of the yellow car against the red – plus the fact she is doing something in this scene that leaves your mouth agape.

The second piece I love is the very body conscious black dress with one sleeve, because she just looks incredible in the piece.

I also love the last piece she wears; this dress originally did not have the hoodie but Cameron felt she needed to be hiding herself and have a certain mystique. (Well, she had just killed all of her fellow characters and made off with $20 million – a very good reason to be hiding!)

We understand you and Ridley Scott are old friends; how was it working with him?
Ridley is very detailed and knows exactly what he wants. His body of work is astonishing and I was incredibly honoured to even be thought of. I was very nervous at first, but he has a great way of throwing you into the character that I just put my head down and got on with it. He is a true artist and master of his craft.

Malina aside, who are your all-time favourite female film characters?
I loved Michelle Pfeiffer in Scarface and I also loved Sean Young in Blade Runner.

The Counselor is in cinemas now.

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