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‘Ocean’s 8’ costume designer talks about dressing Rihanna, Cate Blanchett for heist of the summer

In the summer film "Ocean's 8," style and a heist go hand-in-hand. The movie stars, clockwise from front left, Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Rihanna, Mindy Kaling, Awkafina, Helena Bonham Carter, Anne Hathaway and Sarah Paulson.
(Barry Wetcher / Warner Bros. Entertainment)

How do you pull off the biggest heist of the summer — and do it in style? That’s no problem if you’re criminal mastermind Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock), the estranged sister of Danny Ocean (George Clooney) from Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s” trilogy.

“Ocean’s 8,” the Gary Ross-directed summer spin-off, which was released this month, follows Debbie Ocean’s release from prison and her desire to pull off a planned heist at the Met Gala in New York. She enlists a group of experts to help her: partner-in-crime Lou (Cate Blanchett), fashion designer Rose Weil (Helena Bonham Carter), jeweler Amita (Mindy Kaling), suburban mom Tammy (Sarah Paulson), professional pickpocket Constance (Awkafina) and computer hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna).

Cate Blanchett, left, as Lou and Rihanna as Nine Ball in “Ocean’s 8.”
(Barry Wetcher )
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Together, they attempt to steal a rare $150-million Cartier necklace, which will be worn by celebrity Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) at the annual star-studded gala.

“Ocean’s 8” costume designer Sarah Edwards worked with several designers, including Alberta Ferretti, Zac Posen and Jonathan Simkhai, to create custom looks for the all-female ensemble. Here, Edwards breaks down the characters’ off-duty wardrobes, their personal styles and Met Gala looks.

Debbie Ocean’s (almost) all-black wardrobe

Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean in “Ocean’s 8.”
(Barry Wetcher )

“I wanted her to have a stealth quality. So she could move in and out of different places somewhat unnoticed. We didn’t use a lot of pattern or colors, keeping her very long and lean. ... We reached out to Alberta [Ferretti], who was able to deliver an incredibly beautiful dress for her. It had an embroidered oceans motif in gold with shells and seaweed.”

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Lou’s rock-’n’-roll vibe

Cate Blanchett as Lou in “Ocean’s 8.”
(Barry Wetcher )

“Her character owns a nightclub in New York, and we thought about what her history was, probably a rock ‘n’ roll pioneer in the ’80s and ’90s. We looked at a lot of iconic rock stars throughout time — what they did and how they wore their clothes and jewelry. She’s a very strong character, so we ended up doing ’70s three-piece suits, which became her silhouette through the film. We incorporated vintage jewelry and scarves. Each one was kind of painfully chosen from everywhere — from a thrift store to Burberry to H&M. Getting those layers and textures was really important to defining her character.”

Rose Weil’s fashion designer-ready looks

Helena Bonham Carter as Rose Weil in “Ocean’s 8.”
(Barry Wetcher )

“Her character is a fashion designer who has been an iconic designer but has lost a little bit of her following in the last decade or so. We looked at a lot of designers who have remained timeless and current in spite of trends — people, like Vivienne Westwood, who have managed to remain relevant after a decade. We were interested also in somewhat timeless clothes for her. A lot of the Japanese [brands] like Comme des Garçons and Yohji Yamamoto have that quality, whether it’s from [the] 1980s, 1990s or 2000s. [At the Met Gala,] she’s wearing Dolce & Gabbana from the Alta Moda collection. It’s a head-to-toe moment.”

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Daphne Kluger’s movie star appearance

Anne Hathaway as Daphne Kluger in “Ocean’s 8.”
(David Lee / Barry Wetcher )

“We looked at all sorts of iconic movie stars, like Elizabeth Taylor, and we did a sort of update on what that would be. She’s always dressed, always put together. She wore a lot of Cartier jewelry throughout the film. [For the Met Gala,] we really wanted to have that cape so when she goes up the grand staircase, she can make that incredible entrance.”

Amita’s conservative-turned-experimental style

Mindy Kaling as Amita in “Ocean’s 8.”
(Barry Wetcher )

“She starts off the film [dressed] more conservatively because she’s still living at home with her family. As she becomes more involved with the girls in the heist, she starts to find herself and strike out on her own. We had her move into wearing pants and different things that would show she was experimenting with a different identity.”

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Tammy’s prim-and-proper outfits

Sarah Paulson as Tammy in “Ocean’s 8.”
(David Lee / Barry Wetcher )

“When she comes back into the heist to work with the girls, she gets a job undercover working at Vogue magazine. We looked at pictures of different assistants who worked at Vogue over the years. When she was in that Prada gown at the gala, she’s working for Vogue.”

Nine Ball’s computer-hacker style

Rihanna as Nine Ball in “Ocean’s 8.”
(Barry Wetcher )

“She plays a Rastafarian computer hacker who is totally uninterested in trendy fashion in any way. A lot of her clothes came from the Army/Navy [store]. She’s in a lot of oversized clothing. Then, we have this incredible Cinderella transformation that happens, and she goes into that red Zac Posen dress. It’s an incredible reveal, and what’s great is we haven’t seen her in anything like that up until that point.”

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Constance’s streetwear style

Awkafina as Constance in “Ocean’s 8.”
(Barry Wetcher )

“We looked at a lot of urban kids and skate culture to get her look together. A lot of her clothes were from thrift stores, some from skate shops and Opening Ceremony. For the Met Gala, Jonathan Simkhai did a custom dress for her. Like Rihanna, it was another one of these incredible transformations because most of the film she’s in sneakers, jeans and a beanie.”

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