‘Clueless’ Costume Designer Mona May Reveals Inspiration For The Yellow Plaid, Christian’s Rat Pack Look, & Working With “Hippie” Alicia Silverstone

By Anna Klassen

“Alicia [Silverstone] was so young at the time. She was a hippie girl running around with dogs in her sweatpants,” says Clueless costume designer Mona May. “Here we are putting her in all the designer clothes in the world.” The beloved film turns 20 this year, and two decades later the costume designer who made Alicia Silverstone synonymous with yellow tartan and gave Azzedine Alaia a new significance is reminiscing about the fashion forward film. “When Alicia put the clothes on, everything changed. She started walking differently, moving her head differently, flipping her hair. It’s what we do as costume designers, we give them the tools. There were sixty changes for each of the girls,” the blonde, dressed in a bright red pantsuit and an off-kilter fedora, admits. “The whole fashion is in a way aggressive. We wanted to push it.”

Being a huge fan of the film — I even lived life as Cher Horowitz for a day —  I was oozing with questions to ask May about the movie’s many looks, but had to begin with the film’s most iconic ensemble: The yellow plaid. And it turns out, her inspiration for the outlandish getup was rooted in reality. “You start with: What would the girls’ first day of school outfit be? The quintessential plaid skirt,” she says. “Then you want to take that to the next level. So you say a suit would be much better. Then what color? Yellow pops. Red would be probably not right. [Alicia] tried it on and it looked amazing.” For more, click here!

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