How Netflix's Do Revenge Created All the Costumes We Can't Stop Obsessing Over

Do Revenge costume designer Alana Morshead talked to E! News about how she styled Camila Mendes, Maya Hawke and the rest of the cast in Netflix's new too-cool-for-school teen comedy.

By Tierney Bricker Sep 23, 2022 9:00 PMTags
Watch: Camila Mendes' ELECTRIC Inspiration at Met Gala 2022

Forget cold: Revenge is a dish best served bold.

Netflix's dark teen comedy Do Revenge premiered on Sept. 16 and has already inspired our fall wardrobe with its bright, fun and unexpected fashion. While the movie is set at an elite private school, the costumes are anything but boring, with Maya Hawke rocking a cape and beret to deliver an iconic "high status c--nt" look and Camila Mendes wearing electric blue like she owns it. It's a world where the coolest guy in school wears pearls and the mean girls have matching metallic jackets. Basically, it's the cotton candy version of high school—laced with arsenic—and we couldn't get enough of it. 

For costume designer Alana Morshead, she wanted to work on Do Revenge as soon as she read the script, which simultaneously pays homage to and lovingly mocks the '90s teen comedies she grew up watching. 

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"My agent brought me the script and said, 'I feel like this is totally something up your alley you would love and be drawn to,'" Morshead told E! News. "And she was right. I immediately read it and was like, 'I have to do this movie!'"

Based on the snappy dialogue and subversive world created by director Jennifer Kaytin Robinson and screenwriter Celeste Ballard, Morshead knew she wanted to establish a distinct look for Do Revenge, but also strived to find the right balance.

"You want to notice the clothes but it's not so distracting that you're not paying attention," she explained. "I didn't want to take away from scenes, I just wanted to enhance the world."

Here, Morshead breaks down Do Revenge's costumes, from the school uniforms we wish we got to wear growing up to the dress she had to custom-make for a bearded dragon...

Under the Influence

While she was inspired by many '90s teen comedies that Do Revenge pays homage to, costume designer Alana Morshead cited Jawbreaker as her main reference point, highlighting the "bold colors" of the 1999 movie as a crucial element when it came to dressing the main group of girls.

But Morshead wanted to make sure she kept the costumes relatable to this movie's audience. 

"Even though the costumes are very bright and some are over the top, they still feel realistic," she explained. "I didn't want to go way too charactery where it was almost comedic, where it's like, 'No one would really wear that.' So it was finding that line of being something fashion-forward and innovative but also something you would wear out."

Too Cool for Private School

At first, the filmmakers weren't sure they were going to have the characters wear uniforms, but it was a sartorial move Morshead pushed for because "there's something about private school uniforms that immediately takes you into this clique-y, elite, mean girl vibe."

Morshead's priority was to make sure the school ensembles were just as dynamic as the looks being served outside of school, explaining, "It was keeping it on the same level because we see them at school so much."

To make sure the uniforms still highlighted the personal styles of each character, Morshead used accessories, including socks, jewelry and nail polish to differentiate the looks. 

And a major inspiration for Morshead was the capes and berets worn by students in South Korea, though she tweaked the style for a functional reason given the movie's setting.

"Those references I found, they were more practical because they were wool and they were for warmth," she explained. "I loved that look, so I said, 'How could I use that but make it Miami?' Let's make it a very thin fabric and pastels."

Extra, Extra

The biggest challenge for Morshead was having to dress hundreds of extras in "huge" scenes, including house parties and school events—especially when her massive order of the uniforms from overseas arrived just days before filming began due to COVID-19-related shipping delays.

"I didn't have a backup, so I just really took a gamble," she admitted, adding that her team also handmade many of the pieces seen in the movie, including the berets, capes, sweaters and skirts.

"It's a ton of pieces for so many people," she said. "I wanted to make enough to where, when we saw the group, it had depth to it. It wasn't all flat and exactly the same."


Well, Camila Mendes is definitely not in Riverdale anymore, with Morshead finding inspiration from '90s supermodel style—namely Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista in George Michael's "Freedom" music video—to craft her character Drea's bright and bold look. 

"It's the big hair and the huge earrings and the dark makeup and everything is very short and tight," Morshead said. "I was keeping her in more blues and purples and a cooler palette."

And Morshead designed her favorite Drea look, a white and pink pant-set, after seeing a photo of Iman.

"It was my reference and I loved that picture," she shared. "I knew the style of that '60s cigarette pant would look really good on Drea and it was so hot in Miami. I was like, 'okay, this needs to be a halter.' I love how that turned out."


For Eleanor's makeover, Morshead wanted to make sure she didn't make the character "a mini-Drea." Instead, she noted, it was "really playing off" Stranger Things star Maya Hawke's vibe: "She's very laidback, chill, California."

So Morshead opted for a "mod '60s" vibe, finding inspiration from Twiggy and a young Goldie Hawn.

"It's a warmer tone, more the mustards and burnt oranges and reds," she explained. "Drea wasn't making her over into a clone of herself. She was making her into what she believed would be the best version for Eleanor."

Morshead's favorite outfit for Eleanor was a matching overall and hat look from Miracle Eye, a family-run Latina business based in L.A.

"I really would just scour Instagram for independent brands and female-founded companies," she said. "There are so many of them in the movie, which is so cool because now they are getting highlighted."

Let's Go Party

Morshead created Drea and Eleanor's standout looks for the movie's climactic Admissions Party.

"We wanted that to be super special," she explained. I knew it would be at nighttime and there would be fire, lights and a crowd. So how do we get them to stand out from a crowd that's also going to be really dressed up? I wanted something that could really reflect."

An image of Carla Bruni became the inspiration for Drea's green iridescent gown, which had a surprising design element added to it. "My assistant costume designer introduced me to the beauty supply stores in Atlanta," Morshead said, "which are incredible and the chains on those dresses are actually two belts that were $1.50 each."

When it came to Eleanor, "I loved the idea of an androgynous oversized suit," Morshead noted. "She's still just too cool to be like, 'I'm going to get a dress or gown.' Like, of course she's wearing a cool suit and can pull it off."

"I remember I woke up one day and was like, 'Orange zippers. I need to make something with orange zippers,'" she continued. "I went to the fabric store and I bought 75 orange pants zippers and we sewed them all together and then wrapped it around and made it kind of a corset top."

But the bright lamé fabric was a gamble, Morshead admitting, 'A lot of people were like, 'I don't know, Alana.' And I was like, 'I know, it could be terrible. But let's just do it, we need to try it!' Of course, we did it and we were like, 'This is it!'"

The Guys

The boys in Do Revenge are just as fashion-forward as the ladies, especially Max (Austin Abrams), Drea's ex-boyfriend. Harry Styles was "all over the mood board" for the character, Morshead revealed, explaining that she wanted to update the archetype of what the most popular guy in school would look like in 2022 in comparison to teen movies of the past. 

"He's wearing a pearl necklace or he's got an earring or nail polish," she said. "Back then, maybe he would've been made fun of. Now, highlighting being yourself is cool."

As for Russ (Rish Shah), Dre's alternative blue-haired love interest, playing up the contrast between the unexpected couple was key.

"We really wanted to separate him from the group and the school," Morshead said. "I just love how opposite Drea he is and it makes it so much sweeter that they would never think to be with each other just by looks or school status. But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter what you wear and who you hang out with."

Finally, Outer Banks star Jonathan Daviss' personal style was the inspiration for his character, Elliot, Morshead opting for bright and flowing fabrics. "He's just the coolest," she explained. "Like, Jonathan didn't need much. So just highlighting his effortless style and then bringing the Miami in with loose, open shirts."

The Mean Girls

To set the cool clique of girls apart from the rest of the stylish high school groups, Morshead paid homage to Grease's Pink Ladies by having Tara (Alisha Boe), Meghan (Paris Berelc) and Montana (Maia Reficco) wear matching jackets.

The metallic pastel numbers were custom-made for the movie by The Mighty Company, a female-owned business in L.A., and Morshead wanted each character to have her own color.

"I just imagine every girl being like, 'I wish I could wear that jacket,'" she admitted.

Headmaster In Charge

Cult favorite Sarah Michelle Gellar plays the badass (and well-dressed!) school principal, a fitting homage to her iconic turn as Kathryn in Cruel Intentions. And getting to work with the star was "definitely an 'Oh gosh!' moment" for Morshead.

"The second I walked in, she was so welcoming. She really respects the craft and she's just such a pro," the costume designer said. "We had a really nice time creating this character where she fit into the school but she wasn't wearing something that wasn't realistic. Her and Drea have some pretty intense moments, so I didn't want to distract from that by having her wear something crazy. We kept it really clean and sleek and very chic."

Bearded Dragon Fashion

The most important item of clothing in the movie is arguably the custom dress worn by Oscar Winner Olivia Colman, Eleanor's pet bearded dragon. But Morshead revealed the scene-stealer wasn't in the initial script.

"I remember getting a text from the assistant director being like, 'We're going to have a bearded dragon and we're going to need a dress,'" Morshead recalled. "I was like, ‘What?!' It was such a weird, funny text to get."

In order to make the dress, Morshead received a photo of the animal lying down next to a tape measure to get the proper proportions. "We were like, 'OK, so let's make some teensy clothes,'" she said with a laugh. "Olivia was a total pro and not a diva."

Do Revenge is streaming on Netflix.

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