Much has been said about Don’t Worry Darling, from the film’s off-screen drama to the mixed-bag reviews—but the one thing nobody can take away from the film is that it’s visually stunning. The psychological thriller more than makes good on its intentions to look as if it were plucked straight out of an old-fashioned Slim Aarons photograph.
Set in the 1950s—seemingly in Palm Springs or another similar idyllic California locale—Don’t Worry Darling follows a housewife, Alice (Florence Pugh), who lives with her husband, Jack (Harry Styles), in a utopian community known as the Victory Project. The midcentury-modern set design and the stylish period costumes created by Arianne Phillips (who worked on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) vividly bring this world to life. But what really punctuates the vintage aesthetic is the beauty, which was crafted by make-up artist Heba Thorisdottir and hairstylist Jaime Leigh. The pair credits director Olivia Wilde for giving them the freedom to see their visions through wholly and completely.
“What I realised with this movie is that there’s a difference between working with a female versus male director,” says Thorisdottir. “[Olivia] understood our language and what we can and can’t do to achieve certain things. She was just so open to every idea and let not just me but everybody shine in what they do. She always knew when to step in and when to step back.” For Leigh, this was critical in creating midcentury-inspired beauty looks, which always require a delicate balance—but especially with what Wilde was trying to achieve. “When designing a ‘50s- and ‘60s-inspired look, it can be very easy for styles to start looking mumsy, overly conservative, and a little drab,” says Leigh. “After reading the script and first speaking to Olivia, it was clear she wanted to make Victory a feast for the eyes—all the glamorous and sexy parts of the ‘50s and ‘60s without all the rigid, overly structured unflattering sides. She wanted the women to have a fun and a freedom to them and always look fabulous.”
Naturally, this meant many Victory women are channeling the most glittering stars of the time. Margaret (KiKi Layne) nods to Bettie Page with eyelash-grazing micro bangs, while Violet (Sydney Chandler) embodies the gamine beauty of Twiggy and Mia Farrow with a wispy pixie cut and doe-eyed lashes. Bunny (Olivia Wilde), meanwhile, delivers a cross between Bette Davis and Rita Hayworth with sharp brows, red lips, and flame red pin curls. “We wanted the beautiful period-specific wave and structure but also wanted to make sure that the wig still had plenty of movement and bounce,” says Leigh of Wilde’s custom-made coif, created in collaboration with wigmaker Robert Pickens of Wigmaker Associates. Together, they worked to achieve a pitch-perfect red hue—a riff on Hayworth in Gilda—made from four different fiery shades.
While Alice’s look is still very much retro inspired, it was important for there to be a stark contrast between her and the other Stepford Wives–esque women. “It was very evident from the story line and costume designs that Alice was different; she’s independent, she doesn’t have kids, she’s freer,” says Thorisdottir. “Even in this dream world, she wasn’t like the other wives who are more traditional, more perfect.” In terms of both style and attitude, Brigitte Bardot’s ‘50s French-bombshell look arrived as a natural beauty muse for Pugh’s character.
Her artfully teased fringed mane—achieved with Kevin Murphy’s Anti-Gravity roller set, Sachajuan hair powder dusted at the roots, spritzes of Oribe Dry Texture Spray for grit, and a blast of Tresemmé unscented hairspray for hold—was textbook Bardot, worn in an array of the Gallic icon’s signature styles, from a soft bouffant to pulled back in an effortlessly chic updo. “The use of black accessories—such as the beautiful wide, tie-at-the-tip housework headband; her simple black ballet headband; and, of course, her signature Alice black velvet bow that we see whipping around in the wind throughout the final chase scenes—created a wonderful contrast against Florence’s blonde,” Leigh says. “We wanted the styles to move, bounce, and look effortlessly sexy.”
In harmony with this rawer, more lived-in look was the make-up. To give Pugh a healthy glow, Thorisdottir placed de-puffing Talika hydrating patches under the eyes before adding a veil of Kat Burki’s vitamin C face cream. “It’s a beautiful underneath foundation, as well as at the end of the day something to nourish the skin,” she says. Then she mixed a few drops of hydrating serum into Giorgio Armani Luminous Glow foundation for natural, lit-from-within coverage. Finally, to add “warmth” and dimension, she swirled “corally and peachy”-shaded pigments into the cheeks using Tower 28 cream blush and on the lips with Stila’s long-wear matte and Glossier’s Generation G lipsticks. As for Jack, Thorisdottir used make-up to subtly perfect his complexion, while Leigh took cues from Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra (“but in a more relaxed style,” she emphasises) to finesse Styles’s famous tousled crop. “Harry’s hair naturally has wonderful volume and texture, so I will say my job was easy,” says Leigh, who used a blow-dryer to smooth and streamline with a touch of American Crew moulding paste for polish.
Of course, the Don’t Worry Darling trailer already makes it clear that Alice and Jack’s perfect façade will crumble. “As cracks in their idyllic life begin to appear, Alice’s hair unravels just as she does,” says Leigh. “When she’s happier, her hair is much more styled with more volume. When things are going awry, her hair is flatter and lanker.” In the same spirit, Thorisdottir pulled back the polish on the make-up for Alice’s darker moments, gradually mixing more serum into the foundation to sheer it out and show more skin. In a climactic desert scene, Pugh’s Alice is a far cry from her former self, wearing very little make-up with dewy skin, a deep flush, and dry, flaky lips. “Florence is such a trooper,” says Thorisdottir of how readily Pugh embraced the visual evolution of her character. “She was so game for all of it. There was no hesitation, ever, with her.”
Needless to say, Don’t Worry Darling leaves no detail forgotten on the beauty front—and trust that there are even more inventive moments where that came from, especially when it comes to the film’s plot twists. (But we couldn’t reveal those without offering some major spoilers.) So you’ll just have to believe us when we say that the astonishingly beautiful hair and make-up is just another element of the Don’t Worry Darling aesthetic dreamworld you’ll want to escape into—until you don’t.
This story originally appeared on Vogue.com.