Dressed to kill: How costume designer Jenny Eagen brought the Glass Onion ensemble to life

Chris Evans' sweater is so last season.

When diving into the world of Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, costume designer Jenny Eagen, who also designed the first Knives Out film, was eager to start entirely anew, swapping winter wear for island glamour.

"I felt like it could go to an absolutely new, exciting place where I didn't have to be married to anything except Benoit Blanc, and even he is completely different," Eagen tells EW, speaking to her desire to build as many costume pieces as possible. "I just wanted to make as much as I could to make it really special and make a splash and make these characters so individual."

We'd say she accomplished the job and then some, bestowing the film with flashy and eye-catching looks that span the gamut from over-the-top to very beige. Glass Onion is now in theaters for a limited one-week engagement before hitting Netflix Dec. 23.

Here, Eagen and the cast break down some of the film's best looks.

Swimsuit issue

Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery
Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery

John Wilson/NETFLIX

Given that Glass Onion takes place on a private island with an envy-inducing swimming pool, there was always going to be a need for swimsuits. Eagen started with Blanc (Daniel Craig) — and a firm adherence to the idea that he would never be shirtless, even when submerged in water, because of the onscreen baggage of the actor playing him. "We've seen James Bond enough," she says.

Craig and Eagen make a formidable team, meeting and chatting about the ins and outs of Blanc before she took to the drawing board. "If I give her an idea, she runs and flies with it," he says. "I had a number of references as ideas — things like [the films of] Jacques Tati and the [Hitchcock] movie To Catch a Thief. Jenny picked them up and ran with them."

Now that he mentions it, we can definitely picture Cary Grant in this seersucker swimming costume. "If only," Craig demurs. "God, I wish."

Eagen ran with Craig's ideas, hoping to give Blanc something that felt a bit more of a time gone-by. "There's a dandy about him that takes you back to a time before," she explains, also noting Blanc's tendency to dress the part for his destination. "It borders on period and old-fashioned, but yet contemporized a little bit. He's a character dressing for where he's going and what he's getting into. This detective has done the research and says, 'Well, if I'm going [on vacation] with the very rich, I've got to play the part.' And we also decided that he's well traveled."

How did they hit on this instantly iconic blue-and-white ensemble though? Eagen says it's all because of Frank Sinatra. Initially her idea was for something made of terry cloth, a very '60s look, but when visiting her shirt-maker, she was struck with inspiration. "He was like, 'Oh, my dad used to build Frank Sinatra something,'" she remembers. "His dad was also a shirt maker and he had the patterns. He brought out old pictures and I was like, 'This could be amazing.'"

Pegged for the role

Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery
Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery

John Wilson/NETFLIX

Though there's no shortage of glamour in Glass Onion, there are also characters who fade a bit into the background when it comes to their style — namely Peg (Jessica Henwick), personal assistant to eye-catching model, Birdie Jay (Kate Hudson).

But Peg's drab attire was actually Henwick's idea. "Originally, I came in and she looked cool," the actress tells EW. "She was supposed to be wearing leather jackets and skinny jeans and combat boots. And I was just like, 'No, let's make it that it looks like she's two shades off of fashionable.' The bucket hat is really in right now, but there's something about the way that she wears it that you go, 'Oh, no, that's just a bucket hat to her. She has no idea that's trendy right now.' And her shorts are just joggers, and she's cut the legs off of them."

Perhaps nowhere is Peg's lack of interest in fashion more evident than in her utilitarian swimwear. "I said, 'I want to wear a sports bra rather than a bikini,'" Henwick notes. "Because everyone had to have a swimsuit look. And I was like, 'I think she would wear a sports bra because she was just like, 'I can't be bothered to bring workout clothes and swimming clothes.' I wanted not a sexy sports bra, but I wanted it to look like a uni-boob, just one giant breast. It really came together beautifully. As soon as I was in the costume, [director] Rian Johnson was like, 'Done. You're done. No changes. That's it.'"

Strip it down

Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery
Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery

Netflix David Bautista and Madelyn Cline in 'Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery'

Amid the glam, there was also room for some outrageous looks — namely for Dave Bautista's Twitch influencer Duke Cody — and it helped that the stars were game for whatever. "These actors are exceptional all on their own," says Eagen. "You're like, 'How far are they willing to go?' For instance, Dave Bautista was like, 'Yeah, I'll do anything.'

That anything turned out to be a barely-there animal print Speedo, with a holster for Cody's gun. "When Jenny first brought it out, I was like, 'Oh, man,'" Bautista remembers. "I'm blushing now thinking about it. I feel like I've worn less. I wrestled in front of millions of people wearing just as little. But for some reason, I just was really self conscious about this damn Speedo. And then when she told me I was going to be wearing a gun on top, I was blushing and embarrassed but at the same time laughing my ass off because it's just so ridiculous."

From that suit, Eagen found an animal print palette for Duke throughout. "It was the Speedo first," she says. "I was like, 'Oh, well there's a [beach] wrap, and then we could do Crocs and then the gun and the whole thing.' It was animalistic."

Bautista was even more surprised he didn't need to hide his tattoos for the role. "I was shocked that they were not only going to put me in this little banana hammock, but that they were not going to cover my tattoos," he adds. "I was like 'Man, I'm just really going to be showing myself to the world.'"

Similarly, Duke's better half, Whiskey, tells us a lot through her clothes — and her costumes were essential to actress Madelyn Cline in piecing together her character. "It really started with Jenny in the costume fitting," she tells us EW. "I saw the fringe bag and the boots and I was like, 'Oh, this girl has not moved on from 2014 or '15. She stayed in her 2015 Coachella era and has never left.'"

Taking it overboard

Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery
Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery

John Wilson/NETFLIX

For former model Birdie Jay, Eagen used actress Kate Hudson's mother Goldie Hawn as her primary inspiration, specifically her looks in 1987's Overboard.

"[Hudson] has the most confidence, physically, of anyone I've ever met," Eagen says. "I wanted big, bold prints because she can carry it off."

They custom-made everything for Hudson, which the actress adored. "Jenny had all these amazing fabrics and prints and color," gushes Hudson. "That immediately got us excited and I brought in some friends to do jewelry. We were able to create some original jewelry looks."

Adds Eagen: "We made some of the jewelry. Kate brought a lot of jewelry connections to the table. She's got a lot of great friends. But we made jewelry and we were able to go wild with it. Kate was just into it. The bigger, the better. And when she gets a piece, she knows how to work it."

From costumes to jewelry, Eagen felt she had a lot of freedom because of the playfulness that comes with vacation wear. "We could push the envelope a little bit and not have to be so perfect," she reflects. "Because they're all taking a trip."

It costs a lot of money to look this cheap

Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery
Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery

Netflix Edward Norton in 'Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery'

Though Eagen had plenty of inspiration from the tech world when it came to costuming Miles Bron (Edward Norton), she chose to do things a bit unconventionally and avoid something on the nose like a Steve Jobs black turtleneck. Instead, she wanted it to be deceptively simple.

"It's like, 'You have so much money that even the t-shirt is the most expensive t-shirt in the world, but it looks like it's nothing,'" says Eagen. "The jewelry and the necklace make it ostentatious. It was simplifying him to sell that idea of, 'Even at my dinner party, I can be so relaxed.' It's probably dripping in money because it was custom-made. That was the idea with him — relaxed, laid back, 'This is not a big deal. This is my house. This is my stuff.'"

Beige is the new black

Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery
Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery

Netflix Kathryn Hahn, Madelyn Cline, Edward Norton, Leslie Odom Jr., and Kate Hudson in 'Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery'

"Kathryn Hahn, I think wants to kill me," laughs Eagen. That would because her politician, Claire Debella, is outfitted solely in a palette of beiges and creams.

"The beige was all Rian Johnson," explains Eagen. "That was him. He was like, 'Oh, politician beige.' That was written in." Johnson adds: "[In the wardrobe department], it was just a beige wall."

"It was definitely heartbreaking to go to my first fitting," says Hahn, "and see, for example, Kate's rack, Andy's rack, Daniel's rack, Leslie's rack. But then I embraced it."

Adds Craig: "I laughed the loudest when Jenny showed me Kathryn's rack. Beige!"

But even though Hahn is glib about her boring color palette, she admits that it was helpful in keying into her character. "The beige was interesting because there was less to hold onto," she says. "The center would not hold, which I thought was very interesting as a politician. There is a tightness to Claire. But it doesn't necessarily matter what side of the aisle she's on. It's power and wanting an agenda."

A cut above

Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery
Glass Onion A Knives Out Mystery

John Wilson/NETFLIX

Eagen was most intimidated by Janelle Monáe, a style icon in her own right. "I'm a huge fan of her style and her fashion," she says. "It's really difficult when those things happen because I can't compete with that."

"You want to push it with her, because she can go there," the costume designer adds. "But sometimes we had to pull back a little bit." That directive led to crisp, monochromatic suits, expertly tailored.

As intimidated as Eagen might have been, Monáe only has praise for the designer. "I told her some of the style icons that I was thinking about, and she just got it, and was very collaborative," the actress sats. "We talked through fabric, and making sure that all the details were her theme. Andy's clothes do a lot of work for her. Jenny did a really incredible job finding those visual representations that matched up with my energy."

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