By Sara Radin
Low-rise, boot-cut jeans adorned with paisley embroidery and studs; candy-colored halter tops; ombré-tinted sunglasses dotted with glittering rhinestone hearts. These are just a few of the iconic, Y2K pieces that make up the ass-kicking wardrobe of McG’s 2000 take on Charlie’s Angels. Small details, like stitching and tapering, were key to telling the story of Charlie’s three powerhouse ladies Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, and Lucy Liu, who played private investigators Dylan, Natalie, and Alex. “The clothes also had to be very functional because they did all these karate kicks and had to fly through the air and stuff,” costume designer Joe Aulisi tells MTV News.
From stretchy fabrics to knee-high boots, whether they were fighting evil with high-flying martial arts moves while cheekily disguised as yodelers or dancing on stage at Soul Train on a first date, the angels always looked put together. But their clothes also matched their distinct personalities while still complementing each other and looking fierce on-screen. Take the jam-packed finale: In a fight against the villainous Eric Knox, Diaz’s Natalie, who is quirky and sporty, rocks a body-hugging top with a sheer, mesh back and tight black pants; Barrymore, who plays a free spirit and dresses more casually, wears a vintage T-shirt with jeans; Liu, who plays the bookish yet bossy Alex, wears an all-leather ensemble layered over silver chainmail. Naturally, it’s an iconic celebration of female empowerment.
The film, originally based on a sitcom of the same name from the 1970s, debuted 20 years ago this month, followed by a sequel in 2003 and a remake in 2019, but it has never felt more relevant to this moment. Plenty of trends from the early aughts have come back into style thanks to Gen Z’s growing interest in secondhand clothing along with the rise of reseller platforms like Depop and Etsy, while remakes of movies from that era have become increasingly commonplace. Nowadays, nostalgia in fashion and film offers a sweet escape to the past. That’s why MTV News spoke with Aulisi to learn more about how he toed the line between humor and sexiness to create standout wardrobes for everyone’s favorite three angels.
MTV News: When I was rewatching the movie I noticed a lot of ombré sunglasses, which was amazing. What were some of the references for the costumes?
Joe Aulisi: We covered a lot of bases in terms of some retro-looking stuff, some more contemporary. Some of those little things were important even earlier than, obviously, 2000. But all of that was planned, and then small little bits of jewelry were sometimes specific to a character. We also tried to do a little nod to things at the time the movie came out so there was a larger frame of reference.
A lot of it was influenced by the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. One of the objectives with the costumes in general was they should be fun as well as being sexy, that they should have a playful look to them. California style was also part of it, as in the palette of all the bright colors and sunshine and all that stuff that comes with Los Angeles.
Ninety percent of the clothes I designed and had made, just to get a different look or to get multiples, because sometimes we needed six of the same thing with all these stunts they were doing and stunt people and photo doubles. That was a very heavily stunted show, so that requires more costumes that are designed so that you can raise your arms and you can do high kicks and you can do all these things that they had to do constantly throughout the whole movie.
MTV News: What was some of the inspiration behind each of the girls' looks? How did you build out this narrative of who each of them were through the clothing you designed?
Aulisi: I think Cameron and Drew's characters, and in real life, are equally free-spirited. They love the outdoors and are extroverted, so they wore lots of color and patterns because they were not afraid to take chances. But Lucy’s character was much more introverted and scientific. She was more uptight and, consequently, she had a more neutral palette and lots of black. There was just a more serious tone to her clothes compared to the other two girls.
MTV News: Cameron Diaz’s character wears a lot of halter tops and skinny, spaghetti-strap tank tops whereas the other two don't.
Aulisi: Right. Cameron was very athletic, as well, and did a lot of dancing, so that was more freeing in terms of things like showing more skin — because it was also 2000. Now it's just a much more sexually liberated period of clothing and what people are willing to wear and what you see on the runway. It's very different than 20 years ago in terms of what was acceptable by the public and what they expected to see.
We wanted the clothes to look sexy but it wasn't the overt sexiness that I see today with totally nude tops or sheer things with very little underneath. It was meant to be playful, fun-loving, youthful, spirited. All those things went into consideration of designing the costumes, and it was especially fun to do the disguises.
MTV News: Seems like humor also played a part.
Aulisi: Yes, the belly-dancing outfits were meant to be sexy but also humorous; it wasn't meant to be taken seriously, which I think the audience got. But the clothes also had to be very functional because they did all these karate kicks and had to fly through the air and stuff. But that all had to be figured out ahead of time, before the clothes were made. We used a lot of stretch fabrics. Sometimes they had to wear special shoes because they needed to be covered more, or they had gloves on, because they had gear on.
MTV News: I noticed the color black became really prominent towards the end. What did the color black represent for the characters?
Aulisi: They were undercover many of the times. They were working at night and all these things helped them disappear. It was also very magical on camera and we added details so it wasn’t just plain black ensembles. There was black leather and chainmail so you could get a flash of skin.
MTV News: Will you tell me more about the beautiful red gown with the crystals Lucy Liu’s character wears at the cocktail party?
Aulisi: I wanted to do something flattering and something that would really catch your eye. She is the only one in red fabric, which really picked up the light, and then it was heavily embellished with jewels. That was because there were quite a few people in that scene and they were, you know, background people for the most part. So to make her pop, I put her in red.
MTV News: There was a lot of embroidered denim. I noticed Drew was wearing an embroidered and studded denim jacket at one point.
Aulisi: That was a throwback back to the ‘70s. She had to have a slight hippie vibe to her character, she was more Bohemian and had that second hand store kind of thrown-together look. She was probably the most casual of the three. She loved vintage T-shirts and she played in a rock band at one point.
MTV News: Boot-cut jeans were big throughout the film.
Aulisi: Not all of them but some of them, because what it does is it gives you a little move. I think bell bottoms would have been OK, but it had nothing to do, again, with when we shot the movie in 2000, but the idea of a flare-cut thing when you're running and if you're flying through the air, you get that motion at the bottom. The girls just looked good in it.
MTV News: What were some of the challenges you ran into when building out their looks?
Aulisi: They're three very different sizes but we tried to make them appear the same. But the same outfit on three people very seldomly works, even though they're similar. So that was always a consideration, to make them an ensemble without putting the three identical outfits. All these things that go into the considerations of the design and then the way something is executed in terms of the way there's some fabrics that were used.
As the designer, you have to always consider, especially when you've got three people that are always on screen together, that you have enough differentiation between the three actors and can still make them look like they're part of the scene even though they’re not wearing the same exact thing. Often they're not colors that necessarily complement each other, but they still have their own life to them. As you could imagine, it was a really fun job and everybody had a good time. It was fun to dress the characters.
MTV News: There’s a lot of joy radiating through the characters.
Aulisi: Yeah, it sort of sparkles. It's tongue-in-cheek humor and it moves very quickly. And the clothes got a lot of recognition, which I really enjoyed.
MTV News: Did you notice how the film impacted fashion trends after it came out?
Aulisi: I am a costume designer and not a stylist, so my head is much more focused on the characters and how things look on film and that kind of thing, as opposed to trying to make some fashion statement or keeping up with the fashion trends. What happens is that by the time the movie launches nowadays, the trends are already yesterday.
Charlie's Angel Costume
Charlie's Angel Costume
Time: 2 hours
Effort: Easy no sewing required
- 1970s style top (a halter top or something glittery)
- Flared jeans (or bell-bottomed jumpsuit, instead of jeans and top)
- Small water gun
- Platform shoes or boots
- Long, blonde feathered wig (if your child's hair is short)
- Big earrings
- Pink glossy lipstick (a must!)
Instructions: Have your child put on the clothes and apply pink lipstick. Remind her to carry the water gun, and to strike a "Charlie's Angels" pose!
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With so many different ideas for DIY Halloween costumes out there, it might seem impossible to pick just one! But if you were a child of the disco era like Ree Drummond, then why not draw inspiration from these fun '70s costume ideas? Thanks to references to beloved '70s movies and TV shows like Saturday Night Fever, Star Wars, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show, you'll be a hit at this year's Halloween party. You'll also find more generic picks that embody the decade, such as a gold disco jumpsuit or a long tie dye hippie dress that you can buy as a no-stress last-minute Halloween costume!
If you're planning on cute best friend costumes this year, then you'll love the ideas with iconic duos like Laverne and Shirley or the Charlie's Angels characters. Music lovers will want to check out outfits that represent their idols such as Elton John, Diana Ross, or Debbie Harry. There's even an adorable DIY Elvis Presley costume for your baby! If you're really leaning into the nostalgia this Halloween, you'll want to also take a peek at the '80s costumes out there and see what you prefer. Either way, these '70s costumes are perfect for a fun throwback theme this Halloween!
Charlie’s Angels Costume for Cosplay & Halloween 2021
The 2000 adaptation of Charlie’s Angels featuring Barrymore, Diaz, and Liu is now a cult classic. But the original angels have actually been around since the ‘70s. Nevertheless, these super spies are known for their awesome moves and oozing charisma as they reprehend big baddies.
Looking like an Angel is quite easy as they do have an affinity for black outfits. But if you want to go in-depth, each angel still has her own style. Here’s everything you need to look like Natalie, Dylan, and Alex from Charlie’s Angels.
Charlie’s Angels Costume Guide
How to Make Natalie Costume
How to Make Dylan Costume
|1||Black Tank Top||Start off your outfit with a black tank top.|
|2||Black Blazer||A fitted black blazer is professional yet womanly.|
|3||Black Suit Pants||Match your blazer with a pair of smart suit pants.|
|4||Black Pumps||Go for professional with a pair of black pumps.|
|5||Auburn Wavy Wig||Look like Dylan with this long, auburn wig.|
How to Make Alex Costume
About Charlie’s Angels
Charlie’s Angels were portrayed by Drew Barrymore (Dylan), Cameron Diaz (Natalie), and Lucy Liu (Alex) for the 2000 adaptation of the film Charlie’s Angels. Barrymore, Diaz, and Liu are also known for their other roles in other projects.
Check out these sites to read more about Charlie’s Angels:
Heather Chandler (Heathers) CostumeHeather Chandler costume is a white blouse topped with a red jacket, a black and white plaid skirt, high socks, marry jane shoes, and a red hair scrunchy.
Josie & the Pussycats CostumeYou can recreate the Josie and the Pussycats sexy and cute costume with a leopard one-piece swimsuit together with leopard cat ear headband and tail. You can also pair it with leopard high-heels.
Romy & Michele's High School Reunion CostumeRomy and Michele's matching costume feature pink and blue short dresses, heels, chokers, and earrings. You can also wear matching blonde wigs to complete the costume.
The Devil's Rejects CostumeCaptain Spaulding wears a plaid shirt, cargo pants, and working boots. Otis wears black bell jeans without a shirt, a belt, and black working boots. Baby wears a brown spaghetti dress and cowboy boots.
Spring Breakers CostumeSpring Breakers’ costume is a pink bikini, black joggers with DTF at the back, pink masks, and their own gun.
The Strangers CostumeDollface, Man in the Mask, and Pin-Up Girl costumes are easy to create since their outfits are not remarkable. Just remember to wear the right mask, and you’re good to go.
Ideas costume charlies angels
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In the latest entry into the Charlie's Angels franchise, Elena Houghlin (played by Naomi Scott) is a programmer and engineer who joins forces with the Angels to stop the energy conservation device Calisto from being implemented. Elena is smart and an MIT graduate. Throughout the course of the film, Elena discovers an entirely new set of skills as she bonds with fellow Angels Sabina and Jane. Elena wears a plethora of colorful and diverse outfits in the movie, leaving plenty of room for you to find an outfit that speaks to your own personal sense of style.
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9 Style Lessons From The Original Charlie’s Angels
Good morning Angels. Good morning Charlie. That legendary line that just keeps cropping up. The much-loved franchise has been rebooted three times now. Most recently staring Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott and Ella Balinska and with Elizabeth Banks in the directors chair.
While the 2000 film version, starring Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore, will always hold a special place in our hearts, when it comes to style inspiration it’s the original TV show (on air between 1976 and 1981) that takes the top prize in the sartorial stakes.
The first lineup of female detectives, played initially by Kate Jackson, Farrah Fawcett and Jaclyn Smith, became fashion icons in their own right. From the checkered shirts and pussy bow blouses to the high-waisted bell bottoms and sequin jumpsuits, their aesthetic shaped the wardrobes of a whole generation of women.
In fact, their looks really have stood the test of time, and with seventies fashion on the agenda again for SS20, their outfit choices are just as wearable now as they were then.
Here are our 9 rules for nailing their style...
Wide-leg jeans are a key element of the seventies silhouette. Play with proportions and pair with a silk shirt, fitted blazer, and heeled boots.
The humble slogan t-shirt never dates. For a seventies take, tuck in flares and wear with a large buckle belt.
Give any ensemble a seventies twist with the addition of a loosely-tied neck scarf.
A halterneck crop top isn't just for the beach. Take your cue from the the Angels and dress it down with jeans and trainers.
Keep it simple with with denim shorts and a lace-up vest. Beach read and feathered hair optional.
Colour blocking feels more wearable when you choose a muted shade. Side note: rattan basket bags go with everything.
The polo neck was an essential part of the original Angels' uniform. Wear with straight leg jeans and loafers for a modern take on the trend - just stay clear of the red wine.
A kimono-style shirt screams chic. Dip your toe into this trend and pair with jeans, or go the whole hog and wear with matching trousers.
There is no better dancing outfit than a glittering jumpsuit. Partner with sky-high heels and a smokey eye and you're good to go.