Re-watching the film for the first time in 15 years this summer, I was surprised by how important clothing choices were to the plot. They came from Fiona’s lair: a dark underground facility where excited forecasters ran around saying things like, “Hairy tank top, matching pants, some sort of Buffy meet chicken run, ”and“ The new word for cool is jerked. “As soon as this command center declared a trend, you started seeing it in costume.
Just one year into the decade, Evans summed up the aesthetics of the early aughts very well. He knew he couldn’t make a film with the latest trends if it was old news by the time it hit the theaters. So she did a bit of the forecast, and realized that fashion was pointing toward a sumptuous 70s aesthetic and some really low-key pants.
Evans saw pictures of Halston and Yves Saint Laurent’s models and musings, then peppered them with the band’s signature leopard print and lots of sparkle. “Before shooting, I ran into several different jeans companies, and I said, ‘Hey, let’s make these low-rise jeans really low.’ I kept saying, “Smaller, shorter, shorter.” “We had to make a lot of clothes to order because at the time nothing was low enough,” said Evans. “To be honest, in that film, I probably specially designed and made about 95% of the clothes.”
Every time I rewatch it Josie and Pussycats, I see something different in the way clothes signify an internal shift in character, or portend upcoming developments. They almost function like subtitles, adding context to the exaggerated excitement of the plot. There are five main stylistic themes in the film, each centered around color. The pack moves from pink to orange to blue to purple to an animal print. At first, everyone except our heroine was dressed up in neon pink to varying degrees. There are obvious fashion casualties, like a bunch of girls who show up at the Pussycat show to mock them. Josie fired at them, “Hey, did you all coordinate before leaving the house, or did you wear the same clothes by accident?” (Later, these girls showed up in ‘Cats’ hotel rooms to be fangirls, and all of them were wearing blue.) By the time the Pussycats arrived at their makeover scene – no 2001 chick flick would be complete without a montage like that – the color was already on. cycling from orange to blue. The girls walked out of John Freida’s salon wearing purple, which, in a moment, will be the next color.