This story first appeared in the Oct. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Cameron Diaz crawling over a yellow Ferrari in a silk cocktail dress riddled with cheetah print bullet holes is one of several eye-catching fashion moments in Ridley Scott's thriller The Counselor (out Oct. 25), courtesy of Los Angeles designer Paula Thomas, who dressed Diaz for the film.
Thomas, founder of edgy rocker-chic brand Thomas Wylde, was "honored and beside myself" when Scott phoned to offer her the wardrobe gig -- her first -- for Diaz's cold-blooded drug-lord consort character, Malkina. "When I found out Malkina had two pet cheetahs, I knew this was my kind of girl," says Thomas, who has known the director for years. (Scott's late brother, Tony, was a godfather to Thomas' son.)
Meanwhile, costume designer Janty Yates (Prometheus) dressed co-star Penelope Cruz in understated Emporio Armani, but Scott wanted something outrageous for Malkina, who uses clothes "as a mask for the darkness that lurks inside," says Thomas, whose line is at L.A. stores Gregory's and Just One Eye. "She's manipulative and calculating, so she uses her showstopping wardrobe as her facade to distract from what she's really doing. The clothes are a power play."
Diaz spent a day at Thomas' studio and together they created Malkina's look. Thomas says Diaz was "very articulate" about Malkina's wardrobe, requesting a hood be added to a studded shoulder dress to add mystery and a sense of disguise. Malkina's 15 or so outfits were custom made or pulled from archives -- each one a statement piece where shoulder pads, bold structure and prints heighten the visual impact. Says Diaz, "My immediate reaction was that it was as fierce as Malkina herself."