Island Elegance

Peter Mountain/Courtesy of FilmDistrict and GK Films

Oscar-winning designer Colleen Atwood channeled 1950s Hunter S. Thompson for "The Rum Diary."

To capture midcentury Puerto Rico in FilmDistrict's adaptation of the semi-autobiographical Hunter S. Thompson novel The Rum Diary, Colleen Atwood channeled the gonzo journalist and late-'50s style. "At the time, there was a mini-renaissance in San Juan. It had this romantic flavor, almost like the 1940s," says Atwood, who looked at photos of a young Thompson to create star Johnny Depp's look. The actor plays an idealistic, often drunk American journalist obsessed with Amber Heard's Chenault, the fiancee of a linen-suited business schemer (Aaron Eckhart). Atwood -- who has worked with Depp on a handful of films including Alice in Wonderland, for which she won an Oscar -- dressed him in classic, well-tailored pieces: cord trousers, Panama hats and sports jackets in wrinkle-resistant, lightweight cotton. His vintage glinting gold-metal sunglasses add a showy touch to his somewhat preppy wardrobe. "I got them from this great little eyewear store on Melrose," says Atwood. For Heard's character -- "she's a possession, just like the Corvette her fiance owns," says the actress -- the designer custom-made hourglass cocktail dresses. "We wanted her clothes to be from another world," says Atwood, who took a fragment of lace from her own fabric collection for the bodice of Heard's sweetheart dress (above). "She's such a beautiful girl with an exceptional body," Atwood says. "She doesn't need much to enhance her look."

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