How “MaXXXine” is reinventing 80s slasher film fashion

Director Ti West’s breathtaking horror trilogy comes to a bloody, glamorous conclusion in the new film MaXXXine. Emphasis on glamorous—set in the dark underbelly of 1980s Hollywood, where there’s no shortage of over-the-top makeup, acid-washed jeans, and teased hair.

We first fell in love with Maxine (Mia Goth) in 2022 X, a tribute to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre set in the 1970s and delves into the disrupted history that preceded it in the same year Pearlset in 1918 Texas, we now get to follow her ultimate quest for superstardom – and the clothes themselves play an important role in this film, perhaps more so than in the previous two.

Bazaar spoke to costume designer Marie-An Ceo to find out more about how she brought Maxine to life, showed a different side of ’80s fashion and how to run a costume department with all that fake blood flying everywhere.

This is the third film in a trilogy, but the first of the trilogy that you designed costumes for. How MaXXXine relate to X And Pearl?

Every film has its own look, which I think is one of the reasons why these films are so successful. Artistically, they all have their own feel. Ours has this very stylized, ’80s genre that’s very typical of roadhouse and slasher films. There’s that whole ’80s feel where the films were exciting, and we really played into that. The production design, the lighting, the costumes — everything really captured that.

Are there any references to the previous two films?

This one is personal, but we had this “Oui” T-shirt. I bought this T-shirt second-hand when I was a kid and I wore it everywhere. And apparently one day my dad, [who] was very conservative, saw me on my 10-speed bike with that T-shirt on, and he almost had a heart attack—Yes was a men’s magazine from Paris in the 70s and 80s. And “Oui Oui Marie” is a song in Xso in a way the “Oui” T-shirt that we used in this film is a nice nod to Xand it was also my naughty T-shirt that I shouldn’t have worn.

Also Maxine’s jeans outfit. Ti was very specific that he wanted something that referred back to her overalls [in X]. So we did that with this two-piece suit that looks like overalls. This ’80s version of overalls. This is our nod to that, but in acid-washed denim.





Acid-washed denim! The 80s are a visually rich period.

I lived in the 80s but I have to say there were a lot of styles that were emerging at the same time: punk was there, disco was still kind of emerging, we were getting into the New Romantic style, men were wearing glamorous makeup in the clubs, there were so many different club worlds that were emerging… and instead of going for this Valley Girl version of the 80s [style]We really wanted to draw from the club scenes. We didn’t just want to be “the broad-shouldered 80s” but we have a bit of that. Maxine is tough, but she’s more. She’s part Blondie, part Flash dancing. She’s from the 70s, while we’re now in the mid 80s.

Did you use a lot of vintage costumes for this film, or did you make your own costumes? Or both?

With Maxine’s character, we had to have a lot of multiple characters with all the stunt doubles, but we did pretty much all of her stuff. We did her acid-wash jeans, we did most of her dresses; for the scene in Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, we were inspired by the glamour of the 1930s and Scarface. We made ninety percent of what Maxine wore ourselves.

I can imagine that vintage can be difficult for a film like this: all those stunts and all that fake blood.

We actually did something that most costume designers would shudder at: we had some really bad multiple costumes. We had some great original 80s costumes, like Michelle Monaghan in this great 80s leather jacket and Sergio Valente jeans, so we did some really bad multiple costumes when it came to the stunts. Because sometimes it’s really hard to recreate vintage when it’s this good. In terms of the backgrounds and the crowd scenes, they’re pretty much all original 80s pieces.



You’re no stranger to the slasher genre, having worked on franchises like Friday the 13th, the Texas chainsaw massacre, And A nightmare on Elm Street. How does this project compare to other slashers you’ve worked on?

It’s really funny because I don’t actively seek it out. I started making these films with Michael Bay and got into it that way. I grew up in a small town in Florida that had one movie theater, and I remember going to see the original movie Texas Chainsaw Massacreand I would cover my face 90 percent of the time, but there’s something about being in the theater with all those people screaming that I found quite exciting. I don’t like watching people die, but I do like what those movies can do to an audience. I love so much of the movies from that era. In this case, I would say Ti did such a good job with Pearl And X that I thought, this guy has something special. So when this job came up, I said, “I’ll kill It.”

Is it difficult to come up with costumes when there’s so much blood flowing?

Of MaXXXine I got so fixated on the period pieces that we found, and when we were filming, we were facing a strike that was about to happen, so this was a much faster preparation than we normally would have done. I was living dangerously! Usually you have a dozen of one thing that’s on there. With MaXXXineWe were going to have the original and then some really lopsided multiples. Her 80s leather pants were so beautiful, we couldn’t replace them – we tried to make others that had to do stunts, but nothing fit as well as the original pants. We did put on other pants as multiples, but it was one of those situations where we really fell in love with the originals. One thing that’s different about this movie is that we did it so old-fashioned. We kept using some of the same bloody stuff [take after take] and just time it right. It was like an old 80’s movie: “Just wipe the blood off and it’s good!”



Did your actors try to steal anything from the set?

This time, interestingly enough, people were very polite and asked for their stuff! That happens a lot. One thing is this T-shirt we put on Moses Sumney. People used to write on T-shirts a lot in the 80s and one of his options was this T-shirt that he had written poems on and he wore it inside out. I’m not sure what happened to Moses’ poetry T-shirt!

This interview has been shortened and edited for length and clarity.

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