Charlize Theron's Atomic Blonde character Lorraine Broughton kicks ass and takes names in the action thriller. And as it happens, the most elite spy in MI6 has a seriously enviable wardrobe. Costume designer Cindy Evans says the photography of Helmut Newton influenced her wardrobe choices for Lorraine.
Atomic Blonde is set in 1989, right before the fall of the Berlin Wall, so Evans looked to Newton's work from the same era. The German-Australian photographer is best known for his provocative black-and-white photos that frequently appeared in Vogue and other prominent publications.
"I looked at a lot of Helmut Newton's work from the '80s and couldn't help but be drawn into his photographs and how they imbued strength and sensuality in such a graphic way," Evans told Fashionista. "I used texture to elevate mood and style and to keep her in a heightened stylistic state."
Evans also explained how one costume in particular was influenced by Newton. During a fight scene, Lorraine wears a cream coat, sweater, skirt, garters, and over-the-knee boots.
"[The look paid] homage to Newton, but this time through an Ellen Von Unwerth image that I came across of a girl in a white coat looking fierce with garters exposed — looking very Newton-esque," she told the outlet. "I knew I wanted to parlay that somehow and that costume is what I came up with. I think what makes Atomic so fun to watch is her unapologetic reverence for style set against the savage brutality of her missions in Berlin. Her sweater is Dior, the coat is Massimo Dutti, the skirt is Wolford and the boots are Stuart Weitzman."
Evans also shared that, in preparation for the film, she did extensive research on the punk scene in Berlin during the late '80s, and one of Lorraine's looks (a black and white-striped sweater that matched the lamp behind her) was a nod to Debbie Harry. She and her assistant spent a great deal of time exploring thrift stores all across Europe.
"It was quite a feat to pull it all together, and we found incredible clothing in the end, hoping to strike a balance between what was historically correct and what would make this a stylistic and visceral experience for the audience," Evans said.