The cult classic ’90s film charmed audiences, but its wardrobe budget was one of the lowest ever.
Filmmakers are used to sparing no expense when it comes to both securing their talent and making their visions for the movie set come true. And while it may sound crazy to fans to find out that their favorite shows or movies cost millions to produce, the results are clearly worth it for everyone involved.
But not every film pulls out all the stops a la ‘Titanic,’ the film with a $200M budget that James Cameron maxed out, only skimping on a single element of production. No, some films cap their budgets, whether out of necessity by the producing studio or because they just don’t need a ton of cash flow to bring their vision to life.
And that’s true of at least one cult classic ’90s film: ‘Clueless.’ Sure, it features one very expensive outfit that Alicia Silverstone donned in the opening scenes. And the movie did earn her a hefty payday, so some amount of cash was tossed around. But apart from that one Jean Paul Gaultier ‘fit, the wardrobe budget was kept exceptionally low by industry standards.
IMDb trivia reveals that Jen Chaney, a pop culture writer who penned a book about ‘Clueless,’ explained that the set’s costume designer had a specific idea of what the girls needed to look like (well, and the guys, too).
Mona May, the designer, wanted the girls to resemble “mall rats” and not models, so the costume changes (of which there were 63!) were on the budget end. Well, in Hollywood terms at least; the entire budget for the ‘Clueless’ cast’s wardrobe amounted to a measly $200,000.
It did probably help that some cast members wore items from their own closets; Charlie Pea notes that Paul Rudd wore his street clothes a few times because it felt authentic for his character. The ‘college kid’ finished college a few years prior, but his band tees helped make up the funds so that Cher could have an even more epic wardrobe.
The $200K includes that Jean Paul Gaultier number, plus 62 other outfits. No word on the exact cost of the iconic yellow outfit, but it must have been something; that $200K split among 63 outfits is still over $3K for each ensemble. And the only Cher look fans can get today is a knockoff Gaultier for a few hundred bucks or so.
But considering that other movies often spend close to a million dollars on clothing — especially for ballroom scenes or weddings — the bottom-line budget for ‘Clueless’ isn’t that crazy. Besides, fans remember what Cher’s closet looked like; no way any of that was from Target!
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