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Saltburn: Are Jacob Elordi's wings a callback to Clare Danes in Romeo + Juliet? We asked the costume designer

Sure it's Shakespeare, but it's different Shakespeare

Cropped Saltburn poster
Image credit: MGM Amazon

All of the costumes in Emerald Fennell's new erotic thriller Saltburn are interesting, and many of them are downright gorgeous. But there's one in particular that will probably have audiences thinking back to another iconic movie. At the movie's climax, there's a huge birthday party thrown at this immense historic estate. It's Midsummer Night's Dream-themed, and Jacob Elordi comes out wearing a tank top, jeans, and a pair of angel wings.

Is Jacob Elordi's costume in Saltburn a throwback to Romeo + Juliet?

While I was watching absolutely opulent party unfold, my first thought when seeing Elordi went to Clare Danes' iconic wings in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet. However, a cinematic callback wasn't at the forefront of costume designer Sophie Canale's mind. Instead, Canale drew solely from the text, that is, Shakespeare's work itself.

Popverse had a chance to chat with Canale over Zoom about this particular bit of design, and of course I asked what I knew to be a fairly basic question - Were the wings drawing from the Luhrmann film? To my surprise though, Canale answered in the negative. "It wasn't really. As soon as we looked at Midsummer Night's Dream, it was very much the fairies," Canale shared, though she did note the pop culture significance of the Danes costume, "I think any time you use wings, you know, people always go back to that such iconic Clare Danes amazing costume and visual of the walking through the party and the fish tanks."

Still, it is interesting to know that, when it came to Saltburn, the wings had nothing to do with that classic Shakespeare film at all. Canale even went on to address the different impact of having the wings on man, mentioning the "masculine" feel and the "strong shape" on the screen, and how the wings changed meaning as that evening went on.

Saltburn is in theaters now. Buy tickets on Fandango or Atom Tickets.

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