How ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ Reimagines the Retro-Cool Beauty of the ’50s

Much has been said about Don’t Worry Darling, from the film’s off-screen drama to the mixed-bag reviews—but the one thing nobody can take away from the film is that it’s visually stunning. The psychological thriller more than makes good on its intentions to look as if it were plucked straight out of an old-fashioned Slim Aarons photograph. 

Set in the 1950s—seemingly in Palm Springs or another similar idyllic California locale—Don’t Worry Darling follows a housewife, Alice (Florence Pugh), who lives with her husband, Jack (Harry Styles), in a utopian community known as the Victory Project. The midcentury-modern set design and the stylish period costumes created by Arianne Phillips (who worked on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) vividly bring this world to life. But what really punctuates the vintage aesthetic is the beauty, which was crafted by makeup artist Heba Thorisdottir and hairstylist Jaime Leigh. The pair credits director Olivia Wilde for giving them the freedom to see their visions through wholly and completely.

Photo: Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

“What I realized with this movie is that there’s a difference between working with a female versus male director,” says Thorisdottir. “[Olivia] understood our language and what we can and can’t do to achieve certain things. She was just so open to every idea and let not just me but everybody shine in what they do. She always knew when to step in and when to step back.” For Leigh, this was critical in creating midcentury-inspired beauty looks, which always require a delicate balance—but especially with what Wilde was trying to achieve. “When designing a ’50s- and ’60s-inspired look, it can be very easy for styles to start looking mumsy, overly conservative, and a little drab,” says Leigh. “After reading the script and first speaking to Olivia, it was clear she wanted to make Victory a feast for the eyes—all the glamorous and sexy parts of the ’50s and ’60s without all the rigid, overly structured unflattering sides. She wanted the women to have a fun and a freedom to them and always look fabulous.”