Whether you loved it or hated it, there’s no denying Saltburn has become one of the most talked-about films of 2023. With more than its share of visual delights (and horrors), the satire of British social hierarchy has, at the very least, captured a sense of nostalgia among those who lived through its chosen time period: 2006.
Through music, fashion and pop culture references, Saltburn director Emerald Fennell resurrected an era that is yet to be fully seized-upon by TikTok.
“The reason that I chose that time period is that it’s not back in fashion yet but it’s not so old that it’s vintage. But it doesn’t look good anymore,” Fennell told Vogue.
Those who can recall the pop culture frenzies of 2006 will clock details in the film that hark back to the era: everyone reading Harry Potter, listening to Cold War Kids and stocking your wardrobe from Topshop.
Fennell, who is 38 and would have been a teen herself in 2006, and Saltburn costume designer Sophie Canale (who also does the costumes for Bridgerton) reportedly went through friends’ old Facebook photos to inspire some of the clothes in Saltburn.
“Sophie was absolutely wonderful with bringing out that deeper level of period detail: the terrible accessories, the tiny scarves, the awful sort of clittery-clattery jewellery that everyone was wearing in 2006. She got it all,” Fennell revealed in the film’s production notes.
However, Canale had her work cut out for her when sourcing the clothes that would cloak our main characters.
“Clothes from 2006 and 2007 aren’t in the costume houses,” Canale has said. “They’re still in people’s wardrobes or in charity shops. So, there was a learning curve of how we could source these costumes. Since the Catton family wear designer clothing, we did a lot of research into what was happening on the catwalks of the period but then that was all filtered into through the perspectives of each of the characters. So, you have the brightness of Venetia, the pastels of Felix, and Sir James in his autumnal country-style clothing.”
Some designers did come to the party with outfits from their archives, with Canale explaining they received, “a Christopher Kane dresses from 2006; Chanel loaned us costumes from the period; we worked with Dior and Valentino; and Burberry even made suits for Felix.”
But which looks so-perfectly captured the vibes of the era (and the characters)? Read on.
The Most 2000s Looks From Saltburn
How the film nailed the crucial details.
Venetia’s Tinsel Crop Jacket & Sequin Tights
Venetia’s looks are the quintessence of the manic pixie Tumblr girls, who were obsessed with the ‘indie sleaze’ looks of Kate Moss and Sienna Miller of the era. Without saying which items, Canale even confirms actress Alison Oliver wore pieces donned by Brit pop icon Amy Winehouse.
“Venetia is always trying to impress and spends most of her day wearing bikinis and swimsuits,” Canale says of Venetia’s wardrobe. “She also wears a lot of Agent Provocateur, and it was so much fun to take those iconic pieces that were worn by Amy Winehouse and use them in the film.”
And while Venetia is always trying to look edgy and, well, a bit like a trashbag, you just know she’s shopping at Zimmermann with all the cool girls of the day.
Felix’ Livestrong Bracelets & Ralph Lauren
For those who don’t recall, these little rubber wrist bands were intended to raise money for those affected by cancer, via cyclist Lance Armstrong’s charitable foundation – Livestrong. While in their early days, Livestrong bracelets were embraced as a symbol of one’s altruism and style, they later became associated with posturing and a 2000s version of “armchair activism”. Of course, this is well-suited to the character of Felix, played by Jacob Elordi.
Quiet luxury has been the phrase on everyone’s lips this past year, with pop culture and TikTok commentators keen to point out the difference between those who actually have money and those who want to copy them. Most of Felix’ attire is unbranded or subtly branded with the occasional Ralph Lauren logo. The broad range of Ralph’s catalogue was also relied upon for Felix’ wardrobe, with Canale choosing mostly pastels to match Felix’ devil-may-care attitude.
As for influences, Canale says she looked to Prince Harry for inspiration.
“Felix’s style is inspired a little by Prince Harry, and in my research, I was looking at socialites of that period when Prince Harry was Felix’s age. It’s that look of the baggy jeans, the linen shirts, the V-necks, and rugby tops. He’s very relaxed and comfortable in his own skin.”
Farleigh In Britney’s ‘Dump Him’ T-Shirt
Farleigh is queer and style conscious lends to a more creative and exciting wardrobe than Felix’s. According to the costume notes, Farleigh was dressed in a high-low combo of thrift store pieces and Gucci.
“What I love about his clothing is that it feels both self-conscious and fashion-forward, and that’s why Gucci worked so well because it can be both outlandish and timeless,” actor Archie Madekwe said.
However, our favourite Farleigh fashion moment has to be the pop-culture conscious ‘Dump Him’ t-shirt, once famously worn by Britney Spears in her post Justin Timberlake era. It makes a blink-and-you’ll miss it appearance in Saltburn (and, tragically, we don’t have an image from the film), but if you need to jog your memory…
Elspeth’s ‘Model Off Duty’ Vintage Cool
Canale and Fennell have both remarked on how the wardrobe of Elspeth Catton (played by Rosamund Pike) represented her years as a model during the 90s, blending designer items and vintage that was probably gifted to her straight from the runway.
“She wears high fashion in a completely relaxed, nonchalant way. And then she can just throw on a vintage waistcoat and is able to look sublime,” explains Canale.
“We were inspired by women like Sienna Miller and Laura Bailey—women who seemed to dress so effortlessly but had an inimitable way of putting things together,” Rosamund has shared of her wardrobe.
Ugg Boots On Campus
Aah, of course. The noughties ugg craze.
The girls at Oxford could be seen in tiny party dresses by night, but by day, you might catch everyone in jeans and Uggs, a la Sienna Miller (again).
The boots, which only became more fashionable the more they looked like they’d been squished by a steam roller, were, at the time, the perfect symbol of “I don’t care” dressing — where you could basically go out in your pyjamas and people would think you were cool… if you had money and went to Oxford. Though, the rest of us tried.
Where Can I Watch Saltburn In Australia?
Saltburn was released in cinemas in Australia, but it’s set to hit streaming in December.