The footwear in “Bad Teacher” definitely gets a passing grade.
Costume designer Debra McGuire said shoes played a big part in expressing the characters’ personalities for the upcoming film, which hits theaters Friday.
When it came to outfitting Elizabeth (Cameron Diaz), it was all about breaking the rules, McGuire said. The hard-partying teacher wears sexy Christian Louboutin heels, some up to 6 inches in height, throughout the film.
“Everything I did was going against the grain,” said McGuire. “I don’t know any teachers who could wear Louboutins to school or heels that high.”
Meanwhile, the male students, fellow teachers Russell (Jason Segal) and Scott (Justin Timberlake), all wore a variety of styles, including sneakers and boots by brands such as Vans and Converse. And the female students were dressed in pumps and flats.
“The footwear is as important as the jewelry or the handbags,” said McGuire. “[Shoes] add the last touch of character to a character, whether you see them [in the scene] or not.”
Here, Spy goes inside the classroom with McGuire.
What footwear looks did you focus on for the male characters?
“Justin wore Yohji Yamamoto for Adidas sneakers. And for his dress shoes, suede Red Wing wingtips I bought from Traffic in Los Angeles. He wore a pair of J. Lindeberg shoes as well. Jason was in a lot of Under Armour. He was a coach, [so] that was his main thing.”
For Diaz’s character, Elizabeth, did you match her footwear to her character’s outgoing and spunky personality?
“She was in couture from head to toe. It’s not something you’d probably ever see [in the classroom]. The shoes were sexy — that’s what the story is about. She’s a teacher who wants to marry a rich guy and get the hell out of there. All her accoutrement — her purses, handbags and shoes — were way beyond her means.”
What was your most memorable shoe scene?
“There’s a scene where Elizabeth is walking in the hall [on her first day] and the shot starts at her feet. The shoes were emphasized quite a bit. And in the car wash scene [at left] she was wearing a very high Steve Madden platform shoe with the cut-off jeans. I couldn’t find a wedge any higher.”
What influenced your shoe choices?
“Cameron personally owns a lot of Louboutins. When we did the fitting, I had brought some and she had some of her own. That’s when I decided they were perfect for her character. I knew they would be comfortable and that she could walk in a 6-inch heel. Some people can’t. The shoes influence the way you walk, the way you carry yourself, the way you express your character.”
Who was the most fun to dress?
“Every character is fun and interesting. The amazing thing about dressing Cameron is that she could put a paper bag on and wear it on the red carpet. She just has the ability to take anything and make magic out of it. It’s just the way she is. And then Justin’s character was super fun. His green corduroy Italian suit was just the most beautiful thing, with the red suede shoes and the plaid shirt. He was supposed to be this rich boy who was the opposite of Cameron. … He just wanted to be real. It was an interesting juxtaposition of characters.”
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