One of the most famous scenes in The Devil Wears Prada starts with Anne Hathaway’s Andy apologizing for not knowing about all this fashion “stuff.” Meryl Streep looks at her coolly: “This … stuff?” Cue Meryl’s monologue about how decisions from fashion designers like Yves Saint Laurent and Oscar de la Renta and Runway editors all conspired to select every trend and fashion statement, even the frumpy blue sweater Andy wears in that scene. At a screening of the movie at Vulture Festival L.A. Sunday night, screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna and director David Frankel recalled that scene: Initially, Anne Hathaway’s frumpy blue sweater was a frumpy plaid skirt.
“There was a point when [costume designer Patricia Field] thought it was going to be a plaid skirt. I wrote a whole Vivienne Westwood angle — obviously. But there was a sweater, and it was blue. The short version is, they sat on the script for a long time, and I made that script speech longer, longer, longer,” McKenna said. “Then I worked with Meryl and David and made it way too long. I sent it to David and said, ‘This is way too long; you’ll never use all of this, but this is what I’ve got.’ I had also sent Meryl a list of blues: lapis, azure, cerulean. She picked cerulean.”
McKenna said that the whole monologue — about Yves Saint Laurent and Oscar de la Renta doing cerulean military jackets and a collection of cerulean gowns — was entirely made up, which some people took issue with. “A lot of the fashion stuff I just made up because none of it was going to be real; it just sounded real,” she said. “After the movie came out, someone was dinging us that it wasn’t based on real fashion stuff. I called David and I was upset and he said, ‘Well, you know, when they make their movie and it makes $325 million worldwide and it gets nominated for Oscars, they can do it however they want!’” Frankel, sitting next to her, gave an appropriate mic drop. That’s all.