Vox Lux describes itself as a 21st-century portrait, whereby society is critiqued and examined through the life of Celeste Montgomery. Montgomery survives a school shooting and ends up using this tragic platform to shoot herself into a life of pop-superstardom.
Natalie Portman plays Montgomery some decades after the school shooting that changes her life, where she is seen struggling with addiction, her platform as a pop icon and her now tumultuous relationships with her family. Costume designer Keri Langerman presented a glam rock inspired set of costumes for the performer, giving her a look that was irreverent but also utterly unique.
Montgomery’s costumes were in no way plain, from her mainstage outfits to her press conference looks the pop star is decked out in over the top garments, hair and accessories. Neon leather, lace and glittering textures all played substantial roles in the singer’s costumes. The outfits were head turning and made Montgomery look like a star. However, beyond this her costumes made a massive statement. While Montgomery looked the part, completely over the top and highly stylized, her actual self was falling apart. She was hopped up on drugs and unable to properly communicate or sustain relationships with her family. Her dramatic costuming emphasised how alienated the singer felt, she could not relate or talk to the people around her, making her feel so very alone.
The costumes were all sourced from vegan-friendly materials, as insisted upon by Portman, which proved a challenge for the costume designer. In an interview, Langman confessed that it was a real struggle to develop their vision under the tight restrictions. “You would hope you could just walk to a store and buy snakeskin, skin-tight, vegan-leather leggings, but, unsurprisingly, they just don’t exist,” quipped the designer. But despite the limitations, she was able to develop a series of looks that were truly iconic and sustainably sourced.