Seductive. Vicious. Feral. Dinosaur. Fashion. All of these words should bring to mind Glenn Close’s portrayal of Cruella de Vil. If you’re looking for a movie about evil, but fashionable divas, stick with 1996’s 101 Dalmatians. There wasn’t a sequel or animated version of The Devil Wears Prada, after all. If there was, let me know as soon as possible.
In films about the world of fashion, it becomes clear that to be successful one needs to be cunning, vicious, a bit unbalanced and - of course - beautiful. While Miranda Priestly may fit the bill, she simply lacks the determination and bark that puts de Vil at the top of the femme fatale list.
De Vil is both the CEO of her own fashion line and its only model. She manages to acquire the money and respect to have an entire skyscraper of people dedicated to appeasing her chic tastes and clothing her with the best the animal kingdom has to offer.
Priestly certainly has the aptitude and wit to deserve her prominent place in the fashion scene. She comes very close to being replaced, however, almost losing her entire way of life. De Vil’s vast wealth would never allow for that.
Also, de Vil, unlike Priestly, attempts to do the job herself when her underlings fail her. Even if it does end with her getting arrested and falling into a bath of molasses, hay and dung, she still tries to capture all 99 puppies. When Priestly’s secretaries do not meet her standards, she fires them knowing that their replacements will be just as incompetent.
Most importantly, de Vil always keeps true to her values and is never dishonest, albeit malicious in other ways. When she wants the puppies she doesn’t hide it one bit. Anita “Dahling” knows who she is working for, knows de Vil wants the litter and knows she is capable of taking them. Can de Vil be blamed for simply snatching at opportunity?
Anyone who has seen The Devil Wears Prada knows that backroom negotiations and emotionless insults are Priestly’s trade. Priestly’s cold stare is more life threatening than anything she’s ever said.
When the credits roll for both movies, it’s clear that Cruella de Vil, harvester of poor puppy souls and star of her own song, is miles above Priestly in the best modern villainess category. Honestly, if she had targeted a less beloved animal, like snakes or octopi, de Vil would be considered a role model for her accomplishments in the fashion world.