Fashion special: ''The Nanny Diaries'' -- Costume designer Michael Wilkonson talks about his wardrobe decisions for Scarlett Johansson and Laura Linney

While a movie about child care may not sound like a recipe for high style, The Nanny Diaries had quite a fashion closet to fill out in dressing Upper East Side mean mommy Mrs. X (Laura Linney) and her college grad-turned-workhorse nanny Annie (Scarlett Johansson). Costume designer Michael Wilkinson, who approached the task as ”an anthropologist researching the different tribes of New York,” tells all.

Dressing Down Scarlett
Wilkinson had the unenviable task of having to frump out one of the world’s most beautiful women: ”We wanted to avoid anything expensive or that would have sophistication that a young girl from New Jersey who’s a wannabe anthropologist would not necessarily be aware of.” The key? Converse and blue jeans.

ScarJo does get a glam moment, though, in a vintage black dress that pays homage to style goddess Audrey Hepburn. After all, says Wilkinson, an Australian native who watched Woody Allen flicks and Breakfast at Tiffany‘s to research Nanny, ”What girl arrives in New York and doesn’t want to become Audrey Hepburn?”

The Devil Wears…Hermés?
In examining Mrs. X’s couture stylings, including this chic Hermés outfit, it’s hard not to think of another alpha female known for bullying her underlings. But as Wilkinson says of Linney, ”She really wasn’t interested in it being a cartoonish Cruella De Vil sort of character.” (Take that, Miranda Priestly!) Instead, he studied real-life style icons Marlene Dietrich and Aerin Lauder.

The Ultimate Slytherin
The Dior snakeskin trench Mrs. X wears in Central Park when offering Annie the nannyship hints at another famous garden moment: ”Laura laughs that she felt like the serpent in the Garden of Eden tempting Scarlett’s character.”

The Nanny Diaries
  • Movie
  • 105 minutes