Alec Baldwin and Tom Cruise in Rock of Ages. Photo by David James / Warner Bros. Pictures.

Mary J. Blige in Rock of Ages. Photo by David James / Warner Bros. Pictures.

“Rock of Ages”

June 22, 2012

According to Costume Designer Rita Ryack, hawk-eye resourcefulness, a self-professed eBay addiction and “pure luck” were integral in recreating the rock-n-roll glitz of the Sunset Strip-circa-1987 in Warner Brothers’ Rock of Ages.

Ryack scoured consignment stores and vintage hubs in both California and Florida to recut and reimagine duds for a cast that runs the gamut—from Catherine Zeta-Jones’ conservative politician wife to Paul Giamatti’s oily music manager, to rocker groupies, Hollywood strippers and fictional boy banders, Z-guyeez.

Showpiece belts (all skins, studs, jewels, chains, fringe), old Betsey Johnson separates, and lavish jumpsuits found on eBay (worn by Mary J. Blige, who plays a strip club owner in the film) are among Ryack’s treasured finds.

“The stars aligned for us on this production,” says Ryack, “I can’t believe what we were able to get our hands on.”

Ryack says the most challenging aspect of Ages was executing a true rock-n-roll weathered leather look. For Tom Cruise’s flamboyant rocker front man, Stacee Jaxx, she enlisted a Los Angeles-based distresser for pre-production aging and a Miami-based shrinker to keep Cruise’s hand stitched leather pants snug during filming. She says the actor—who dons an ornate jeweled-and-fanged devil codpiece as well—steals the spotlight.

“Tom was a pleasure because his was a huge transformation. He’s a pretty straight dresser—so getting him into those fittings, oh, we laughed a lot! He was really willing to push the envelope.”


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