The original idea for Blue Steel began, suitable, in the mirror. As explained in 2016 Esquire interview, Stiller “scratched my hair or whatever” when his wife stopped him to ask why he was making such strange faces. “It’s just that what you do makes you look good,” he said, “which really has nothing to do with reality.” Soon he and Sutter started a brainstorming with different stupid names for his different poses, but “there was no difference in appearance,” laughs Galen. “That was the funny part of it.”
To make Blue Steel pop up on the screen, Steeler knew he had to elevate his original sketch-comedy aesthetic. It started with his sullen hair, which designer Alan D’Angerio replaced with a puffy black wig. “I just wanted to increase the demand for film,” said D’Angerio, who spent about four months making three wigs during filming. “The tying was done in different places where I could give it more fullness and less fullness to balance it and make it look more perfect – because Derek was perfect.”
He and makeup designer Naomi Don collaborated for the rest of Derek’s appearance, exploring the glossy 90’s fashion magazines and noticing a common androgynous quality shared by the models of the era. Inspired by Derek’s obsession with his features, Don “puts on a lot of make-up to give him a light mannequin look,” she says. “I usually look for a very natural look, but it was covered [with] quite a heavy foundation. It didn’t show much, but he had such flawless skin, a cut cheek, [and] I made a definition to make his eyes bulge. “
Robinson, the costume designer, was tasked with providing context for the famous look. For the iconic frame of the movie “Blue Steel”, he came out on top with clothes printed by Gucci. “I had a sweater and a scarf there, and I didn’t really think it would be wrapped around his head. It just happened while we were on set – he put it on his head, and Naomi and Allen just ran into it, “says Robinson. “It also changes his appearance … You want to have variety so it stays interesting.”
Derek’s silky smooth bloat popped up even more in the presence of Mugatu, the villainous fashion mogul of Will Ferrell, whose ridiculous traits were surpassed only by his conspiracies to sustain inhuman child labor practices. In direct contrast to Derek’s ironing hairstyle, D’Angerio transforms the actor’s curly locks into Leah-like buns and “whitens shit from Will Ferrell’s hair,” Don laughs. “I took it to the highest color I could make it disappear,” says D’Angerio. “And then I started getting a haircut and he had a really nice nape [and] hair, and as I cut it, I began to see an M, so I cut an M in the back for Mugatu. “
Robinson completed the unusual look by securing Ferrell with a corset, re-emphasizing the accents of extremes that these characters would allow for their personal brand. “The Mugatu style is really there,” says Robinson. “We just approached each scene in terms of what would be funny.”
In 2013, Jason Pfeiffer went viral when he posted Tumblr, called “Burial Selfie”, a blog dedicated to sharing photos posted by teens moments before mourning. On a recent vacation, Pfeiffer was intrigued by tourists who slaughtered their best ducks in front of Anne Frank’s house and wanted his site to capture such extremes without condemnation. “I was really curious about this impulse [take selfies] expanding to places where we might have to think twice, ”he says. Of course, these early posters could easily take their lines Zoolander. In a scene in the middle of the film, Derek attends a funeral dressed in a wildly inappropriate all-white suit and spends most of his praise to announce his retirement from modeling while hitting a few “Blue Steels” in front of a crowd. Although it is mostly played for laughter, Derek’s behavior — something like a constant performance — feels specifically tailored to our era of live.