Sharon Stone is responsible for one of the most scandalous moments in cinema costuming.
The actress, 63, revealed in a new InStyle essay that she was the one who chose the iconic little white dress for her infamous leg-crossing scene in 1992’s “Basic Instinct.”
“The costume designer, Ellen Mirojnick, took me to Rodeo Drive and said, ‘You can pick out any one thing that you want for your character,’” she wrote.
Stone headed straight to Hermès and selected a cream-colored cashmere throw for her onscreen alter ego, Catherine Tramell, which can be seen around her shoulders in an early scene.
When it came to the big interrogation sequence, however, Stone asked director Paul Verhoeven for input.
“He jokingly said, ‘I don’t care if you wear a turtleneck and your hair in a bun.’ So I said, ‘Good, because that’s what I was thinking,’” the star recalled.
“We decided to go for all white because my character had a very Hitchcockian vibe. But Ellen designed the dress so that I could sit like a man if he was being interrogated,” Stone continued. “It gave me the ability to move my arms and legs, take up space, and exercise control over a room full of men.”
Though Stone and Mirojnick designed the dress together, the actress didn’t think the outfit would make waves.
“The movie was a thriller and we were stopping the action to watch me sit still in a chair, so I thought the possibility of anybody giving two s—ts about it was zero.”
Obviously, she was wrong — although people seemed more preoccupied with what what (or wasn’t) underneath the dress than the garment itself.
Stone has talked at length about going commando for the scene, even sharing how she was asked to remove her underwear for the shot. (“My memory is radically different from Sharon’s memory,” the director responded at the time. “Her version is impossible.”)
Nevertheless, Stone says she’s come to peace with the moment in pop culture history, and even kept her entire wardrobe from the film.
“I put in my contract that I could keep the clothes,” she said. “People thought I was crazy, but the truth is I wasn’t getting paid much compared to my male co-star. I made $500,000; Michael made $14 million. So keeping my costumes was a really smart thing to do.”
In fact, that white dress been sitting in the same bag, untouched, since the last day of filming nearly 30 years ago.
“It was zipped up in a garment bag on the set, and it has never been opened since. I broke the zipper, so it’s hermetically sealed like a piece of art or a very cool time capsule,” she said.