The hidden meaning behind KK Palmer’s Nope outfit

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Jordan Peele’s “Nope” masterfully reimagines the classic alien invasion, creating a genre that’s western-meets-’80s-sci-fi horror. Apart from beautifully layered storytelling techniques, the film has expertly curated wardrobes that depict more than meets the eye. OJ (Daniel Kaluuya), Emerald (Keke Palmer), Angel (Brandon Perea), and Antlers Holst (Michael Wincott) risk their lives to snap an “Oprah shot” of otherworldly entities that are picking off the residents of the Agua Dulce area one by one. One, we can’t help but admire the vibrant outfits that Palmer’s character wears throughout the film.

“He’s in charge, and he’s fierce, so we wanted to make sure those elements were there [came through in her costumes]”

“He’s in charge, and he’s fierce, so we wanted to make sure those elements were there [came through in her costumes],” costume designer Alex Bovyard told PopSugar. But a closer examination of Emerald’s costume reveals hidden clues about the Heywood family’s past, proving that attention to detail is important.

For Bovaird, Emerald is someone who shops anywhere and everywhere, so it sources its clothing pieces only from eBay, thrift stores, flea markets, malls and the Country General Store in Van Nuys, CA. Many of the looks were vintage, rented or custom-made, with a key element being the creation of graphic teases to express her personality. (Think: the “Lovesexy” Prince t-shirt, which Peele and Bouvier decided belonged to Panna and OJ’s mom.)

While Panna’s outfit is a mishmash of borrowed pieces, old clothes ripped from cardboard boxes, and ranch-style hand-me-downs, the pop-culture references integrated into her outfit are subtle homages to the past. “All the bands from the late ’80s and early ’90s are part of my and Jordan’s upbringing, so there’s a multi-layered passion for it. [the shirts]” said Bovyard.

From the waffle squish keychain on her crossbody bag to the tiny cowboy boots she’s wearing, Panna’s outfit is all about detail. “She wears a lot of little jewelry. We like the idea that she’s just peppered with rings, earrings and little things that she steals,” says Bovyard. “Sometimes, when you look at these details, it’s really invisible. Like, ‘Is it too much?’ But when you remember that it’s on a big screen, it really works.”

In a movie where every scene is more jarring than the last, Palmer’s “nope” costumes serve as a refreshing dose of nostalgia that remains unforgettable. Ahead, shop a few pieces from Emerald’s Closet and learn more about the hidden meaning behind certain looks.

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