We have Paris Hilton to thank for some of the Plastics' iconic outfits in the original 'Mean Girls'

  • It's been nearly 20 years since "Mean Girls" came out, but the film's style is as iconic as ever.

  • The original film's costume designer said she crafted the looks using real-life inspiration.

  • Mary Jane Fort said she studied high-school yearbooks and Paris Hilton's fashion.

When it comes to style, "Mean Girls" is a more accurate depiction of high school in the early 2000s than you might've imagined.

Mary Jane Fort, the costume designer who worked on the original 2004 "Mean Girls," recently spoke to Insider about the inspiration behind the iconic looks from the film. While she said she eventually turned to early 2000s icons like Paris Hilton to take the movie's fashion to the next level, Fort started her process by looking at what young people were actually wearing to school at the time.

"I start with what is real," Fort, who has worked in the costume design field for over 30 years, said. "No matter what it is, even if it's vampires, you go as realistic as you can."

mean girls janis and damien
"Mean Girls."Paramount Pictures

For "Mean Girls," which was filmed in Toronto, Canada, but set in Evanston, Illinois, Fort said her two-month research process began with pouring through the yearbooks of local high schools. From there, she got a feel for what students who belonged to different social cliques and activity groups wore as well as what was perceived as cool.

"I started looking at high-school yearbooks and looking at different clubs and different parts of what makes up a high-school class," Fort said.

Though real high-school students formed the basis of Fort's research, she also looked for inspiration elsewhere to make things brighter and bolder.

Fort specifically wanted to 'heighten the reality' of the Plastics

Fort said she wanted to make sure that the Plastics in "Mean Girls," consisting of Regina George (Rachel McAdams), Gretchen Wieners (Lacey Chabert), and Karen Smith (Amanda Seyfried), weren't just any run-of-the-mill, high-school "It Girls."

"We wanted to sort of heighten the reality of it, and so that's where I took a turn and wanted to make the colors brighter because the Plastics were something that everyone wanted, wanted to be, and wanted to touch," Fort said.

regina george mean girls
Rachel McAdams as Regina George in "Mean Girls."Paramount Pictures

Of course, there was no one quite as glamorous as Paris Hilton in the early 2000s, which is why Fort said she used the style icon as inspiration for the Plastics.

According to Fort, Hilton is basically the original influencer.

"We didn't have the influencers that we have now," she said. But even though social media wasn't what it is today, Fort said that Hilton was the "bright and shiny" celebrity that people in the early 2000s aspired to be like.

"I did study Paris Hilton a good bit," she added.

Paris Hilton holding a mobile phone.
Paris Hilton in Hollywood, California, on August 4, 2004.Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

And Fort was inspired by one final, and more unconventional, source: candy.

She recalled visiting New York during her research and going to a Dylan's Candy Bar location, which was lined with sweet treats in a rainbow assortment of colors.

"That's where I took my color palette," Fort said. "I had visited in New York and was just overwhelmingly delighted with all the colors and all the sparkly, sugary things."

The Plastics, who appear sweet on the surface but are the film's villains, mirror the candy because they are meant to look enticing but can cause damage in the long run, Fort said.

"If you eat all that stuff, you're not going to be so delighted," she added.

Read the original article on Insider