Costume Design of The Great Gatsby

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Acting as the producer, production designer, and costume designer of The Great Gatsby, Catherine Martin certainly had her hands full in masterminding the newest, and most widely anticipated adaptation of classic novel. The already challenging task of outfitting an all-star cast and extras in a production of its size was heightened, given the incredibly limited character description in the book itself. Martin’s biggest obstacle, however, may have been in incorporating director (and husband) Baz Luhrmann’s vision of Gatbsy’s world that remains true to the ’20s, yet still appeals to the modern viewer. “One of the first things Baz told me is, ‘I don’t want a nostalgic New York, I don’t want a sepia-toned New York, I want a New York that feels as vibrant and sexy and visceral and modern as it would have to Zelda and Fitzgerald, or any of the characters in the book.’ And he also said to me, ‘I don’t want it to look like a gangsters and their gun moll’s 21st birthday party. It has to be totally the ’20s, but you have to find an unexpected fresh way of seeing it. I don’t want to see people swinging pearls and twirling their feather boas.’” In creating this world, Martin additionally refrained from the film resembling a “documentary” of the time period, however all looks created for the film are rooted in fashion of the era.

With Brooks Brothers outfitting 1,200 male cast members, including the leads, Martin looked to Prada and Miu Miu to provide its Jazz-Aged women’s garb. The high fashion brands, both headed by Miuccia Prada, were a natural fit, given that, at the time of pre-production, both brands’ collections had a distinct, yet unintentional, ’20s vibe. Miuccia went on to create 40 dresses for the film’s party scenes, as well as a few of Daisy’s (played by Carey Mulligan), including her Chandelier dress from Prada’s spring 2010 collection, and a fur for a party at Gatsby’s. Tiffany & Co. aided in Gatsy’s oppulence, providing Art Deco inspired  gems for the film, and a Jazz Age collection for the jeweler.

Above photo: Steven Stipelman’s depiction of the newest Gatsby garb.

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Above and below: Miuccia Prada’s designs for Gatsby‘s extras.

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Isla Fisher and Jason Clarke as Myrtle and George Wilson.

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Per Baz’s request, all extras had a name and bio, allowing Miuccia to dream up more personalized dresses.

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Newcomer Elizabeth Debicki joined the cast straight out of Melbourne’s Victorian College of the Arts.

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Mulligan decked out in Prada’s Chandelier dress and Tiffany & Co. headpiece.

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Photos courtesy of WWD, Refinery 29, and Fashionista.

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2 comments

  1. Barbara Paschka · · Reply

    This sounds so exciting. Can’t wait! Nice article

  2. col2013 · · Reply

    I just love all the images of the designer sketches, especially the one just preceding this comment! LOVE it!!! Watercolor? So great to have a glimpse of the process and then the finished still photos from the production.

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