'The Great Gatsby' Costume Designer Catherine Martin On Working With Miuccia Prada And Recreating The Roaring ’20s Fashion

30 April 2013 by

For most, creating the costumes for a big screen adaptation of one of world's most loved books would be a daunting task, but director Baz Luhrmann knew his wife Catherine Martin was the woman for the job. Martin is responsible for the fashion on many of Luhrmann's previous cinematic hits including 'Moulin Rouge!' and 'Strictly Ballroom' and she has a trophy cabinet worth of awards to her name. The costume director's decision to team up with fashion powerhouse Miuccia Prada for 'The Great Gatsby' was a stroke of genius, and the two women delved into the Prada archive for a wardrobe that woul enhance the gloriously rich roaring '20s production.

But how and why did the collaboration come about? Martin told Fashionista, 'Baz has been a friend of Miuccia’s for I suppose nearly 20 years, since 'Romeo + Juliet'. She made a suit for Leo, his wedding suit. And so they’ve had a great friendship and a really challenging, active, artistic and philosophical dialogue. And just having that phrase of Baz’s ‘I don’t want New York to be a boring sepia’ in my head–well the boring part is my imposition on that–but I kept thinking of how both of them, in completely different ways, use the past as an inspiration, but then transmute it into something unexpected and something totally modern.'

Prada herself has admitted to WWD of her collections that 'almost none were meant to be the Twenties when I did them', but Catherine and Baz were able to persuade her that it didn't matter. Martin explained that Miuccia, 'liked the fact hat Baz asked for each extra to have a character name and a little bio. And so it was about working for a character, not about just doing clothes. So I went back through the archives and I selected [items that I thought could work]. She wound up designing 40 of the background dresses for the party scenes... She also made Daisy’s chandelier dress and fur when she goes to one of Gatsby’s parties for the first time.'

On that particular dress from Prada's Spring 2010 collection which is worn by actress Carey Mulligan (above), Miuccia said, 'It was meant to be about light, it became about money, because [Luhrmann] wanted to show her as the most beautiful and rich woman on earth.'

A travelling exhibition of Prada and Martin's costume collaboration for the 'The Great Gatsby' opens tonight in New York before heading to Tokyo on 12 May.

Take a look through stills from the film below and channel Daisy and co with our Gatsby Shopping Fix.


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