The Great Gatsby’ costume designer Catherine Martin was instructed by director Baz Luhrmann to avoid nostalgia and capture a cultural revolution
Two-time Academy Award-winning costume designer Catherine Martin’s luscious and ultra-luxe costumes for “The Great Gatsby” are a stellar fusion of past, present and future. Her husband, the film’s director, Baz Luhrmann, with whom she frequently collaborates (“Strictly Ballroom,” “Moulin Rouge!”), wanted her to ignite a vision not of nostalgia but of what it must have felt like to hear jazz for the first time. The clothes were to showcase the cultural revolution taking place. She acknowledges it was a mighty big job, but with the help of some exceptional resources, it became one that was ultimately quite fruitful. After all, she says of the film’s cast and crew — for which she also was production designer, earning nominations for both roles — “We’re all on the same journey. We’re all in a relay race and all trying to get the Olympic torch lit, and we’re all treading in the same direction. I’m really proud of the work we’ve done.”
Your husband’s directive was that it was fine to use the full 1920s decade for sartorial reference but that he didn’t want it filled with “feather boas and strands of swinging pearls.” He wanted it relevant to today.