All the bright precious things fade so fast…and they don’t come back.
Before Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel even hit theaters, it had garnered massive buzz amongst the fashion crowd. Luhrmann recruited longtime friend Miuccia Prada to create 40 outfits for the film, each inspired by pieces from the Prada and Miu Miu archives.
"Our collaboration with Prada recalls the European flair that was emerging amongst the aristocratic East Coast crowds in the Twenties," head costumer Catherine Martin said. "The fashions of the time saw the development of a dichotomy between those who aspired to the privileged, Ivy League look of wealthy Long Island and those who were aspiring to European glamour, sophistication and decadence. Our collaborations with Prada reflect the collision of these two aesthetics."
Specifically, Prada collaborated on the costumes worn during the immaculate parties at Jay Gatsby’s Long Island mansion. Carey Mulligan’s character Daisy Buchanan memorably saunters onto the scene wearing a flapper dress comprised entirely of crystal chandelier drops, topped with a plush fox stole — a look inspired by Prada’s 2010 collection.
"Catherine Martin analyzed my archive and gave some ideas of what could work," Prada said. "What also interested me was that something that was not meant to be ’20s at all could look so ’20s in the film. Pieces on the runway that were meant to be a completely different story look perfect as 1920s avant-garde modernism — and it all works — and that for me was impressive. Of course, we did variations in colors and lengths, and also [Martin] did all the hats and so much more…so it’s not like I did a big job!"
But the haute glamor didn’t end there. Brooks Brothers (one of the brands mentioned in the 1925 novel) created 1,700 immaculately tailored items for the men, including Leonardo Dicaprio’s Jay Gatsby and Tobey Maguire’s Nick Carraway. Meanwhile, Tiffany & Co, where Fitzgerald was a frequent customer, created stunning art deco baubles seen throughout the film. Notable pieces include the diamond and pearl headpiece and handpieces worn by Mulligan during the party scene, clocking in at a whopping $200,000 and $75,000, respectively.
Martin hit the nail on the head when replicating the opulence and excess of the Jazz Age, ultimately scooping up the Academy Award for Best Costume Design. However, Martin isn’t willing to take all of the credit.
"It’s the privilege of working with great actors, because ultimately costumes are just clothes. It’s the actors that transform them into the images that we perceive. It’s the actor’s ability to transform those clothes that is the amalgam.”