Miuccia Prada Unveils Great Gatsby Costumes

  • 21 JANUARY 2013
  • ELLA ALEXANDER

MIUCCIA PRADA has unveiled four sketches of her costumes for the highly-anticipated Baz Luhrmann film adaptation of The Great Gatsby, which is due to hit cinemas this summer. Prada worked with costume designer Catherine Martin to create over 40 looks for the movie, each inspired by styles from thePrada and Miu Miu archive.

“Baz and Miuccia have always connected on their shared fascination with finding modern ways of releasing classic and historical references from the shackles of the past,” said Martin. “This connection is central to our relationship with Miuccia Prada on The Great Gatsby, and has connected our vision with hers. In the same way Nick Carraway reflects on a world that he is within and without, we have tried to create an environment that the audience will be subconsciously familiar with, yet separated from.”

The designs take the form of shimmering dresses, covered with crystals, fringing and sequins, in shades of emerald, jade, topaz and gold. Fabrics come in luxurious velvets and furs, with the story’s Twenties setting at the heart of each style. The creations will be worn by the film’s star cast, which includesCarey Mulligan as the flighty Daisy Buchanan and Leonardo DiCaprio as the enigmatic Jay Gatsby.

“Our collaboration with Prada recalls the European flair that was emerging amongst the aristocratic East Coast crowds in the Twenties,” added Martin. “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.”

Prada and Luhrmann have worked together before, creating Leonardo DiCaprio’s suit in the director’s 1996 film version of Romeo + Juliet.

Prada Great Gatsby Costumes Revealed – Baz Luhrmann Film (Vogue.com UK)

I’ve posted before about Baz Luhrmann’s use of anachronism and pastiche – we can be certain that he and designer Catherine Martin will liberally employ both in their adaptation of Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, scheduled for release in May 2013. As with their other work, the film will be based on meticulous original research that will be the foundation of creative reinterpretation – which will no doubt drive purists wild. Fearless as ever, they’ve taken on the Great American Novel.

Luhrmann’s background is in theatre, where travesty is common (he’s a huge admirer of Shakespeare). All his films use travesty to overturn accepted conventions and confound expectations – they are parodies themselves, and often parodied. This antagonises some and embarrasses others, possibly because film is perceived to have a privileged relationship to reality. 

Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is bound to have elements of travesty, but that does not mean it will be a travesty. It will reinvent the source novel and raise questions about adaptation and authorship, unsettling ideas about art as the expression of individual creative vision. Like the celebrated Red Curtain Trilogy (Strictly Ballroom, William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge!) it will be design-led, from visual style to music soundtrack. There will be multiple layers of quotation from classic and world cinema, plus coded references to the director’s other films, creating a richly textured work replete with opportunities for  commercial spin-offs and tie-ins.

The film is already controversial for its application of 3-D to a literary adaptation. It’s sure to polarise opinion, particularly among US critics. As befits a major event movie, anticipation (whether positive or negative) will continue to build until it reaches a breathless climax.

© Pam Cook

More about travesty in Baz Luhrmann’s work in Baz Luhrmann by Pam Cook (BFI/Palgrave 2010)