CDG - The Costume Designer

Winter 2016

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40 The Costume Designer Winter 2016 M any of the people interested in Costume Design can remember that first costume that sparked their interest. For me, it was Stella Stevens' New Year's Eve party dress in The Poseidon Adventure (1972), designed by fellow Pittsburgher Paul Zastupnevich. Years later, I received gifts of Helen Rose and Jean Louis costume sketches and that began an interest in collect- ing sketches, costumes, and ephemera related to designers. But while there seemed to be no end of information related to fashion designers, many Hollywood costume designers remained enig- mas, and piecing together information about their careers was a difficult task. I began to collect something else—stories about film designers and their careers, told to me by the various people I encountered in the film and design industries. These stories have been compiled in Creating the Illusion: A Fashionable History of Hollywood Costume Designers (Running Press, 2015). In 2010, I wrote and photo-edited my first book, Edith Head: The Fifty-Year Career of Hollywood's Greatest Costumer Designer (Running Press). Edith, of course, was a great self-pro- moter, and the research materials for that book were plentiful. But for Creating the Illusion, many designers' careers were over before institutions began amassing archives and piecing together information proved challenging. My co-author Donald L. Scoggins meticulously researched many designers' family trees and scoured public documents to find family members to interview and flesh out the designers' lives. What emerged was a bit of a "family tree" of the Costume Design industry itself, with many mysteries solved, including the abrupt end to the career of Clare West, credited as Hollywood's first Costume Designer, and the odd coincidence of Robert Kalloch and his partner Joseph Demarais dying on the same day. Surprisingly, even details of the lives of more modern designers such as Norma Koch (Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? 1962); Donfeld (They Shoot Horses, Don't They? 1969); and Burton Miller (Earthquake, 1974) have been elusive. But through research and interviews, these designers can once again take their place among the more well-known names. Over 400 images in the book help tell the designer's stories, including some never-before-published costume sketches and wardrobe test photos. Interviews with designers currently working in the field, including Colleen Atwood (Chicago, 2002); Ellen Mirojnick (Wall Street, 1987); Kym Barrett (The Matrix, 1999); and Mark Bridges (The Artist, 2011) show the reader how the profession has changed since the Golden Age. Creating the Illusion: A Fashionable History of Hollywood Costume Designers by Jay Jorgensen and Donald L. Scoggins (Running Press, 2015); 415 pages, over 400 black-and-white and color photographs. Jay Jorgensen Celebrates Costume Design

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