CDG - The Costume Designer

Winter 2017

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Winter 2017 The Costume Designer 21 "You work for Woody Allen in New York—it doesn't get any better," Kurland said. That steady gig was made more special by the working relationships he developed with Allen's teams of regular actors and crew. "You always knew you were coming back. It was a very family kind of feeling," he added. It also made him an aficio- nado of jazz, which he often plays during fittings. "You can't work for Woody Allen and not know jazz. "We're still very close—Santo, Woody and I," he said. With Allen, Kurland found a director who communicated his vision clearly—and with a lot of shoe leather. "We lived not too far apart. We did a lot of 'walk and talks.' I spent a lot of time walking up Madison Avenue talking about scripts," said Kurland. "He loved the city and walking in the city. He's very entertaining. There's nothing he can't find humor in," Kurland said. The director can even make a joke about those conversations. "If we were out walking, most probably, we were either talking about the film or trashing people," Allen wrote in an email. On a more serious note, Allen found in Kurland a dependable and creative collaborator. "What makes a Costume Designer successful for me is, of course, to carry out my vision, but also to override me, as Jeffrey did when his ideas were better than my original thoughts," Allen said. Allen fondly recalled Kurland's personal style—a look that often combines long hair, a jangle of turquoise bracelets and rings and, since 1999, a leather motorcycle jacket that was made the year he was born. "The crew looked forward to what ludicrous costume he chose for himself as the day's apparel. It was always good for mind- boggling astonishment and much laughter," Allen wrote. Kurland, like Allen, gathers regular collaborators for jobs with a long tenure. For what will be eight consecutive years for the 2017 ceremony, he has worked with event producer Cheryl Cecchetto's Sequoia Productions to mount the Academy's Governors Ball. "His attention to detail is like no other, down to every button," said Cecchetto. She reeled off tales of how Kurland applied his trained eye to everything from food to décor. He participates in every ele- ment of the event, down to the event staff's attire, understanding the three-dimensional theatricality required." For the 2016 event, Kurland recruited Costume Designers Guild illustrators to create car- icatures inspired by those in the industry-favorite restaurants, Sardi's and the Brown Derby. She watched as Kurland's mastermind created Governors Ball events that celebrated the entire film industry. Spend time with Kurland and you won't hear him gush about his friendships with film and theater icons, but he may emphasize his work on behalf of his Costume Design colleagues, particularly, at the Academy. "I was for many years, the only voice for Costume Designers on the Board," he said. "Now, Costume Designers have a voice at the meetings and a vote. I'm very proud of it. A Costume Designer has never gotten to the executive level. It's a very great honor." His presence and advocacy have helped bring new appre- ciation for the profession. Costume Designers "should be respected not just for the clothes, but for the ideas they bring to the table," he said. "That's why you have a Costume Designer. Not everybody can tell a story from foot to head out of thin air." Nor do it as well as Kurland. Photos (opposite page clockwise): Ocean's Eleven/Warner Bros. Pictures, Broadway Danny Rose/Orion Pic. Corp., My Best Friend's Wedding/Tri Star Pic, Illustration/Jeffrey Kurland, Bullets Over Broadway/Miramax FIlms, Tomorrowland/ILL Phillip Boutté Jr., Tomorrowland/ILL Keith Christensen. (This page): Erin Brockovich Illustration/Jeffrey Kurland.

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