Pictured: Catherine Martin (Ryan Pierse/Getty); one of Martin's sketches for Gatsby's wardrobe
To create the wardrobe for Baz Luhrmann’s big-screen take on the classic F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby (opening May 10), Oscar-winning costume and production designer Catherine Martin researched hundreds of photos and archives from the 1920s. She teamed with Prada, Tiffany's, and Brooks Brothers, which produced a total of 500 ensembles for Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio), Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), and the rest of the gentlemanly elite—all designed by Martin.
Fitzgerald was a Tiffany's and Brooks Brothers customer. "I think that in a sense very much drew me to those particular brands because they had an authenticity," says Martin. “Fitzgerald was attracted to what Brooks Brothers represents: the establishment. ... They were also purveyors of this collegiate look, which was so dear to his heart and Princeton past.”
On selecting Prada, Martin comments: "It was more about an artistic connection that Miuccia [Prada] and Baz have. They had a friendship since Romeo + Juliet, and I think they are interesting as artists since they both, completely differently, look to the future and reference the past."
Speaking of Romeo + Juliet, Gatsby marked Martin's second time working with DiCaprio — who she called a great collaborator. "We had a series of workshops over an 18-month period, where we got to experience with clothes," says Martin. "Leonardo is a transformer. The way that he comports himself as Gatsby had an influence on the ultimate nature of the clothes."
Martin also noted that DiCaprio really discovered the use of a cane, "which I sort of never thought of," she says, "but he uses it with great panache and to great effect." The cane is also featured in a Gatsby-inspired line released by Brooks Brothers in collaboration with Martin.
The Brooks Brothers collection is only available for a limited of time, so if you couldn't get on hands on it, Martin shares how to recreate the West Egg look with her own formula: Slim silhouettes, bookish blazers, ties with half-Windsor knots, and fitted waistcoats.
"Waistcoats are a great garment because they control the shirt and give a slender illusion," Martin explains. "If you’re slim, they make you look more slim, and if you’re a little less than slim, they help with the silhouette."
“The ties of the period were cut quite short because men didn’t want that bulk sticking into their waistcoats,” Martin also brings up. “When you’re not wearing a waistcoat, it looks like a little clown tie. For the film we kept them covered up.”
To tease you until the movie is released on May 10, watch the latest trailer below: