If anyone is following us on Pinterest (have a look, it’s fun!), you’ll have seen that one of our boards seems to almost be dedicated to The Great Gatsby (2013). This is mostly my doing. ‘The Great Gatsby’ is one of my favourite books and the films that I’ve seen based on the novel (the 1974 Robert Redford and Mia Farrow version and the horrific 2000 version with Mira Sorvino, Toby Stephens and Paul Rudd) have been…not quite right. I wrote a whole post about reading books before or after adaptations and this will definitely affect my viewing of the film. But I’m also a very shallow creature who is drawn in by pretty things. And Art Deco. Baz Luhrmann’s film has got it all.
In August of last year, shortly after the film’s release was delayed, it was announced that Carey Mulligan/Daisy’s dresses for The Great Gatsby were created by Prada. 40 dresses were reworked from the Prada and Miu Miu archives to fit with the 20s era. Moving past the fact that Vogue’s original article announcing this referred to Catherine Martin as ‘Head of Wardrobe’ when she is a COSTUME DESIGNER, the notion of a fashion house reworking costumes to fit a film is…I don’t know. The costumes we’ve seen in this great run up to the release date (both before and after the reveal of Miuccia Prada’a involvement) look great. But it feels wrong, to me, to use fashion to “sell” a film. Prada designed a suit for Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo + Juliet (1996) but it seems to me that the more fashion gets involved with costume the harder it makes it for people to see the clear differences. Especially coming after the Rodarte controversy with Black Swan (2010). (For the full low-down on that if you missed it, check out Clothes on Film’s exclusive interview with Black Swan‘s costume designer Amy Westcott.)
Why am I bringing all this up so far after the media did? Well, I’m glad you asked. Today Vogue released sketches from Miuccia Prada’s designs for The Great Gatsby. Some of the designs have been inspired by collections from 2011. When Prada’s archive was mentioned I expected…further back than that. The aim seems to be to make the film more accessible for today’s audience. This has always been the case with costume. Something may be 100% accurate to the period but if the audience doesn’t buy into it, then they will always be too far removed from the film. Here’s hoping the designs work and that the fashion and costume collaboration doesn’t end badly.
P.S. the DTSFT girls are part of a book club run by Helen (get us being all intellectual) and ‘The Great Gatsby’ is scheduled to be our book for March. Maybe we should write a blog post discussing it? Or discussing our discussions? Let us know what you think.