Dressing The Great Gatsby

Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Brooks Brothers and Tiffany collaborate with costume designer Catherine Martin on the looks for the film.

The costumes in the hotly anticipated film The Great Gatsby (out May 10) are bound to be stars in their own right, helping to set a dazzling scene of 1920s excess. Costume designer Catherine Martin worked closely with Brooks Brothers, Tiffany and Prada to produce the sumptuous looks; two of the brands created capsule collections reflecting the glamorous aesthetic of the film’s era.

Here, learn more about (and see more of) the partnerships and how Martin herself approached the task of dressing a classic.

Catherine Martin’s Vision

A little over two years ago, Academy Award–winning costume designer Catherine Martin embarked on a dream project: the latest film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, directed by her husband, Baz Luhrmann, whom she has collaborated with 13 times.

Luhrmann, however, wasn’t her only partner in the undertaking. Miuccia Prada, Tiffany, Brooks Brothers and legwear label Fogal all helped to bring Fitzgerald’s star-crossed Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Daisy Buchanan (Carey Mulligan), among others, to life.

“The great thing about collaborating with [some of these brands] was that our friend Fitzgerald was actually their customer,” says Martin. “In terms of Brooks Brothers, Fitzgerald was obsessed with his collegiate past. I think it’s interesting how he was always conflicted about being part of the establishment—being ‘within and without.’ Tiffany and Brooks Brothers in particular are totally authentic to Fitzgerald and to the period itself.”

Martin’s workshop in her native Australia employed close to 90 people for the film, and all the outfits for the female characters were designed by her and made in-house. Prada designed 40 costumes for supporting characters. In regard to those of Gatsby, Buchanan and Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire), Martin led the charge, with Brooks Brothers executing her designs.

With all said and done, Martin—who sees her costumes as contributors to the film and can’t pick a favorite (“They’re all my children,” she says)—keeps perspective when it comes to making her decisions.

“Sometimes the least glamorous tends to be the best storytelling tool,” she explains. “What you’ve got to be is never too attached to one particular item. You have to step back and ask yourself, does this help to tell the story as a whole? Was the actor or actress enabled by the garment or that piece of jewelry? What can I learn from this for next time?” —Susan Michals

Brooks Brothers

When Brooks Brothers initially dove into its archives for The Great Gatsby, an in-store collection was not part of the plan. But as the company’s collaboration with Catherine Martin developed, it realized how modern many of the looks from the era were—and how a slight tweak of a fit or a fabric made them contemporary. A limited-edition offering was born. 

“Both the film costumes and the collaboration collection capture the spirit of the era but are entirely wearable today,” explains Lou Amendola, chief merchandising officer. “Many of the ties, for example, feature the same patterns and colors as those in our archives, as do some of the eveningwear pieces.”

Other items include boater hats, a pink linen suit and even a beech-wood walking stick. Considering F. Scott Fitzgerald’s well-known love for Brooks Brothers (he was a customer and referenced the label in his work), the partnership hit the mark. “We believe this is a fun, unexpected way to celebrate our heritage,” says Amendola. brooksbrothers.com.

See more of the looks here.

Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany had a similarly tight relationship with Fitzgerald, he being a loyal customer and fan. As a definitive voice in the evolution of New York glamour at the time, the jewelry icon was perfectly positioned to produce the film’s gorgeous pieces.

“The Great Gatsby collection was inspired by archival jewels that highlight Tiffany as the era’s preeminent jeweler,” says Linda Buckley, vice president of worldwide public relations. “An archival sketch of a diamond headband with a detachable feather motif was an amazing find, which inspired the headpiece that Daisy [Carey Mulligan] wears throughout the party at Gatsby’s mansion.”

Along with Catherine Martin, Tiffany created the collection specifically for the film with platinum, diamonds and pearls. (Baubles like rose-cut diamond chandelier earrings and diamond-and-seed-pearl bracelets decorate the characters.) The Ziegfeld collection was inspired by the film and designed in sterling silver, pearls and black onyx. Its luminous energy is found in items like a sterling-silver pendant festooned with the reoccurring daisy theme and pearl drop earrings, as well as other items that embody the spirit of the iconic partners. (Even the film’s mansion is filled with Tiffany china and flatware.)

“It is extremely rare to find such a perfect fit,” says Buckley. “We’re thrilled to be a part of such an exciting story.” tiffany.com.

See more of the looks here.