‘Chinatown’ to ‘Black Panther’: Western Costume Co. Tour with Oscar Nominated Designers | THR

‘Chinatown’ to ‘Black Panther’: Western Costume Co. Tour with Oscar Nominated Designers | THR


– [Woman] True Grit and we
rolled cigarettes a couple times in the movie. – Well, this is how they used to. (laughing) – [Woman] What’s in there? (gasping) – It’s the tobacco pouch. That is history. (bright music) – The building itself
is 120,000 square feet. Interesting fact, if you
lined all of our clothes up in one long line, it’s
eight miles of clothes. – [Ruth] I first knew Western Costume when they were on Melrose. As a young girl who just
moved to Los Angeles, I was fascinated. – I’ve been doing business
with Western Costume for about 25 years. – I started coming to Western Costume when I first moved to
Los Angeles which was, if you can believe it, 19 years ago. – I’ve been coming to Western
Costume for 27 years maybe? – It was kind of like the
Willy Wonka Chocolate Factory of the Hollywood film industry. – [Mary] You can pull here. They have a fabric room. They have a shoemaker, a tailor shop, they have a research library. – Our library caters to
anything relating to dress. The books and the materials in it have been amassed over a hundred years. We have this incredible
library of clipping files. – There was so much
visual research material that was done throughout all
eight seasons of Mad Men. And all of the research material is here at Western Costume library. Their men’s tailor shop
and also the ladies’ shop are amazing in their technical skills and able to really take
a designer’s sketch and to build a costume. – Jack and I have had a
longstanding relationship. Most recently he made the
Copacabana bouncer coats for Viggo Mortensen in Green Book. And I consider Jack an amazing find. – Every movie that I make clothes for, they are special for me in different ways. We do all our suits it’s
like, all the style, it’s all hand worked. Nothing better. Fusible, nothing machine. It’s all by hand. (slow music) – I also love working out of here because Mauricio is a great
boot maker and shoemaker. – My grandfather was shoemaker. My father was shoemaker. I born between leather and sole. – Black Panther was made
here at Western Costume where the split-toe boots were created. – It was for Black Panther. For Batman. For Superman. Wonder Woman. The Spider-Man. We made it all here. And this one, we made it
special for Shaquille O’Neal. The most what I like, when
a designer call me and, Mauricio was perfect! – I also am inspired by
going through the racks, pulling vintage costumes
from all different periods, like Mad Men, the 60s. For Deadwood the 1870s. – I did True Grit and then Cowboys &
Aliens right after that. Okay, I don’t want to do
a western for a while. And I don’t want to walk
on aisle 18 ever again. But then five years passed
and I got this great script which was The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. (slow cowboy music) We’ve made quite a lot of hats
in the millinery department. – These are both early prototypes for the Buster Scruggs hat. – Patrick was instrumental in helping to work out Buster’s hat which is one of the most
important hats in the whole movie since it’s the title of the film. – Mary came to me really
early in the process and we got to play with shapes and sizes. She had a really great idea of what she wanted
Buster’s hat to look like. – I think Patrick made us four hero hats. And, but there were many before that. – And now they live here. (laughing) – I’ve been nominated for an Oscar, this is my third one this year. But I got nominated for the
first time on True Grit. For the second time for La La Land. And the third time The
Ballad of Buster Scruggs. – I’ve was first nominated
in ’93 for Malcolm X. Western Costume built some of
the zoot suits in Malcolm X. I was nominated for Amistad. We pulled a lot of clothes
out of Western Costume for that film. My third nomination
just came the other day for Black Panther. – I would say that almost all of the films that I’ve ever worked on I have found something
at Western Costumes. – Over the time I’ve been here we have overhauled our
archive, the Star Collection. That’s where pieces that
were worn by famous actors or in important films go instead of staying in stock and being rented for
subsequent productions. (bright music) – When I started at Western,
they had very few clothes that they had collected through the years. And one of my objectives was to make sure that we preserved anything
that we found in stock. – These are some pieces
from The King and I. It was designed by Irene Sharaff actually, the film and the stage production. These were the dancers and the singers from the Uncle Tom’s Cabin scene. And we have so many pieces
from this particular scene. But these actually used to go out for high school productions
of The King and I for years. And so they’re in varying states of decay I guess is the word. – Through the years the
clothes we’ve collected in the Star Collection used to be in just regular, general stock. And at Halloween people came in and rented Marilyn Monroe’s jacket, or Vivien Leigh Gone with the Wind dress. It was crazy. So when I came to Western I said, we got to start putting these things away. – It’s such a historical place to come. I mean, not only to be
inspired by the vintage pieces, but really to be able to see like an amazing part of film history. – [Eddie] Well, we have the
dress from Gone with the Wind. I’ve got Marilyn Monroe’s
red jacket from Niagara. We have clothes from The King
and I, My Fair Lady, Papillon. – These are pieces from The Prestige that Joan Bergin designed. This is one that David Bowie wore. These were made in our shop by Jack. We’ve got some pieces from Chinatown. This is a suit Jack Nicholson wore. We have a number of pieces
from 12 Years a Slave. And this one that Lupita Nyong’o wore, the double of it is
now in the Smithsonian. We donated it to the Museum of African
American History and Culture. – [Eddie] We also have the
clothes from West Side Story. – When you look inside it has that unmistakable
purple that the Sharks wore. – [Eddie] I think preserving these pieces, it’s very important. Because it’s Hollywood history. There’s so much of it that’s gone. And just to be able to save
this stuff and preserve it for the next generations
of costume designers and even, you know, people in Hollywood. Hopefully one day that this
stuff will be in a museum. (gentle piano music)

4 Replies to “‘Chinatown’ to ‘Black Panther’: Western Costume Co. Tour with Oscar Nominated Designers | THR”

  1. i think it's kinda cool that people were able to rent monroe's jacket for halloween. i mean at least it's being worn and living!

  2. So incredibly cool that these periods have been preserved, and can be replicated, with hard work and creativity. Bravo! And, Leighton, you are my favorite costume lady :).

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