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Catherine Martin

Catherine Martin Australian costume designer

Australian costume designer
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro Australian costume designer
Is Fashion designer Costume designer Film producer Film crew member Scenographer Production designer
From Australia
Type Creativity Fashion Film, Television, Stage and Radio
Gender female
Birth 26 January 1965, Lindfield, Australia
Age: 55 years
Star sign AquariusAquarius
Family
Spouse: Baz Luhrmann
The details
Biography

Catherine Martin (born 26 January 1965) is an Australian costume designer, production designer, set designer, and film producer. She won two Academy Awards for Moulin Rouge! in 2002 and another two for The Great Gatsby in 2014. Having won four Oscars, she is the most awarded Australian in Oscar history, having overtaken 1950s costume designer Orry-Kelly.

Life and career

Martin was born in Lindfield, New South Wales, to a French mother and an Australian father, both academics who met at the Sorbonne. She has one brother. As a child, Martin was fascinated by the vintage clothing parades occasionally thrown by her Australian grandmother and her church friends. She would beg her parents to take her to the Victoria and Albert Museum so she could dig through the costume section. Her mother taught her to use a sewing machine at age 6, and by age 15 she was creating her own patterns in order to make herself dresses. In an interview with Tory Burch, Martin mentioned The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind as her childhood inspirations for her love of film and design.

She attended North Sydney Girls High School. As a student, she worked as an usherette at the Roseville theatre. She went on to study visual arts at the Sydney College of the Arts, pattern cutting at East Sydney Technical College, and design at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), where she gained a Diploma in Design and started collaborating with fellow student and now husband Baz Luhrmann.

Catherine Martin designed sets and costumes for Luhrmann's one-act stage precursor of Strictly Ballroom. After completing studies, she worked as a designer on Luhrmann's production of "Lake Lost" (1988). In 1989, she designed the sets for an Australian stage production of Diary of a Madman starring Geoffrey Rush. She worked on Luhrmann's La bohème (1990) and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

She recreated her designs for screen-version of Strictly Ballroom (1992), for which she won two Australian Film Institute Awards (Best Production design and Best Costume design). She won an Oscar nomination (as a production designer) for Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet (1996). She also made her debut as an associate producer for the same film. She married Luhrmann on her 32nd birthday, 26 January 1997.

Their third feature collaboration was Moulin Rouge! (2001), the last in Luhrmann's The Red Curtain Trilogy. She designed the sets and co-designed the costumes with Angus Strathie. The feature earned her two Academy Awards: for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design.

In 2002, she adapted her set and costume designs for Luhrmann's Broadway adaptation of La bohème, for which she won Broadway's 2003 Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical and won a nomination as Best Costume Designer (along with Angus Strathie).

She designed Nicole Kidman's vintage wardrobe for her husband's 2008 film Australia. She has stated that the tailoring on the clothing produced for the film is one of her proudest achievements. In 2009, she received a fourth Oscar nomination for Best Achievement in Costume Design for Australia, but lost the award to Michael O'Connor for The Duchess.

After her husband's insistence that she revisit The Great Gatsby, which she had not read since adolescence, the two began working on the novel's cinematic reinvention. The conceptualization for the film began 10 years prior to its release. Three years before it made its debut, Martin and Luhrmann began the initial design project for the film. The two consulted academic texts about the novel, as well as historical analyses pertaining to both Fitzgerald himself, as well as his work. They visited libraries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Fashion Institute of Technology to further their research. Martin described herself during this time as being "like a detective". Luhrmann stated that since the book took place in 1922, was published in 1925, but foreshadowed the economic crash of 1929, anything within that decade was available to borrow for design purposes. This allowed Martin more room to play with trends and flattering pieces, such as her choice to dress lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio in slimmer-cut suits than what would have been typical in the beginning of the decade. For the women's clothes in the film, she erred towards the end of the decade, wanting to focus on slimmer silhouettes. She also took artistic liberties when it came to the actresses' shoes, telling Vogue that she found heels from the era to be "stumpy". She rationalized her choice to her usually anachronistically aware-self to use thinner-heeled shoes by telling herself she was copying what was found in fashion illustrations from the time. Martin was charged with creating 500 outfits for the film's various cast members. Martin worked with Brooks Brothers and Miuccia Prada, a longtime friend of her husband's, to design the costumes for the film. Prada designed twenty of the dresses for the film's first party scene, and an additional twenty for a second party scene. Tiffany & Co. supplied the film's jewelry. For The Great Gatsby's sets, Martin took inspiration from 1920s designer Syrie Maugham, as well as from houses on the Long Island Shore, where part of the film takes place. In total, 42 sets were constructed under Martin's vision in 14 weeks. She and Luhrmann aimed to make the film feel authentic, but also connective for a modern audience. For her work on the film, Martin earned the 2013 Academy Award for Best Costume Design, as well as the Academy Award for Best Production Design, the latter which she shares with Beverley Dunn. These two wins resulted in Martin becoming the Australian with the most Academy Awards.

Shortly after the release of Gatsby, Martin collaborated with Brooks Brothers to release a limited edition menswear collection. She has also launched a range of home wares, featuring paints, wallpaper and rugs.

In 2013, Martin was a Glamour Magazine Woman of the Year. Discussing her and Luhrmann's progression as artists, Marin told the magazine, "We've gone from me staying up all night to paint the floor to where I am now, with 300 carpenters working for me. I feel like the Queen of England." For her spread in their December issue, her husband photographed her alongside their children. Months later, Vogue Australia featured the same photo alongside a story about Martin and her work for the stage adaptation of Strictly Ballroom.

Martin's work was featured in fellow costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis' 2013 book Hollywood Costume.

She has stated that she is no longer tempted to keep any wardrobe mementos from the films she works on, telling Fashionista, "... I realized through long and hard experience the best record of your work, is the work itself."

Martin has stated that she prides herself on ensuring the costumes she produces are beautifully made, comfortable, and easy to take on and off.

In 2016, Martin and Luhrmann developed the Netflix television series The Get Down, which takes place in 1970s South Bronx. Martin was an executive producer of the series.

Personal life

She met her husband, Baz Luhrmann, in college and the pair wed in 1997. The couple have two children together: a girl, Lillian Amanda Luhrmann, born on 10 October 2003 and a boy, William Alexander Luhrmann, who was born on 8 June 2005. In July 2015, the couple placed their Darlinghurst, Sydney, home on the market for $16 million AUD, in favour of establishing a more settled family life in New York City, where their family has been spending more and more time.

Filmography

Film

Year Title Contribution Notes
Costume Designer Production Designer Producer
1988 Interim Yes Short film
1989 Out of the Body Yes
1992 Strictly Ballroom Yes
1996 Romeo + Juliet Yes Yes Associate Producer
2001 Moulin Rouge! Yes Yes Yes Associate Producer
2008 Australia Yes Yes Yes Co-Producer
2012 Waist Up/Waist Down Yes Yes Short film
2012 Ugly Chic Yes Short Film
2012 The Surreal Body Yes Short film
2012 The Exotic Body Yes Yes Short film
2012 The Classical Body Yes Yes Short film
2012 Schiaparelli & Prada: Impossible Conversations Yes Yes Short film
2012 Naif Chic Yes Yes Short film
2012 Hard Chic Yes Yes Short film
2013 The Great Gatsby Yes Yes Yes
2017 ERDEM x H&M: The Secret Life of Flowers Yes Short film

Television

Year Title Cotribution Notes
Costume Designer Production Designer Producer
1994 Great Performances Yes Episode: "La boheme"
2016–2017 The Get Down Yes Yes Executive Producer (11 episodes)

Awards and nominations

Honors

  • 1999: Honored by the Australian Film Institute with the Byron Kennedy Award.

Accolades

Association Year Category Title Result
20/20 Awards 2013 Best Art Direction Strictly Ballroom Nominated
2014 Best Art Direction Romeo + Juliet Won
AACTA Awards 2014 Best Film The Great Gatsby Won
2014 Best Costume Design The Great Gatsby Won
2014 Best Production Design The Great Gatsby Won
Academy Awards 1997 Best Production Design () Romeo + Juliet Nominated
2002 Best Costume Design () Moulin Rouge! Won
2002 Best Production Design () Moulin Rouge! Won
2009 Best Costume Design Australia Nominated
2014 Best Costume Design The Great Gatsby Won
2014 Best Production Design () The Great Gatsby Won
Art Directors Guild 2002 Period or Fantasy Film Moulin Rouge! Won
2014 Period Film The Great Gatsby Won
Australian Film Institute Awards 1992 Best Production Design Strictly Ballroom Won
2001 Best Production Design Moulin Rouge! Won
2001 Best Costume Design () Moulin Rouge! Won
2009 Best Costume Design () Australia Won
2009 Best Production Design Australia Won
Awards Circuit Community Awards 1996 Best Art Direction () Romeo + Juliet Won
2013 Best Costume Design The Great Gatsby Nominated
2013 Best Production Design () The Great Gatsby Nominated
BAFTA Awards 1993 Best Production Design Strictly Ballroom Won
1993 Best Costume Design () Strictly Ballroom Won
1998 Best Production Design Romeo + Juliet Won
2002 Best Costume Design () Moulin Rouge! Nominated
2002 Best Production Design Moulin Rouge! Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association 2013 Best Art Direction/Production Design The Great Gatsby Nominated
Costume Designer Guild Awards 2014 Excellence in Period Film The Great Gatsby Nominated
Critics Choice Movie Awards 2014 Best Costume Design The Great Gatsby Won
2014 Best Art Direction () The Great Gatsby Won
Film Critics Circle of Australia 2009 Best Film Australia Nominated
2014 Best Film The Great Gatsby Nominated
2014 Best Production Design The Great Gatsby Won
Florida Film Critics Circle Awards 2013 Best Art Direction/Production Design The Great Gatsby Won
Gold Derby Awards 2009 Costume Design Australia Nominated
2009 Art Direction Australia Nominated
2014 Production Design The Great Gatsby Won
2014 Costume Design The Great Gatsby Won
IF Awards 2009 Best Production Design Australia Nominated
International Cinephile Society Awards 2009 Best Production Design Australia Nominated
2014 Best Production Design The Great Gatsby Nominated
International Online Cinema Awards 2009 Best Art Direction () Australia Nominated
2009 Best Costume Design Australia Nominated
2013 Best Production Design The Great Gatsby Nominated
2013 Best Costume Design The Great Gatsby Nominated
2014 Best Production Design The Great Gatsby Nominated
2014 Best Costume Design The Great Gatsby Won
Italian Online Movie Awards 2014 Best Costume Design The Great Gatsby Won
2014 Best Art Direction The Great Gatsby Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards 2001 Best Production Design Moulin Rouge! Won
Online Film & Television Association Awards 1997 Best Production Design (h) Romeo + Juliet Nominated
2002 Best Production Design Moulin Rouge! Nominated
2002 Best Costume Design () Moulin Rouge! Won
2014 Best Production Design The Great Gatsby Nominated
2014 Best Costume Design The Great Gatsby Won
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards 2002 Best Costume Design () Moulin Rouge! Nominated
2002 Best Production Design Moulin Rouge! Nominated
2013 Best Production Design () The Great Gatsby Nominated
2013 Best Costume Design The Great Gatsby Won
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards 2001 Best Production Design Moulin Rouge! Won
2013 Best Production Design () The Great Gatsby Won
Satellite Awards 1997 Best Art Direction Romeo + Juliet Won
2002 Best Costume Design () Moulin Rouge! Won
2002 Best Art Direction Moulin Rouge! Won
2008 Best Costume Design Australia Nominated
2008 Best Art Direction & Production Design Australia Won
2013 Best Costume Design The Great Gatsby Nominated
2013 Best Art Direction & Production Design () The Great Gatsby Won
Saturn Awards 2002 Best Costumes () Moulin Rouge! Nominated
2009 Best Costumes Australia Nominated
Seattle Film Critics Awards 2014 Best Production Design () The Great Gatsby Nominated
2014 Best Costume Design The Great Gatsby Won
St. Louis Film Critics Association 2013 Best Art Direction The Great Gatsby Won
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association 2013 Best Art Direction () The Great Gatsby Won
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Reference sources
References
http://www.elle.com/fashion/a12561/great-gatsby-costume-designer-catherine-martin-profile/
http://www.vogue.com/13276277/catherine-martin-tribeca/
http://www.toryburch.com/blog-post/blog-post.html?bpid=80904
https://web.archive.org/web/20140628115850/http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/03/25/1017004768408.html
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/03/25/1017004768408.html
https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/catherine-martin-is-strictly-sensational-20141219-12a8h9.html
http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2009/01/23/1232471579253.html
http://articles.nydailynews.com/2002-11-21/entertainment/18212050_1_baz-luhrmann-paris-bo-peep
http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/news-features/TMG3485575/Vintage-Australia.html
http://www.vogue.com/13255543/catherine-martin-interview-tribeca-film-festival/
http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2013/05/07/catherine-martin-great-gatsby-costume-interview
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