EPISODE 14 – ”How i started” Anthea Sylbert, Deborah Landis, Cate Adair

EPISODE 14 – ”How i started”  Anthea Sylbert, Deborah Landis, Cate Adair

Are costume designers born or made? 3 Hollywood costume designers tells how they started their career

Directed by Sakis Lalas

Interviews by Valentina De Giorgi

Produced by TheDarkCandy

Meet the Hollywood Costume Designers

docu-series, Episode 14

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For Professor Deborah Nadoolman Landis (Coming to America, The Blues Brothers, Indiana Jones Riders of Lost Ark) there is no doubt: she was born a costume designer. She loved to make dresses, but above all she loved to tell stories, becausecostume designers have to love stories, even more than dress making, we have to love telling stories, reading stories, understanding stories, we have to love history, we have to love research”, as she puts it in this episode of Meet The Hollywood Costume Designers.

And Cate Adair (Desperate Housewives, The Man in the High Castle) always wanted to be a costume designer: she understood this since she was about 7, and her mother took her up to London to see a theater production of Peter Pan. That was her first encounter with the magic of the characters and of the stories they were telling to her. Storytelling, again. And the passion for dress making, learned by observing her godmother, a children dress designer, at work in her atelier.

We can then say that costume design is a passion with which you are born, but sometimes it has to be discovered through the back door, as happened to Anthea Sylbert (Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby). Her professional destiny was to become an archaeologist, but when she was offered a summer job by a costume designer to do research and sketches for him, she found out that this was way more interesting than dusty XII century manuscripts. And we thank that unknown costume designer that offered Sylbert a job: without him we would not have had one of the most legendary costume designers in the history of cinema.

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Costume designer si nasce o si diventa?

Per Deborah Nadoolman Landis (The Blues Brothers, Indiana Jones e I Predatori dell’Arca Perduta) non ci sono dubbi: lei è nata costume designer.

Lei amava fare vestiti, ma soprattutto raccontare storie, perché “i costume designers devono amare le storie, ancora più che fare i vestiti, noi dobbiamo amare il raccontare storie, leggere storie, capire storie, dobbiamo amare la storia, dobbiamo amare la ricerca”, come dice lei stessa in questo episodio di Meet The Hollywood Costume Designers.

Anche Cate Adair (Desperate Housewives, L’Uomo Nell’alto Castello) ha sempre voluto essere una costume designer: lo ha capito da quando, a 7 anni, la mamma la portò a Londra a vedere una rappresentazione di Peter Pan in teatro. Quello fu il suo primo incontro con la magia dei personaggi e delle storie che raccontavano. Lo storytelling, dunque. Al quale si è unita la passione del fare i vestiti, imparata osservando la madrina, designer di vestiti per bambini, al lavoro nel suo atelier.

E allora possiamo dire che quella del costume design è una passione con cui si nasce, ma che a volte va scoperta attraverso vie traverse, come è successo ad Anthea Sylbert (Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby). Il suo destino professionale era quello di diventare archeologa, ma un lavoro estivo fatto in teatro con un costume designer le ha fatto capire che tutto ciò era molto più interessante dei manoscritti polverosi del XII secolo. E noi ringraziamo quello sconosciuto costume designer che le offrì un lavoro: senza di lui non avremmo avuto una delle più grandi costume designer della storia del cinema.