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.
Catherine also designed Nicole Kidman’s vintage wardrobe for her husband’s 2008 film Australia.