Post 4 – Costume Designer Deena Appel

Who is Deena Appel?……..

Deena Appel spent the early part of her career in retail, working as a buyer for two clothing chains which served as great training.

“As a buyer, I had to separate myself from my own taste. It was about the customer, not me. Costume design is similar but, instead of thinking in the mindset of one customer, you’re thinking in terms of an 80-year-old man, a 6-year-old boy or a beautiful woman.”

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Turning to costume design, Deena Appel has worked on in excess of 30+ movies and TV show (initial movie being “The girl with a crazy brother), including the most famous Austin Powers.  Her vibrant wardrobe for “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery” (1997) helped spawn the film’s cult following especially in ’60s-style dress

Appel - Austin 2 Appel - Austin 1 Appel - Austin 3 bedazzled “A costume designer’s job is to serve the script; the work should be undetected, seamless with the character,”

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 “But the world we created from Mike’s (Myers) imagination was in-your-face about the look. It afforded me a tremendous opportunity to show off.”

As a board member of the Costume Designers Guild, Appel is working with other costume designers to gain credit on merchandise made from movie and tv series characters.

“These creative minds don’t see a dime of profit. And it’s the same story for just about every costume designer in Hollywood.  It’s all of them. Every movie you can think of.” Appel notes.

“Studios are essentially saying, ‘Design the clothes for the film and we’ll take what you do and put it into a completely different industry – the retail world. And you’re not going to get anything from it,'” adds Appel

“When ‘Austin Powers’ became dolls, Halloween costumes and board games, and it went on for years, not only am I not compensated for that in any way, shape or form, I am not even credited for it.”


Post 4- Costume Design- Ann Roth


I’m simply not a fashion person. I’ve never been near a runway.” declares Roth

With six decades in the film industry and over 100 film credits to her name, legendary costume designer Ann Roth has earned numerous accolades for her diverse career, including an Oscar for “The English Patient.

Roth is noted for her ability to collaborate with actors and directors in creating rememberable characters, and has worked repeatedly with such artists as Mike Nichols, Stephen Daldry, Anthony Minghella, Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda, Robin Williams, Nicole Kidman and Daniel Day-Lewis.

She gets her ideas from mountains of research. She travels, reads widely and pores over photographs, magazines and newspaper articles.

The designer takes after her mentor, Irene Sharaff, whom she spent five years apprenticing with in the 1950s. Roth graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon) in Pittsburgh. Roth went on to work with Sharaff on the films A Star Is Born and The King and I, and on such Broadway shows as Candide and Happy Hunting. Soon after going out on her own, the young costume designer established long-running working relationships with Broadway heavyweights Neil Simon and Mike Nichols.

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POST 4: Walter Plunkett



Walter Plunkett was a prolific costume designer who worked on more than 150 projects throughout his career in the Hollywood film industry.

Plunkett is well known for his designs for the following Gone with the wind, Singing in the rain, Stagecoach, Forbidden planet and many more.

Walter Plunkett was born June 5 1902, While studying Law at the University of California he made a quick change of interest when he found himself enjoying his involvement with the campus’ theatrical group.


In 1925 when Plunkett first arrived in Hollywood he held delusions of movie stardom. While he was eager to hold more substantial roles in stock and vaudeville, the best he could do to contribute to the movies was the occasional bit or extras part.

His career got a real kick-start with his first credit job as a costume designer in the 1927 film “Hard-Boild Haggerty”

Through the kindness of an old friend, Costumer Howard Greer, forwarded Walter Plunkett a job at Joseph P. Kennedy’s FBO studios.

By the time FBO became RKO Radio in 1929, Plunkett had worked up to the position of designer, working on such earlier RKO productions as Rio Rita (1929), Morning Glory (1933) and Flying Down to Rio (1933).


Freelancing after 1937, He designed for such independents as Hal Roach, Walter Wanger, Alexander Korda and David O. Selznick.

Thanks to Swlznick, Plunkett undertook his most ambitious assignment; Designing all costumes and uniforms for the 1939 classic Gone with the Wind.

Although He did not receive an award for his extraordinary efforts for Gone with the wind, as there was no category in the academy for costume designer during the time.

Twelve years later he shared an Academy Award with Orry-Kelly and Irene for An American in Paris (1951).

David. O Selznick himself said that if there were a category for costume designer all those year back, Walter Plunkett would have won it for Gone With The Wind.

After working  in famous films, big broadway and the magnificent metropolitan Opera. Plunkett decided it was time to retire out of the wonderful world of design in 1966.

He passed away in March 8 1982 at the age of seventy-nine, leaving a remarkable design footprint.


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Shortly before his death, Walter Plunkett personally refurbished the original dresses in the David O. Selznick Archive. These dresses, however, were made to last for as long as it would take to shoot the film and are still extremely fragile. However reproductions of the dresses were made in 1987 and are also housed at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Centre.

Post 4: Catherine Martin – Costume Designer


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                  Catherine Martin was born on  26 Jan1965,
                  in Lindfield, New South Wales, Australia.
      When she was six, her mother taught her how to sew dresses for her dolls, which in hindsight served as a catalyst for her eventual career. After high school, Martin attended the Sydney College of the Arts.

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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.[2]


Catherine also designed Nicole Kidman’s vintage wardrobe for her husband’s 2008 film Australia.
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Costume Design – William Ivey Long

William Ivey Long is an American costume designer born August 30, 1947, specialising in stage & film.  He was born in Seaboard, North Carolina where he completed high school & went on to study History at the ‘College of William & Mary’, receiving a BA & graduating in 1969.  Both his mother & father were theatre educators, with his father founding the Winthrop University theatre department. William spent much of his spare time in Manteo, North Carolina, working with his family on Paul Green’s outdoor drama, ‘The Lost Colony’.

William Ivey Long, Jr.

He pursued a Ph.D. in Art History at the ‘University of North Carolina’ at Chapel Hill, where visiting professor Betty Smith suggested he apply to the design program at Yale University. He commenced Set Design studies at the ‘Yale School of Drama’, where he met fellow university students Sigourney Weaver, Wendy Wasserstein, Meryl Streep, Christopher Durang & Paul Rudnick. William has credited designer Ming Cho Lee (whom he studied under) as a major influence on his personal work.

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In 1975 William received an MFA in stage design & graduated from Yale & moved to New York City where he worked as an unpaid apprentice for couturier Charles James, until 1978. Karen Schulz (a fellow Yale student) was the set designer for a Broadway revival of Nikolai Gogol’s ‘The Inspector General’ & suggested that William Long be hired to do costume designs for the show. To this day William Long has since designed for over 60 Broadway shows.

His most notable work include ‘The Producers’, ‘Hairspray’, ‘Nine’, ‘Crazy for You’, ‘Grey Gardens’ & ‘Young Frankenstein’. Each summer he returns to Manteo, where he has served as Production Designer since 1988, with 2012 marking his 42nd season with the production.

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“Long’s creations have had a tendency to become as much of a celebrity as the people who wear them. His pieces are so lively that they seem to have personalities on their own. The movements the costumes were made for seem to reflect in the fabric. Each detail is lovingly stitched for the characters of the stage and speaks of the story itself, giving the viewer a little taste of the spectacle that is Broadway.”

~ Encore Magazine’s art columnist, Lauren Hodges.

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Other costume design works include:
“A Streetcar Named Desire”, “Sweet Charity”, “La Cage aux Folles”, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial”, “The Front Page”, “Big Fish”, “Catch Me If You Can”, “Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway”, “The Ritz”, “Little Shop of Horrors”, “Cabaret”, “Guys and Dolls”, “Dreamgirls”.

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