Legend Meets Luxury: Great Gatsby Costumes in Tokyo

Prada Epicenter, Tokyo

Architects Herzog and de Meuron’s 2003 Prada Epicenter in Tokyo’s fashionable Aoyama district is a six floor, five-sided, polyhedral design for the 21st century. The aim of the building is “to reshape both the concept and function of shopping, pleasure and communication, to encourage the meshing of consumption and culture.” What better place to host an exhibition of Miuccia Prada’s glamorous costume designs for Baz Luhrmann’s recent Great Gatsby film?

Prada’s designs are based on pieces picked from previous collections, which have been restyled for the 3D production. These include trademark crystal gowns, fur collars, beaded bodices, column dresses and costume jewellery, all of which are given a surprisingly modern 1920s makeover. They may not have the sophistication and delicacy of construction of authentic early 20th century garments, but this is Gatsby and these are costumes.

By way of inspiration, the ‘flapper’ girls in their glittering gowns and fabulously over the top headwear are each based on a fictional character – some of which are introduced below, using captions from the exhibition.

Daisy Buchanan: the golden girl, the king’s daughter, her voice “full of money.” She was the wife of Tom Buchanan, a very famous polo player and one of America’s wealthiest men.
Daisy Buchanan: the golden girl, the king’s daughter, her voice “full of money.” She was the wife of Tom Buchanan, a very famous polo player and one of America’s wealthiest men.

Prada costume for Daisy in Great Gatsby

Prada shoes for Daisy, Great Gatsby

Renowned Mexican silent film star Rosa Dolores was so celebrated that the President of Mexico appointed her as an ambassador to the United States. She played both roles with subtlety, deftness and quiet cunning, despite her brazen pink hair.
Renowned Mexican silent film star Rosa Dolores was so celebrated that the President of Mexico appointed her as an ambassador to the United States. She played both roles with subtlety, deftness and quiet cunning, despite her brazen pink hair.

Rosa Dolores costume Great Gatsby film

One of the first women ever to talk on the big screen, Geraldine Peacock didn’t just act. She wrote songs, screenplays, and sonnets for stages on both coasts – Broadway to the east, Hollywood to the west.
One of the first women ever to talk on the big screen, Geraldine Peacock didn’t just act. She wrote songs, screenplays, and sonnets for stages on both coasts – Broadway to the east, Hollywood to the west.

Geraldine Peacock costume for Great Gatsby film

Headwear for Geraldine Peacock in Great Gatsby film

Hermione Tappe was a dancer first, notorious gold-digger second. She danced her way into the heart and wallet of Argentina’s richest playboy and there she swore she would stay forevermore.
Hermione Tappe was a dancer first, notorious gold-digger second. She danced her way into the heart and wallet of Argentina’s richest playboy and there she swore she would stay forevermore.

Great Gatsby costumes by Prada

Recruited from the Moulin Rouge, Amandine Florentine danced circles around those Goldfield girls, though she was sometimes accused of appearing two-faced.
Recruited from the Moulin Rouge, Amandine Florentine danced circles around those Goldfield girls, though she was sometimes accused of appearing two-faced.

Costume for Amendine Florentine in Great Gatsby film

Prada dress detail from Great Gatsby film

The quintessential flapper, Blue Maloney didn’t care a wink for men. She just wanted to bob her hair dangerously short, dance the Charleston and get giddy off the giggle-water-Moet, please! Gatsby’s was perfect for her.
The quintessential flapper, Blue Maloney didn’t care a wink for men. She just wanted to bob her hair dangerously short, dance the Charleston and get giddy off the giggle-water-Moet, please! Gatsby’s was perfect for her.

Feather headpiece for Great Gatsby film

Geraldine Peacock headwear in Great Gatsby film

Geraldine Peacock outfit for Great Gatsby film

Prada headpiece for Geraldine Peacock in Great Gatsby

Prada Great Gatsby exhibition in Tokyo

Irene’s salacious, high society gossip column, Ruffling Feathers did just that once a week in The Empire State Post. Rumor has it she came to Gatsby’s just to eavesdrop.
Irene’s salacious, high society gossip column, Ruffling Feathers did just that once a week in The Empire State Post. Rumor has it she came to Gatsby’s just to eavesdrop.

Prada dress for Great Gatsby

Super-rich Lillian Millman was a casino owner, philanthropist, and member of the female ‘Ratpack.’
Super-rich Lillian Millman was a casino owner, philanthropist, and member of the female ‘Ratpack.’

Headpiece for Lillian Millman Great Gatsby film

Actress and wife of Marlon Goldfield Jr., Geraldine Vocce was the sworn enemy of Florence Green. The ladies once came to blows after one too many champagnes around Gatsby’s roulette table.
Actress and wife of Marlon Goldfield Jr., Geraldine Vocce was the sworn enemy of Florence Green. The ladies once came to blows after one too many champagnes around Gatsby’s roulette table.

Geraldine Voce headwear for Great Gatsby film

Lola Goodman costume for Great Gatsby film

Sequined dress and headpiece Prada for Great Gatsby

Great Gatsby headdress

Headpiece for Florence Green in Great Gatsby

Prada Gatsby exhibition in Tokyo

The curated display of original costumes is on show at Prada’s Tokyo store until the end of this week. Additional Gatsby gowns are currently being exhibited at Japanese department store, Isetan, along with a selection of fashion illustrations for the film.

Great Gatsby dresses at Isetan

Gatsby costumes at Isetan

Prada illustrations for Great Gatsby film

Fashion illustration from Great Gatsby film

Men’s costumes from the film, generated via a separate brand collaboration with Brooks Brothers, can also be seen at Isetan.The inspiration for the collegiate style men’s costumes in the film came from illustrations in Brooks Brothers archives, along with a selection of 1920s products and photography.  Production designer Catherine Martin (also Baz Luhrmann’s wife), who orchestrated the luxury brand collaborations, says, “Brooks Brothers is mentioned numerous times in Fitzgerald’s writings as a representation of the ultimate gentleman’s purveyor of fine clothing to the American man of distinction. It is this most basic and fundamental connection that has made our collaboration so authentic.”

Brooks Brothers Great Gatsby costumes at Isetan

There are many other brand collaborations in the film, including Tiffany (jewellery), Fogal (tights/socks) and Moet & Chandon champagne. Of course, you can buy all you see – and hear (if you are a fan of the curiously incongruous hip-hop soundtrack?)

Which begs the question ‘why not a truly authentic Gatsby brand?’  An internet search reveals the prestigious Gatsby name is being used to sell hot tub covers and spa accessories in Florida, along with Malaysian hair products, deodorant and acne cream. In the UK, David Sainsbury has set up a charitable foundation in the Gatsby name. And so Fitzgerald’s legacy lives on…

We can’t wait to see the costumes for the next Gatsby film.

Posted in: Fashion, News, Women's Clothing

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