Film costume, 'Australia', jacket, skirt, blouse and hat, womens, Lady Sarah Ashley, designed by Catherine Martin, various makers, Fox Studios, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, worn by Nicole Kidman, Australia, 2007
Catherine Martin is one of Australia's outstanding creative talents, working as a production designer, film producer and costume designer on significant film, theatre and event productions including Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet, La Bohème and Australia. Martin's creative collaboration with husband Baz Luhrmann has produced a visually lush, musically exhilarating, poetic style of storytelling. A key feature of these productions is the costuming and sets which reflect the extensive research and inventive interpretation of references drawn from across history and cultures.
The costumes for Strictly Ballroom (1992) (92/1900-92/1939) and Moulin Rouge! (2001) (2008/199/1-17) were acquired by the Museum in 1992 and 2008 and this latest donation enhances the collection with a selection of costumes and accessories from the films Romeo + Juliet (1996) and Australia (2008) and the USA production of Puccini's opera La Bohème (2003-2004).
This collection reflects the diverse approaches Martin and her team take in costuming film and theatre productions. In Romeo + Juliet, Leonardo DiCaprio's Romeo wears an off the shelf Prada shirt that has been skilfully distressed to appear dirty and bloodied, while his companions the Montague boys appear in colourful screen printed and hand painted Hawaiian shirts. The Australia costumes reflect the design and production teams' careful research into 1930s and 1940s clothing which they have skilfully re-interpreted and reproduced for the film. In contrast the costumes for the four key characters from La Bohème are an eclectic mix of contemporary mass market work wear, designer labels and newly created garments.
The Catherine Martin collection also includes outfits and accessories from her personal wardrobe which reflect her romantic style, knowledge of fashion history and passion for handcrafted, artisanal textiles; an aesthetic that is also a key part of her designs for film, theatre, interior design and fashion. The collection includes outfits Martin wore to premiers and award nights including the evening dress she wore to the 74th Academy Awards where she received two Academy Awards for Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction.
Catherine Martin personal wardrobe will enhance the Museum's contemporary fashion and dress collection with significant examples of work from Australian and international designer labels including Easton Pearson, Collette Dinnigan, Willow, Akira Isogawa, Chanel, Mui Mui, Jill Sander, Comme des Garçons and Prada.
- Glynis Jones, Curator, Fashion and Dress, December 2010
Costumes designed by Catherine Martin, Sydney in 2007. Made at Fox Studios, Sydney Australia.
This ensemble was made for the film Australia, 2008, and was worn by Nicole Kidman during the filming in 2007.
This ensemble was designed and made for Baz Lurhmann's film 'Australia', 2008 and was worn by Nicole Kidman during the filming in 2007.
Catherine Martin was born in Sydney in 1965. She completed a Diploma Design course at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts in Sydney. It was here that she met and started working on projects with her future husband and creative partner Baz Luhrmann (b 1962).
Martin's first design project with Luhrmann was his experimental opera entitled Lake Lost devised for the Australian Opera in 1987, for which she and her co-designer Angus Strathie won a Victorian Green Room Award for Best Design. She has designed all of Luhrmann's subsequent productions including Strictly Ballroom (1992), Romeo + Juliet (1996) for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Art Direction, A Midsummer Night's Dream (various season's 1993, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2003) Moulin Rouge (2001) for which Martin won Academy Awards for Best Costume Design and best Production Design, La Bohème (various productions, 1990, 1993, 1996, 2002, 2003, 2004) and Australia (2008).
Catherine Martin and Baz Luhrmann married in 1997 and in the same year co-founded their film, theatre and entertainment production company Bazmark Inc and its subsidiaries Bazmark Live and Bazmark Music.