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Tactics & Narrow Butts • Journal • Letterboxd Magazine • Letterboxd

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Catherine Martin, Sparkling Diamond

This year, Kathryn Martin is nominated for her and Baz Luhrmann’s dazzling work Elvis, with CM nominations including Best Picture (as a producer), Best Costume Design, and Best Production Design. When we talked about the podcast, my most controversial question was about this clever legend: What’s the secret to bringing out Elvis’ scream-inducing wiggle?

Short answer: tight backside, loose front. Long answer: “I’ve worked with an amazing dressmaker for 30 years, Gloria Bava, and my challenge was to help us figure out this look,” Katherine tells me and my co-host Gemma Graswood. “His pants had a tie, which helps — a tie meant it was a little narrower at the bottom, so the leg is a bit of a balloon, and the top of the leg is allowed to flutter. You don’t want it to be just a baggy butt; it has to have a nice shape in the back.” It had to be peachy. Then it had to be wide enough in the front without looking baggy or like jeans or anything old man kind of thing.”

Martin also reveals another essential trick for crafting the most pelvic-friendly pants possible: Watching the test Luhrmann wiggle. Indeed, the director is also her husband, so she had full access to him and his moves. “Baz is a very good natural dancer and a good mover, so a lot of these outfits start with him to see if he can feel how the actor can move in the clothes,” she says.

He spent a lot of time—I regret revealing his secret—in Austin’s clothes. It wasn’t scary: We’d make him a rehearsal set and understand the choreography and how ’50s clothes relate to the body. associated with clothing? How do we understand it? It’s very hard to do without it, so it was exploration and experimentation.”


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