'The Wolf of Wall Street' Costume Designer reveals what it's like to work with legendary Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, & more
The film stars even more A-list actors, from Matthew McConaughey to Jonah Hill, all supported by the stylings of legendary Costume Designer Sandy Powell.
We sat down with Powell to talk about the new film, out tomorrow, Christmas Day, in theaters everywhere. Powell reveals what it's like to work with the Oscar-nominated Leonardo DiCaprio, the Australian beauty Margot Robbie, and more.
StyleList: Leonardo DiCaprio gave an amazing performance in "The Wolf of Wall Street," with every suit as impeccable as could be. How did Leonardo's character's, Jordan Belfort, style evolve throughout the movie?
Sandy Powell: The character starts out in off the peg suits such as the grey one he wears on his first day on Wall St. and the greeny/blue one the day of the Wall St. crash.
These are typically '80s in cut and color, lose fitting, extreme shoulders and 2 or 3 pleat pants.
As he starts to make more money his suits get more and more expensive looking as they are they are custom-made my the best tailors using the finest cloth.
Style-wise the suits actually become more formal and conservative looking in the traditional mode of British Savill Row tailoring which was how they all aspired to dress.
SL: You've been the Costume Designer on many of Leonardo DiCaprio's other films, from "Shutter Island" to "The Departed." What is your favorite part about working with Leonardo on wardrobe?
SP: Leo is very easy to work with, of course it helps that I am familiar with his physique and know what suits him.
He is also very collaborative in the process as he does meticulous character work which then helps in making decisions re: wardrobe.
Usually Leo will know immediately he puts the right thing on before even looking in the mirror.
SL: Australian actress Margot Robbie stunned as Leonardo's second wife, Naomi. What was your favorite look of Naomi's in the film?
SP: Margot is of course a dream to dress, it would have been hard for her not to look stunning!
My favorite outfit however must me the head to toe Versace look we put together for the scene where she walks in on the gay orgy.
I wanted her to display her wealth in an obvious way which although is over the top is not vulgar.
SL: In addition to Leonardo, you worked with powerhouse actors like Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, and countless others on the film. When dressing each character, did the actor have a say in the style?
SP: Yes, usually I encourage the actor to voice their opinion as often they know more about their character than I do.
The best part about designing a costume or look for someone is the moment in the fitting when the character, not the actor is standing in front of you and you believe them.
SL: So many scenes, whether poolside parties or on the stock trading floor, involved hundreds of extras. How did you go about dressing so many characters?
SP: I had a large and experienced crew who spent many hours doing fittings with all the various types of extras.
The clothes were collected over the first few months of preproduction from various sources.
Many are rented from costume houses and every thrift store and vintage clothes shops were scoured.
SL: What was your research before filming like in order to design and choose the costumes?
SP: Research involved looking at many photographic and filmed references including personal photos provided by the real Jordan Belfort.
I also looked at back copies from the 80's and 90's of menswear magazines such as GQ and Arena along with the usual women's fashion stuff.
SL: What were some of the most iconic looks from the '90s that you wanted to see on the screen?"
SP: It's hardener to sum up iconic '90s looks for men but I suppose it must be the finely tailored power suit after it evolved to a more tasteful version from the 80's exaggerated one.
For the women it was all about tight-fitting and body consciousness for the earlier parts then becoming a little more subtle with a lot of black in the later part.
SL: What was your favorite part about being Costume Designer on "The Wolf of Wall Street"?
SP: Working with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio again because as usual it was a rewarding and creative experience.
'The Wolf of Wall Street' is out in theaters nationwide Wednesday, December 25th.