Below please find our exclusive interview with Shelley Komarov on designing for Oscar nominee and Golden Globe Winner, Matthew McConaughey.
How would you say designing for fashion models differs from designing costumes for the bank robbers in The Newton Boys? How would you describe their style?
When you work on a movie, you design to match the character. The events in this picture take place in 1920s, so you define the character and the dress according to the period. Matthew’s character was supposed to become dandy dressed, so I made a lot of suits and shirts for him. At the same time, you design according to the evolution of the character. In the case of Matthew’s character, it moved from poor to wealthy as more and more banks have been robbed.
You were lucky enough to catch Matthew McConaughey in the beginning of his career, what was it like working with him?
I really liked matthew, he has a star quality on screen. I saw it right away even though he was an inexperienced actor at that time, but He was so natural. As for working with him, it was a very pleasant experience, so I have fond memories from working with him.
Did you face any challenges when designing for The Newton Boys? If so, what were they?
Working on a period movie is always a challenge. You have to achieve a balance between being faithful to the period and at the same time being appealing to the today’s viewer.
What was most memorable about working on the set of The Newton Boys?
We had an interesting scene in a “speak easy” bar in Chicago. We dressed my wardrobe supervisor for a small speaking role and it was very funny, he was quite good actually.
I remember the last days of the shooting, we were in the cotton field and it was hot, really hot. I could not leave my trailer, my Russian blood could not handle the Texans heat.
Although Matthew McConaughey is quite the A-list celebrity, who is your dream client?
I worked with many A-list actors but if I had a chance, I would like to work with Elizabeth Taylor and Sophia Loren.
What was your inspiration for the designs and styles that you chose for The Newton Boys?
When I work on a period movie, I do a lot of research. I read a lot, watch documentaries, study magazines of the period and from that comes the inspiration.
How did you use your passion for form and texture when designing for Matthew McConaughey in The Newton Boys?
Actually, pleating was in vogue during the 20th, so I used some for Juliana Margulies who also was in the movie. She also became a big star, nominated for the Golden Globe and for Emmy.
Besides The Newton Boys, what other movie did you enjoy designing for?
I loved working on “Lost in Yonkers” based on the Neil Simon’s play and starring Richard Dreyfus and Mercedes Ruehl. It was a joy to work on “Inherent the Wind” with Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott. Their performances were so great that I did not want to leave the set. I would also include in this list “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” with Halle Berry.
How does your work from The Newton Boys compare to work that you have done from your line, Komarov Clothing?
The work on fashion is very different. Now instead of designing for a character you design something that you hope thousands would wear and enjoy.
How did designing for The Newton Boys compare to any other movie that you have worked on?
This was a really nice experience, with more fun than the pressure. I liked people I worked with and we had a lot of fun.
What is your favorite part about designing for movies? How does it differ from designing for your clothing line?
I did like the research part and work on a character when making a movie. When I work on the line, I often try to interpret a certain period and adapt it to modernity. For example, today’s fashion reflects the spirit of the 50s, just as last year it was 70s. After having worked on so many period projects for movies, I am probably quite skeptical seeing some fashion claiming that a certain style looks, say, 70s. To have some elements of that period does not always mean that the spirit of that period is captured.