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Remembering costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge

January 21, 2011 |  1:30 pm

Greatgatsby The great Broadway and film costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge, who won an Oscar in 1975 for "The Great Gatsby," died on Friday. She was 78.

Aldredge's career spanned from the 1950s to the late 1990s, but it is the costumes she designed for films in the 1970s that are the most memorable and the most resonant now that the disco era has returned to the fashion runways at Marc Jacobs, Celine, Michael Kors, Aquilano e Rimondi and elsewhere.

Her costumes have inspired a great many fashion designers, including Ralph Lauren, who assisted on "Gatsby." The lavish, 1920s-influenced designs for that film -- including Robert Redford's dapper white suits, and Mia Farrow's romantic, drop-waist dresses -- jumped off the screen. They were so popular, they were even adapted for a clothing line sold at Bloomingdales at the time.

Aldredge also designed costumes for the 1978 thriller "The Eyes of Laura Mars," in which Faye Dunaway plays a fashion photographer. A shaggy-haired Tommy Lee Jones in a black turtleneck; Faye Dunaway in a split skirt, tall boots and a bow-front blouse, a plaid cape and fedora; models in furs dancing around a flaming car wreck -- it's a trip.


"Laura Mars" has become such a cult fashion film that designer Marios Schwab cited it as an influence for his fall 2010 collection for Halston. Which is funny, because Halston the man, whose heyday was the 1970s, no doubt influenced Aldredge.

Aldredge's range was incredible. Her film credits also include "The Rose," "Annie," "Ghostbusters," "Moonstruck" and "The First Wives Club." On Broadway, her work could be seen in "Barnum," "Gypsy," "A Chorus Line," "Dreamgirls" and "42nd Street."

-- Booth Moore

Upper photo: The 1974 version of "The Great Gatsby," starring Mia Farrow and Robert Redford. Credit: Paramount Pictures

Lower photo: In "The Eyes of Laura Mars," Faye Dunaway's high-fashion outfits are a standout in the film beloved by designers. Credit: Columbia / Kobal Collection