Oscar award winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter was recently profiled in the Los Angeles Times about her work on the award-garnering 2019 film “Dolemite Is My Name.” The publication sat down with her to discuss the journey of creating all of the custom looks for Eddie Murphy’s star turn as Rudy Ray Moore aka Dolemite.
With behind the scenes sketches and her insights into the time period, Carter’s explanation of the work she did to bring the story to life on screen for director Craig Brewer is a treat. In an example of how she brings her expertise into any project she’s part of, Carter expounds upon part of her philosophy:
How did you keep all the flamboyant clothing from becoming a cartoon or caricature, or even the story focus?
From Day One, my philosophy to my crew was that we were going to look at all the trends of the era, not just one. So it’s not just bell bottoms, platform shoes, big Afros and polyester suits; to me this has become the quintessential ‘70s look. If you threw a party with ‘70s dress, you’re guaranteed five out of six people will have a big Afro, huge sunglasses and platform shoes. I wanted to explore all the trends that came out of the early ‘70s: Embroidery on jeans, the midi and maxi coat, matador pants. If you broaden the trends with more nuance, they won’t appear like caricatures.
Capping another successful collaboration with star Eddie Murphy, Carter’s latest work is once again garnering her awards attention. They will reunite once again on the upcoming sequel “Coming 2 America,” which lands in 2020.
“Dolemite Is My Name” is available on Netflix.