8 Costume Designers Turned Fashion Headliners
The ''sultan of sequins'' got his start as a costume assistant on The Judy Garland Show, but it wasn't long before he was turning heads with his over-the-top costumes. During his 11-year tenure designing costumes for The Carol Burnett Show, he created an iconic curtain rod send-up of the drapes dress from Gone With the Wind. Mackie continued working in film and television — netting nine Emmys and three Oscar nominations, including one for dressing Barbra Streisand in 1975's Funny Lady — as he branched out to designing eye-popping extravagances for Garland, Cher, Diana Ross, Liza Minnelli, Tina Turner, and Whitney Houston throughout the '70s, '80s, and '90s. Most notably, he created the unforgettable mohawk-topped two piece that Cher rebelliously wore to the 1986 Oscars, when she had been snubbed for her performance in Mask.
Though she'd opened a New York City boutique in 1966 and had been plugging away behind the scenes in costume design since 1986, it was her work with Sarah Jessica Parker on 1995 film Miami Rhapsody that set Field on a track to international notoriety. Three years later, Parker tapped her to design costumes for Sex and the City. Soon enough, the ''Carrie'' necklace, the oversized flower, and a dozen or so other major fashion trends became part of the national zeitgeist. Her work on Sex gave Field the boost to open up another boutique, and take her House of Field label global, and pick up a 2002 Emmy and an Oscar nomination for 2007's The Devil Wears Prada.
Before she designed Michelle Obama's 2012 State of the Union dress, Tfank cut her teeth in the wardrobe department of '90s movies including The Beautician and the Beast, Dream Lover, and Three of Hearts. Tfank shifted her focus entirely to fashion design in 2001, launching Barbara Tfank for Barneys. Mastering a professional yet stylish feminine style that ranges from the boardroom to the red carpet, she has dressed celebrities including Adele and Uma Thurman.
Soledad has been cultivating her steampunk style since growing up in Hawaii with her seamstress mother. Her dark aesthetic came in handy on horror flicks Hostel and Cabin Fever, though her best showcase was the sumptuous bizarro world of 2009's Coraline. That same year, Soledad presented her silk-and-leather custom corsets and animé-inspired costumes to snag the Emerging Designer Award at Portland Fashion Week. She has also taken her handiwork to San Diego Comic-Con, where she won Judges Choice and Best in Show three years in a row.
With work in film, TV, music videos, and commercials — including Christina Aguilera's ''Dirrty'' video, Aguilera again in ''Lady Marmalade'' with Lil' Kim, Mya, Pink, and Missy Elliot, and movies including The Mod Squad and Girl, Interrupted — but it was Summerville's work with David Fincher on 1997's The Game that sowed the seeds for her fashion debut. In the 15 years since The Game, Summerville and Fincher have worked together consistently, including several commercials featuring Brad Pitt and on 2011's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. To accompany the American release of the highly anticipated Swedish thriller, fellow Swedes H&M tapped Summerville to design a line inspired by antiheroine Lisbeth Salander, and Summerville finally made the jump from screen to store.
Bryant has been working as costume designer in film for nearly 20 years (The Last House on the Left, The Big Kahuna, Simply Irresistible), but it was her move to TV that secured her future. Her Emmy-winning period work on Deadwood gave her the name recognition that led to her work on Mad Men. When the show's throwback styles started hitting the runway, Bryant got in on the act by designing a commissioned line for Banana Republic since 2011. She has launched her own line, Janie Bryant MOD, for QVC, created a nail polish line for Nailtini, and partnered with Maidenform intimate apparel for a viral campaign.
Theoni V. Aldredge
Aldredge paved the way for Bryant, Summerville, and Daman when she leveraged her Oscar-winning design on 1974's The Great Gatsby into a limited-edition line for Bloomingdales. The Greek-born costumer had a formidable career, including two Oscar nods pre-Gatsby and, after, three Tonys for 1977's Annie, 1980's Barnum, and La Cage Aux Folles in 1983. She received 11 more Tony nods, two Emmy noms in the 1980s, and continued to work on notable projects including Moonstruck, Network, Ghostbusters, and the 2006 Broadway revival of A Chorus Line before her passing in January 2011.