A Day In The Life Of Costume + Production Designer, Catherine Martin

Catherine Martin is an qualified at bringing worlds to life on display. She’s done just that as the costume, manufacturing and set designer for each 1 of Baz Luhrmann’s films, which include Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge! and far more a short while ago, Elvis.

‘I see my position as translating Baz’s vision,’ Catherine suggests.

‘He is a really visible director and will generally start off the process with visual cues, regardless of whether it is his minor scribbles, tear sheets or inspiration images, and it is my career to visually synthesise and translate his vision into actuality.’

‘It’s about having anything like a thought, an strategy or something that he explained to me verbally into concrete matters – a piece of cloth on an actor’s back, or a piece of household furniture in Elvis’s international suite.’

And it appears to be the inventive energy pair rarely at any time clash, many thanks to their sturdy collaborative spirit, honed more than a long time considering the fact that meeting as learners at NIDA.

‘Baz is very supportive of me and is 1 of my finest supporters, as I am his,’ Catherine suggests. ‘And then some times we just locate every other unbearably annoying and that is aspect and parcel for people who have lived and labored with each other for such a lengthy time’.

One particular of the most exceptional factors about Elvis (which received a 12-minute standing ovation at its Cannes Movie Competition premiere) is that it was filmed solely on established in the Gold Coastline. Catherine and her team crafted the film’s distinctly American destinations, from Beale Road, Memphis to Elvis and Pricilla Presley’s landmark house, Graceland, from scratch, with a surprising feeling of realism.

‘The capability of actors to deliver the people to daily life is constantly so mysterious and amazing,’ Catherine states. But it is her operate that will help Tom Hanks remodel into Colonel Tom Parker, and supports Austin Butler’s ‘magic’ effectiveness as Elvis.

Catherine claims she finds inspiration in daily pursuits like scrolling Instagram, studying publications, and heading for walks. When she and her family have most just lately been dwelling in Queensland, she specially loves viewing galleries like the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia when she’s in her birth city of Sydney – which is exactly where we joined the wonderful and award-winning inventive for a working day in her daily life!

To start with Thing

I commonly wake up in between 6am and 8am. The 1st detail I generally do is make a espresso simply because I are not able to perform devoid of a espresso! Most mornings I will go to Pilates or do some form of workout. I like to do that because I find it allows obvious your brain and warms up your physique for the relaxation of the day. While, it is difficult to assume about something else in Pilates but the discomfort. I locate walking is a terrific position to assume.

My partner normally suggests I’m a morning man or woman, but I like a gradual early morning. I will constantly wake up half an hour earlier prior to I depart to go everywhere just so I can get again into bed, consume my espresso, perhaps flick via Instagram and study the entrance webpage of the New York Periods or glimpse at the ABC website. I dislike just jumping up out of bed and the chilly tough reality of the working day hitting you in the deal with. I like a slow relieve into the day.

Early morning

I like breakfast. I assume it’s possibly my favorite food of the working day. I employed to take in porridge consistently but my daughter instructed me I chewed it also loudly, so I’m now onto a poached egg and toast and one more coffee. Then shower, get dressed for the working day and off to get the job done.

Based on the day I’ll get there amongst 9-10am. My first issue is to verify in with Chris, who is my 2IC, to discover out if there are any urgent positions on deck for that day.
It can be something from picture selects from the film to retouching one thing or reviewing shots that desires to be despatched on. I’ve been concerned with a good deal of the write-up-generation of the movie [Elvis], so from time to time I’m reviewing visible effects and offering notes, seeking at promoting components, the conclusion credits. I have a tendency to start off the working day with any layout responsibilities. Typically my assistant is attempting to butt in to get me to response overnight email messages and the housekeeping, which I are inclined to neglect for the reason that I’m more interested in the design and style side!


I usually like to cease for lunch, even if it’s 15 minutes. I believe no just one must eat at their desk, so I twist everyone’s arm in the office to sit down and have lunch since I believe that minor respite and that social minute is absolutely critical for regenerating. My daughter calls it a ‘pocket of peace’, where by you can re-team and get prepared for the afternoon.

I tend to prioritise all the get the job done that straight relates to my partner and I’s business – Bazmark – in the early morning and the early afternoon. Later in the afternoon, I have a small homewares, fabrics and wallpaper collaboration with Mokum and a rug and carpet collection with Designer Rugs [that I work on]. If colour is associated, I desire to do it in the early morning since the light is far better and color is so light specific.


I like to be property ahead of 7:30pm, for the reason that that’s when the family sits down to supper. I definitely appreciate a glass of wine when I get property – an aperitif – that sort of sets you in the relaxing evening method.

It also commonly involves a discussion with the wonderful woman that will help me at property, Mary Jane. We typically have what she phone calls an AGM: an Once-a-year Normal Meeting! But they feel to materialize every day so it is a little bit of a misnomer. But we will often go over all of the trivialities of who could possibly appear to supper, what the young children are accomplishing, what medical doctors appointments everybody has that week and what’s happening the up coming working day, or what is fallen off the residence that working day. All that truly important family stuff that occurs.

Last Thing

I am almost certainly in mattress by 9:30pm, which I know is totally tragic. I’ll look at one of my wonderful responsible pleasures, which is observing reality renovation tv. Baz usually suggests to me ‘you’re a genuinely good designer, why are you observing that style on a dime?’ And I imagine it is mainly because I come across it actually revealing about people’s social ailments and it’s a wonderful perception into how persons dwell, what people today are fascinated in and what folks assume is good design and style. It is a seriously fantastic window into the social heritage of interiors suitable now in 2022.

I really like the shows on the Magnolia Community [on USA Cable] – I’m a large Chip and Joanna Gaines supporter (of Fixer Upper), I like the Assets Brothers, Celeb IOU is another terrific one. But I enjoy the calming factor in which I can just switch off and watch these exhibits.

Ideal now I’m listening to, viewing, and reading…

I’ll Be Long gone in the Dim. It is an amazing real criminal offense doc that has you definitely on the close of your seat. I watched that travelling just lately on the airplane and I completely liked it.

I’m about to start out looking through my husband’s visitor edited edition of Vogue Australia. I worked on a range of shoots encouraging to design and style them, but I’m genuinely wanting forward to observing the other parts of the issue.

A philosophy that I stay/work by is…

I have all kinds of absurd phrases I use but I’m not guaranteed if they are publishable! I do have a phrase that I use that offends some men and women, but it’s meant in jest. I use it to myself to motivate me, when I think things can be accomplished improved. My phrase is: check out more durable.

I also have a fabulous 20-sided dice that’s a design and style dice. It has all forms of advice for the designer, and you roll the dice and its received items on it like ‘SIMPLIFY’ and all these kinds of adjectives that people today give you when they are seeking to give you notes on a layout that are entirely unhelpful and never really immediate you in any kind of way. We do it to make ourselves chuckle when we have a little bit of style block.

Some thing I have acquired the hard way is…

Patience and listening. To in fact surrender to listening and not really feel that your viewpoint is likely to be excluded simply because you have been silent, and genuinely absorbed what an individual else is declaring. I have located that a battle, but the a lot more I hear the extra I understand, and the more I feel heard.

Elvis opens in cinemas these days, from June 23.