Inception: Jeffrey Kurland – Follow Up Costume Q&A

Everyone who wishes to has seen and digested Inception by now, and still the most popular topic of discussion is Jeffrey Kurland’s inspiring costumes. Introducing costume design to cinemagoers who perhaps never would have noticed the craft before, Jeffrey has truly broken down barriers with Inception.

Very kindly, he has taken time out of his busy schedule to once again speak exclusively to Clothes on Film about his intended meaning behind the costumes, plus some further details about the outfits themselves.

Clothes on Film, Chris: Were the leather jackets worn by Leonardo DiCaprio as Cobb and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur custom designed by yourself?

Jeffrey Kurland: I designed and had constructed the leather jackets worn in the kidnapping scene. The colors, styles and textures of the jackets were specific to the characters needs and to that of the storyline.

COF: Regarding Dileep Rao’s costume as Yusuf, he noticeably wears a suit jacket over his kurta shirt. Was this to ensure every member of the ‘Inception’ team had a ‘suited’, almost uniform look?

Jusef is a very complex character. An amalgam of eastern cultures, he is a scientist, chemist and businessman. The juxtaposition of western style in conjunction with various ethnic wardrobe pieces worked well to show his eccentricities and at the same time, his levelheadedness.

JK: You mentioned before that Tom Hardy as Eames’ wristwatch is an antique. Do you recall the maker?

I chose the watch from a collection presented by the prop master. Unfortunately I do not remember the maker at this time.

COF: As Fischer, Cillian Murphy wears a double breasted suit, clearly flattering his slim frame. Conversely Tom Hardy’s wardrobe is generally loose fitting and casual. Was an actor’s build a prevalent factor in designing their costume look?

JK: The design of each particular character is solely based on that character’s personality and emotional arc as dictated by the script. The style and cut of the clothes worn by each actor is meant to serve the emotional mindset and the physical action of that role. In the case of Eames and Fischer, the style of their clothes helped to bring their characters to life visually and at the same time, use the physical attributes brought by each actor.

COF: Cobb’s wedding ring appears and disappears at several points throughout the story. Is this a plot signifier for the audience or perhaps a continuity error?

JK: There was no continuity error.

COF: Why did you choose the more unusual route of custom designing all the film’s costumes yourself?

JK: The characters and situations in Inception, as in all original writing, are unique. These characters are limitless in scope and imagination as are the physical situations that they find themselves in. In this case, as in all films, the script, the director and the actors deserve as much visual freedom for character exploration as I can give. Inception deserved a look that was as unique as the script itself. I did not want to be limited to what was available in the marketplace. I could create our look through a myriad of colors, styles and fabrications specific and wholly original to our story and its cast of characters.

With thanks to Jeffrey Kurland.

© 2010 – 2018, Lord Christopher Laverty.