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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.


  • Lana BStar

    Thanks so much for the follow-up! This blog is fabulous, it’s one of the best blogs I’ve read in a long while. I love fashion and movies so I find the things posted fascinating as well as well-written. Top notch!

  • Prom King

    The suits looked stunning in the film, they should make Inception clothes line and start selling them. I have a question: Are this images screenshots from actual film or photos taken on the set?

    • Chris Laverty

      I’m sure someone will, though I’m not sure how fair that would be on Jeffrey Kurland. The images in the article are official photographs provided by Warner Bros.

  • boucquey

    I wonder if M. Kurland did’nt work mostly with some E Zegna suits, shirts, ties, or fabrics on this outstandingly fashionable film production ?

  • Stylinred

    I’ve only just watched Inception the other day and I was awestruck by the wardrobe of the film; my cousin was also dumbfounded by the clothing and neither of us ever pay much heed to the wardrobe in film it never seemed a significant factor.

    I was hoping that these clothes were readily available for purchase and was surprised and sad to hear that they are virtually all originals

  • j-justice

    Nice site. I’m trying to find an image of the suit that Leo wears on the plane at the end. Black with pin stripes and a striped shirt. Lots of good shots of it as he goes through immigration. please contact me at jason (at) suntzusound (dot) com if you can help!

  • Peter hadwin

    I saw those jackets on celebswear leather jacket. They have Inception Cobb and Arthur jackets. Any one bought these?

  • aram

    Where can we buy some of Mr. Kurlands suits? Not only the one’s from Inception, but in general. Thank you

  • Suzanne

    I’m usually not a fan of blogs but yours is incredible.
    Apologies for yet another “label” question, but do you (or does anybody here) have any info about the navy plaid shirt Leo wears in the picture above? It looks like a flannel LL Bean shirt, but I somehow don’t think it is. Thanks so much!

    • Chris Laverty

      Thanks so much for your nice comment. I don’t have any information about that shirt at the moment but I am looking into it. As soon as I find something out I’ll post it in the article and comment box.

  • Leslie

    I noticed that no one has mentioned Ariadne’s (Ellen Page’s) outfits as of yet. When I first saw her cross-body leather bag, I nearly gasped! I absolutely love it, yet cannot seem to find any information about it. Was her bag also custom made?? If not, do you have any idea who the maker is/was?
    Thanks so much! : )

  • Ryan

    This seems like the only place that might be able to help me locate an article of clothing Leo wore in Inception. The grey pants that he wears in the Mombassa sequence, He meets Tom Hardy in a lofted bar and then they split and Leo gets chased thru the streets. Many shots of the pants. They pants are grey with exposed back pocket flaps(kind of cargo looks, but dressy) and pointed belt loops that come to a point and button under the belt. I would love to find them. They might be J Lindeberg??

    • Hhhh

      Maison martin margiela has an almost exactly replica of the grey pants youre talking about. Can come back with a link later. Theyre kind of expensive though. For cheaper versions, try looking up Zara

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