Ariana DeBose as Anita in 20th Century Studios' WEST SIDE STORY. Photo by Niko Tavernise. © 2021 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

After greater than six many years since its authentic launch on Broadway, Steven Spielberg’s West Aspect Story hit theaters on Dec. 10. Set in 1957 New York Metropolis, the Romeo-and-Juliet-inspired remake, tells the story of two rival gangs — the Sharks, a Latinx group who migrated from Puerto Rico; and the Jets, a Caucasian group from New York Metropolis. The story follows the battle related to the 2 over their battle to assert territory, blended in with a forbidden love story between Puerto Rican born Maria (Rachel Zegler) and New Yorker, Tony (Ansel Eglort).

Costuming, designed by Tony Award-winning designer Paul Tazewell, recognized for his work in Hamilton, Within the Heights, The Coloration Purple, discovered the expertise honorable and provoking. “It blew my thoughts that I’d even have the chance to strategy designing West Aspect Story,” Tazewell informed . “As a result of it is so beloved, the musical as a broadway, after which the 1961 movie, strain was an awesome understatement. It was a problem for me to create a design that will encourage a brand new sort of response.

Sebastian Serra as Braulio, Ricky Ubeda as Flaco, and David Alvarez as Bernardo in 20th Century Studios' WEST SIDE STORY. Photo by Niko Tavernise. © 2021 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

“The costume designer for the unique 1957 Broadway manufacturing created iconic appears to be like which are in our collective psyche. And I wished to create that very same sort of iconic look however with a brand new imaginative and prescient.”

Irene Sharaff, the costume designer for the unique 1957 Broadway manufacturing created iconic appears to be like which are in our collective psyche. And I wished to create that very same sort of iconic look however with a brand new imaginative and prescient.” The objective of the brand new imaginative and prescient was to acknowledge the years which have transpired because it was initially conceived and to assist Spielberg’s particular storytelling on this model.

To do that, Tazewell began his analysis with pictures. “For me, it would not matter what the manufacturing or movie is, I’m going on to these sources that can be indicated for no matter yr and tradition that the story is explored in,” Tazewell defined. His analysis concerned a deep have a look at photographer Bruce Davidson, who inserted himself into Nineteen Fifties New York Metropolis gang neighborhood. “I wished to verify I bought a really genuine search for the gang that felt like New York and never a Hollywood model of New York. I additionally discovered tons of pictures of demolished interval automobiles and began taking part in with the colour that had rusted and light.” It was these colours and pictures of New York Metropolis that Tazewell closed in on to create sketches that will come out in a area of gray, metal, and concrete.

Scene from 20th Century Studios' WEST SIDE STORY, directed by Steven Spielberg. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2021 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

For the Sharks, Tazewell centered on dressing the gang in the very best garments of their wardrobes. “The Sharks migrated from Puerto Rico, trying to recreate their lives and make life new,” he shared. “They had been individuals who had been holding jobs, creating households and their life had been considerably formal due to their connection to the Catholic church.” For that he selected tailor-made pants, footwear that had been a bit damaged in, and a hotter shade palette that he felt was extra indicative of the place that they had come from and what they wished to do in New York. “It was crucial to me to concentrate on the clothes decisions Black and Brown folks put on to suit into not simply American tradition, however a big dominance of Caucasian-American tradition. I wished to be respectful of the migrating Latinx neighborhood and the way they had been working to slot in at the moment.”

The Sharks had been styled extra formally to be extra aspirational that the Jets, dressing out of a sort of self-respect, and out of respect for his or her new neighborhood. Whereas the Jets had a sure casualness that is reflective of being an American in New York Metropolis. For that, the Jets had been styled in blue denim for almost all of the movie to attraction to that sort of conventional American trend.

Mike Faist as Riff in 20th Century Studios' WEST SIDE STORY. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

Of highest significance, Tazewell was tasked to make clothes that will transfer in a method that will do the present’s choreography justice. “With this manufacturing, as a result of it is a musical stuffed with singing and dancing, we ended up custom-making a big quantity of clothes in order that the clothes might transfer in a sure method that the choreography was dictating. It was a extremely particular ask and issues that we would not essentially be capable to discover in rental homes.” For help, Tazewell had an in depth workforce of 10-15 clients, consumers, assistants, and illustrators that labored immediately with him. Exterior of that, numerous creatives got here collectively throughout New York Metropolis to assist gown the 400-500 extras and first characters.

The variations between the 1957 authentic broadway, 1961 movie remake, and 2021 model, Tazewell stated, lies within the silhouettes. “In my analysis I seemed for photographs that had been indicative of what folks had been truly buying in shops, what was out there to them, and most significantly — I explored the concept of how folks maintain onto garments for years,” Tazewell informed . “Older folks, like Valentina (Rita Moreno) are set of their look and elegance and proceed it for years to come back. So a whole lot of the style decisions I made had been reflective of 10 years again (1947) married to the variability and realism for the streets of New York Metropolis, one thing the primary two variations did not essentially have.”

Rachel Zegler as Maria in 20th Century Studios' WEST SIDE STORY. Photo by Niko Tavernise. © 2021 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

As for Tazewell’s favourite scene, the designer referenced “America”: “It was so joyous to see the ensemble dance their hearts out and to make their mark. To see that lush shade and the way it represented the vitality at that second and hope for a greater future was stunning.” Not solely was the dancing symbolic of hope, however so too was Anita’s flowing yellow gown. “Anita is the solar. All her vitality radiates and seeps onto everybody round her, bringing them hope as nicely.”

Ariana DeBose as Anita and David Alvarez as Bernardo in 20th Century Studios' WEST SIDE STORY. Photo by Niko Tavernise. © 2021 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.

As for the viewers, Tazewell’s want for viewers is to stroll away with an understanding of each cultures and the roles of racism in America. “It comes from my very own expertise and information of my mother and father, my grandparents, my nice grandparents, and what it is like for Brown folks and Black folks emigrate,” he mirrored. “It is the transferring into areas the place they’re on the lookout for a brand new and higher life and the human aspiration (learn: hope) that comes with that.”