Jury Coordination and Notes

Dorothy Jeakins and Barbara Karinska Share the first Oscar® for Costume Design – by Brianna Hope Beaton

DorothyJeakins.jpgA costume designer is responsible for designing clothes for a movie, stage or television production. They design garments that enhance the actor’s character personality and define the time period they appear from before the actor even opens his or her mouth. They have to consider the durability of the garments, the actor’s ability to comfortably move about in the costumes, the director and actor’s personal ideas for the costumes and how the lighting will affect the look of the fabric once it is filmed or appears on stage.

Both Dorothy Jeakins and Barbara Karinska shared the Oscar® Award for the film Joan of Arc in 1949.

Dorothy Jeakins, born January 11, 1914 was educated at schools in San Diego and Los Angeles. She was abandoned by her parents early in life and helped support her studies by working as a live-in servant with families. As a child, she had a talent for drawing and her love for it won her a State of California Scholarship at the Otis Art Institute. After submitting some very good illustrations to the Los Angeles City Planning Commission, she was taken on by the Southern California Arts Project. In 1936, Dorothy held a job in the colour department at the BarbaraKarinska.jpgWalt Disney Studios, painting animated cells of Mickey Mouse for $16.00 a week. Her first work in fashion design was doing layouts for Magnin’s Department Store, which attracted the attention of the 20th Century Fox art director Richard Day. Mr. Day then brought her to the attention of film director, Victor Fleming. Before long, Dorothy was seconded to the studio wardrobe department as an illustrator under Ernest Dryden. Her big break came when she was hired by Mr. Fleming as sketch artist for the film Joan of Arc (1948). She was then promoted to design the costumes for the picture. This American costume designer has worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including John Huston, William Wyler, Cecil B. DeMille and Robert Wise.  She was nominated for a total of 12 Academy Awards before she died on November 21, 1995.BriannaHopeBeaton2.jpg

Barbara Karinska, born Varvara Zhmoudsky, October 3, 1886 was the costumer for the New York City Ballet and the first costumer ever to win the Capezio Dance Award. She learned embroidery as a child and, as a young woman, ran a coffee house and embroidery shop in Russia. There is where she enhanced her craft and came to work and live in America, both in New York and California. She had the opportunity to work on a film project and won an Oscar® for Joan of Arc. She joined New York City Ballet in 1949 to make costumes for Mr. Balanchine’s Bourree Fantasque. Since then she was responsible for the execution of almost all the company’s costumes. She would first make them and then later design them. In 1963, the operation of the shop was taken over by the New York City Ballet and she worked exclusively for them. Her major works include designs for the Scotch Symphony, La Valse, Symphony in C and The Nutcracker. Her most lavish work was with Vienna Waltze and was produced in 1977. Barbara Karinska died in 1983 at the age of 97 but she is still known for the finest and most beautiful costumes on stage, Costumes by Karinska. Both of these incredible women have definitely left their mark on costume designs.  Their work is impeccable and will always be remembered.

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