Mae Ruth (left) shows off her fashion illustrations.
Mae Ruth was born in India on July 12, 1934. Since she was a child, she was sent back to England by her parents to study in a boarding school. She graduated from the fashion department of the famous St. Martin’s College of Art in London. Later, with her excellent drawing skills, she began to draw model illustrations for many fashion magazines. By the late 1960s, fashion photography was all the rage, and this retro-inspired illustration of hand-drawn models gradually lost ground. Fortunately, through the introduction of alumni, she joined the film “What a Lovely War” (1969) as a costume assistant at the right time, opening up a new career field.
Soon after, Ruth became an assistant to film costume designer Yvonne Blake (“The Secret History of the Russian Palace”), and followed her to the film “The Swordsman” (1974) on location in Spain. Art director Brian Eatwell fell in love at first sight and got married. This costume action film directed by Richard Lester was nominated for the best costume design at the 48th Academy Awards, although it ultimately lost to Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon”, but Being nominated is also affirmative, and Mae Ruth, who is a member of the fashion design team, is naturally honored.
In 1975, on the recommendation of her husband, Mae Ruth took the lead for the first time, acting as a costume designer in British director Nicholas Rogge’s experimental sci-fi film “The Visitor”. The most important part of this task was to Complete costume design for rock star David Bowie, who plays the alien visitor Thomas. To match the sci-fi theme of the film, Ruth boldly used fabrics of various materials, even plastic and foam, to successfully create the shape of this alien visitor. According to her later disclosure, because of David Bowie’s extremely thin body, many clothes at that time were made according to the largest children’s clothing size.
David Bowie in a coat designed by Mae Ruth in “The Outsiders.”
Illustration of David Bowie’s coat design from The Outsiders.
Mae Ruth’s hand-painted fashion illustrations for “The Outsiders” compare to the costumes in the show.
Mae Ruth uses a variety of materials to create a futuristic look for alien costumes in “The Alien.”
In 1979, Mae Ruth designed the costumes for the black comedy “Rich Man”. The film is the curtain call of Peter Sellers, a famous British comedian who starred in the “Pink Panther” series. In the film, he plays a gardener who has encountered bizarre changes in his life circumstances. British gentleman style of the decade.
“Wealth is Coming” stills
Mae Ruth’s costume illustration for Peter Sellers in “Rich and Wealthy”.
Ruth later revealed that the film originally invited Ann Roth (Ann Roth, “The English Patient” and “The Moment”), an industry celebrity who has worked with director Hal Ashby many times, to be the costume designer. Peter Sellers, who has always been known for his eccentric temper, made Ross back off – Cyrus even demanded that there must be no purple and green costumes on the set – so Mae Ross take over.
Throughout filming, every time Mae Ruth spoke to Cyrus, she was terrified, not knowing when it would touch the sensitive nerves of the big-name actor. Fortunately, the well-made and hand-crafted costumes she designed for her have withstood the test of the times, and they still look classic today.
In the decades that followed, Mae Ruth also designed costumes for films such as “The Golden Years”, “The Mermaid”, “Breaking into Arthur’s Palace” and “The Ronin”. Usually, she also serves as a visiting professor in many art colleges, passing on her experience about film costume design to future generations. She once said that, compared with the fashion design peers who occupy the mainstream in Hollywood, her biggest feature may be that she will hand-paint design drafts by herself. “Most designers in Hollywood don’t paint by themselves, but let their subordinates do the work. I like to sit there and draw the clothes that come to my mind, stroke by stroke.”
Dress worn by Daryl Hannah in The Mermaid.
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