January 9, 2015
Based on the Thomas Pynchon novel of the same name, “Inherent Vice” gathers a colorful crew to solve a mystery in equally colorful 1970s Los Angeles. Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, the film is the first movie adaptation of a Pynchon novel.
Though Joaquin Phoenix stars as private investigator Doc Sportello, and is supported by Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Maya Rudolph and Eric Roberts, sartorially speaking, Martin Short steals the limelight as coke-sniffing dentist Dr. Rudy Blatnoyd.
Costume Designer Mark Bridges referred to the novel’s description of Blatnoyd’s attire to create a double-breasted, vivid purple velvet suit that wouldn’t be out of place on Austin Powers.
“In the book, Pynchon describes Rudy Blatnoyd as wearing a velvet ultraviolet suit. After I read the book, I swatched the fabrics and then found prototype shapes,” he said. “I found the right shape jacket, though it was a little small. Then I tried different period pants and sort of stuffed Martin into that to see what the shape would be,” Bridges said.
“I made two suits: One in what is called ultraviolet, which is much bluer and sort of radiates, and I also made one in a little more earthy plum,” Bridges said. “Blue is so sensitive on film, and I thought it might overwhelm the scene, but we wanted to be true to Pynchon, as well.”
Bridges referenced the trademark jackets of the Sixties rock band Paul Revere and the Raiders to give Short’s character a place in time.
“Hopefully, [the costume] sends the message of an older guy trying to be hip and not quite making it,” Bridges said. “He doesn’t quite realize that he’s a little out of style in that getup.”
“Inherent Vice” is now in theaters.