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How this costume designer created looks for a multiverse of wild characters


What do you wear when the fate of the infinite multiverse hangs in the balance? When you’re “Everything Everywhere All at Once” costume designer Shirley Kurata, you prepare for anything and create a wardrobe that pays a war-ready tribute to cartoonish couture, the king of rock ‘n’ roll, anime and also the practical, no nonsense clothing loved by Asian grannies and IRS employees alike.

Kurata earned her first Academy Award nomination for a film that demands character-building realism, sci-fi fantasy, and old-fashioned Hong Kong action film style. The Los Feliz native can trace her achievement to her substantial experience as a fashion stylist for music videos and brands such as Rodarte and Kenzo, her years in the costume department for feature films and television, and her ability to “stretch a dollar.” Kurata ultimately drew on her stylist’s gear, Elie Saab’s evening gown collection, dead stock in Chinatown stores, and manufacturers in China to create the universe and time-jumping wardrobe.

When she first talked about the project with writer-directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (known as Daniels), she was advised to “create costumes that people will dress up for Halloween, because that’s the ultimate compliment.” Kurata says she promised to do her best. “Then the movie came out, and Halloween was coming up, and I was amazed at how many people dressed up as them. OK. Good. Mission accomplished.”

Here, Kurata dished up the details of several of her notable costumes in the movie, which has 11 Academy Award nominations:

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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