Dressing ‘The Irishman’: How Sandy Powell Created a Gangster Epic Without Mob Movie Costumes

  • Indiewire
Dressing ‘The Irishman’: How Sandy Powell Created a Gangster Epic Without Mob Movie Costumes
From the outset, Martin Scorsese steered away from a “Goodfellas” wardrobe for the legendary Robert De Niro (hitman Frank Sheeran), Al Pacino (Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa), and Joe Pesci (Philly crime boss Russell Bufalino) in “The Irishman.” That’s because the characters had to fly under the radar in this zigzagging mobster epic spanning five decades about the intersection of crime and politics.

“These guys don’t dress to be noticed — you know, the peacock variety of those gangster guys,” said costume designer Sandy Powell. “Yet we had to distinguish them from each other [with their own defining silhouettes].” And the sheer volume of clothing and multiple fittings each day (De Niro required more than a hundred wardrobe changes) demanded that the three-time Oscar winner promote her assistant, Christopher Peterson, to co-costume designer.

“One of the real challenges as part of the design brief was that we were dressing men as younger men who were not young,
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