She was really quite amazing. In this Framing the Scene,  Tazewell breaks down key looks of Harriet’s journey. She has on knee-high boots, a sturdy skirt, a blouse and a man’s coat. We’re also embracing her as a mythic figure and a powerful woman. He has designed extensively in the United States and internationally for theatre, dance and opera. The plantation where Harriet was owned wasn’t big enough for them to have that manufacturing system. It’s the pinnacle of her realizing herself, having gone through a period of being a shapeshifter and master of disguise. I made the decision that’s really how we should represent Harriet that we have this very neutral world, and as we move through, the other characters, we should show her in this blue tone. It starts to build to the red coat and dress that we see her in towards the end. He’s been honored with seven Tony nominations, winning in 2016 for Hamilton. Harriet had two different looks when she goes on her missions to free the enslaved. Having worked in theater for over twenty-five years, Tazewell received a Tony® award in 2016 for bringing to life another historical period in Hamilton. To the layperson, the getup looks like nothing more than a … Tazewell used a number of resources. “You will follow me,” she says. Get premium, high resolution news photos at Getty Images Costume designer Paul Tazewell won a Tony Award for dressing Alexander Hamilton and his fellow Founding Fathers in their 18th-century garbs … Cynthia was a trooper. Tazewell has done opera and also worked on television shows. Semi-Finalists: Mark Bridges for Joker, Paul Tazewell for Harriet, Deborah Cook for Missing Link, Colleen Atwood for Bombshell, and April Napier … From a modern eye, it needs to be part of the appeal. The clothes have to be built to stand that activewear.”. Here, the costumes, hair, and makeup designers from "Harriet… “We needed a backup if anything were to happen to one. The film’s color scheme is also noteworthy. To stay up to date with the Motion Picture Association, please sign up for our newsletter. I think the film does that and I hope that my work does that as well.”. We know she’s a heroine, an abolitionist who led slaves to their freedom via the underground railroad. In “Harriet,” her athleticism gives weight to the scenes in which she and those she shepherds evade slave catchers.) Paul Gregory Tazewell was born and raised in Akron, OH. “The daguerreotypes of the period are quite amazing,” he says. He believe they helped build an air of mystery around her. If you are a California resident, California law may consider certain disclosures of data a “sale” of your personal information (such as cookies that help Motion Picture Association later serve you ads, like we discuss in our, Chris Koseluk has written for the entertainment industry for publications such as. Harriet stars Cynthia Erivo in the title role and features Leslie Odom Jr. and Janelle Monáe. Then she recreates herself as this superhuman woman. With the film, we’re trying to crack that open and give her a more in-depth feel. What I was finding were daguerreotypes of the period. With the original look, it’s how I always begin a design, I immersed myself with research. Paul Tazewell is no stranger to historical period pieces, having won a Tony for his costumes in “Hamilton.” When he joined “Harriet,” he buried himself in research of a bygone era when photography was in its nascent years and ended up finding a recently unearthed new photo of Harriet Tubman. Tazewell, a six-time Tony nominee, won the Tony for … The Library of Congress’ Prints and Photographs collection, in particular, yielded a wealth of information — most notably, photos of the plantations featuring group shots of the enslaved. “They establish her as this impactive, powerful woman fully embracing her heroic, ethnic persona.”, Erivo couldn’t agree more. But it is also for function and wear and tear. After looking at the daguerreotypes of the neutral tone, some had been tinted after they had been taken. Since the film is still in theaters in the U.S., I can’t get many photos, but costume designer Paul Tazewell has been doing the media rounds and shared plenty of details about his fine work. They could have purchased the fabric from a neighboring plantation. His eclectic range of work spans from revivals of such classics as A Streetcar Named Desire, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Raisin in the Sun and Guys and Dolls to newer hits like The Color Purple, In the Heights, Memphis and Ain’t Too Proud. Fortunately, Tazewell had an advantage to keeping it real. Six versions of a green jacket outfit and four of an alternating red costume were created for these scenes. Viscerally, it felt right for the period and how I saw Harriet. The cliche of masculinity and strength—slave owners initially assume her identity to be a man, isn’t massaged extensively here. And he’s doing it in an epic way with Harriet, the sweeping saga of Harriet Tubman, the legendary 19th-century enslaved-person-turned-abolitionist who, after escaping to freedom, orchestrated the rescue of hundreds of fellow enslaved people. Variety and the Flying V logos are trademarks of Variety Media, LLC. “The eyes in those faces and the humanity that resonates out of them, I think that’s where I get my inspiration because my work is based in character, developing different types of characters and making those feel as real as possible.”. He received a nomination in 2018 for Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. Credit: Glen Wilson / Focus Features. It turned out that most of Harriet’s outfits also needed this durability. From there, he built the costumes around the narrative arc as Harriet Tubman goes from slave to Union Army officer. We didn’t receive the whole story. When Harriet flees to Philadelphia and begins her life as a free woman, she enters a world of sophisticated fashion, reflected in the suits of William Still (Leslie Odom Jr.), who acclimates Harriet into her new life, and the elegant dresses of Marie Buchanon (Janelle Monáe), a leading black business owner who takes Harriet under her wing. At the time, that had just become very popular — documenting the slaves on plantations and life on plantations. “She has nothing, and she goes through a huge journey and her clothing breaks down completely, almost to the point that it’s falling off. It goes back to that idea of neutral with pops of color. The first time we see her running through the forest, there’s this great connection to the environment that she’s in and that she’s making her way through. She’s able to weave through the woods and the river. Now, Tazewell is setting his sights on the film world. Paul Tazewell, Costume Designer: Hamilton. Ain’t Too Proud…all the Broadway musicals are custom-made. If Paul Tazewell wasn't a … Tazewell insisted on only using natural materials from the time period — linen, cotton, wool, silk, and velvet. We know she’s a heroine, an abolitionist who led slaves to their freedom via … Paul Tazewell said he took inspiration from daguerreotypes from the 1800s for lead actress Cynthia Erivo’s custom made period costumes for the biopic “Harriet,” but also wanted the clothes to convey her superhero status in both American history and the Black Experience. Speaking were film producer Debra Martin Chase, Vanessa Bell Calloway—the actress who played Harriet Tubman’s mother, and Paul Tazewell, the film’s costume designer. Every time you put something new on, it’s like, ‘Oh, this is a different part of her. “I imagine the master…the owner wanted to document how many slaves he actually had — whether for a measure of wealth or power,” he says. Everything that she stood for changed my life, as well as the lives of so many others.”. For many, Harriet Tubman’s journey is one we’re taught about in school. “If you’re dealing with an actual person who lived and breathed, it’s very important to create a world that is believable,” says Tazewell. Paul Tazewell is no stranger to historical period pieces, having won a Tony for his costumes in “Hamilton.” When he joined “ Harriet,” he buried himself in … “I wanted to show how we come to know her and then go beyond that. We start with that with a red headwrap and that pop of color. It was more about an emotional feel for who she had become and how she had realized herself. Director of Photography John Toll and Costume Designer Paul Tazewell shoot and costume the film in various shades of blue. Before that, it’s really her power costume. “It solidifies how she is kind of a shape-shifter, taking on different looks — some of them male — to ride under the radar of the slave catchers,” he says. I knew about Harriet Tubman in Junior High, but we didn’t pick her life apart and what it took for her to do what she did. We know she’s a heroine, an abolitionist who led slaves to their freedom via the underground railroad. Synthetic fabrics were banned from the set. Paul Tazewell, the great Broadway costume designer, designed the wardrobe for this powerful film. 11/2/2019 12:18:00 AM She only used a stunt double once.”, Tazewell cites Harriet’s bandit looks as his favorite designs. After graduating high school, he initially attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY to study fashion design. Featured image: Cynthia Erivo stars as Harriet Tubman in HARRIET, a Focus Features release. © Copyright 2021 Variety Media, LLC, a subsidiary of Penske Business Media, LLC. My intent was to render a character of note. They were all period pieces. are just a few of the shows that Paul Tazewell has created costumes for. Paul Tazewell is a Tony and Emmy Award winning costume designer whose most recent work is featured in the film “Harriet” about Harriet Tubman, the … It was a linen fabric that had the stripe going through it. Paul Tazewell and Jennifer Nettles attend the "Harriet" New York Screening at The Roxy Hotel on October 24, 2019 in New York City. The hat is broad-rimmed. Making sure the costumes were as authentic as possible was priority number one. Motion Picture Association, Inc. Paul Tazewell’s unique costumes for Tubman are surprisingly androgynous; she wears a sailor’s outfit, a top hat and blazer, and ten-gallon hats.Soon, she becomes mythologized—Southern whites fear her as "Moses." After consuming the script, it became evident to Tazewell just how extensive the wardrobe requirements would be. “I hope that I was able to visually create a world that was inviting, but acknowledges the fissures of Harriet’s life… the full hardship, and then also the heroic,” says Tazewell. 6,027 Followers, 607 Following, 151 Posts - See Instagram photos and videos from Paul G. Tazewell (@paultazewell) Paul most recently designed Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” (20th Century Fox/Amblin Entertainment) and “Harriet” (Focus Features). “Harriet was one of the most extensive, lengthy trips that I have done,” says Tazewell, “Having worked on Broadway and on different period productions, I’m used to building them. With the green dress, we tried to establish this growth and it’s also connected to the forest and nature. She’s a woman who is pulling elements that are both female and male and suitable for doing the deed at hand. “We built a lot. It becomes more poetic and emotional. They would use blue or some significant color that would hold the plantation together within the same fabric world. The coat is an olive-brown. For the last two decades, costume designer Paul Tazewell has been conquering Broadway. You had these strong dyes and very strong moments of color, in amongst a field of neutrals. We had to do a lot for Harriet because she was so physical and had to do so many physical feats, like running through mud, crossing rivers,” explains Tazewell. The fabrics I chose were about function. Everything for Hamilton was custom-made. As the film opens, Harriet, played by Cynthia Erivo, is still enslaved. He was pleasantly surprised by how much material there was online. Each was designed to look slightly more worn and tattered to show the effect the arduous journey had on her clothing. The actress believes Tazewell’s costumes helped her connect with Harriet. Harriet hits theaters on November 1, 2019. She’s able to confront her nemesis — the grand antagonist of her life. From ‘Hamilton’ to ‘Harriet’: Costume designer Paul Tazewell’s creations come to High Point The sheen of the green satin ensemble reflects light under the gallery’s bulbs, quietly drawing attention to itself. “I was delighted,” says Tazewell when director Kasi Lemmons, who co-wrote the script with Gregory Allen Howard, approached him to design the costumes for Harriet. In ‘Harriet,’ Paul Tazewell Dressed Cynthia Erivo as a Superhero The costume designer used a newly found photograph of Harriet Tubman as inspiration for the looks in … For many, Harriet Tubman’s journey is one we’re taught about in school. I chose a fabric that would read distress and show what her daily life was. December 26, 2019 9:18am On Kasi Lemmons’ Harriet, Paul Tazewell was tasked with designing costumes for slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet … As a partner in Never Dull Productions (neverdullproductions.com), he has produced and directed the documentary Sled Shots about the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team and written video scripts for numerous organizations and clients that include The United Nations, Beyond Meat, Spotify and Causes.com. That way, you could identify that the slave was from that plantation if they ended up running away. Tazewell’s work is on stage and the screen, including this year’s feature film Harriet. Tubman, who lived from 1820 to 1913, was born right after the invention of the camera. https://twitter.com/harrietfilm/status/1153644731928207360?s=21 Crafting the image of such an important character — without much historical imagery — was no small feat. What became very important, and this came from Kasi (Lemmons) was she wanted to render Harriet as a superhero. Some of that was because we needed to have the amount of yardage that we were able to get because there were so many duplicates of that dress. They were sewing their own clothes. Paul Tazewell has over twenty-seven years of design experience. For many, Harriet Tubman’s journey is one we’re taught about in school. The Wiz, Hamilton and Jesus Christ Superstar Live! Chris Koseluk has written for the entertainment industry for publications such as The Hollywood Reporter, Make-up Artist Magazine, Mental Floss, Video Business Magazine, Variety and Premiere. During his research, Tazewell discovered a wealth of photography depicting the clothing he wanted to recreate. That’s thanks to Cynthia Erivo, who plays her—but it’s also thanks to Paul Tazewell, who dressed her. I chose linen because it would show the wrinkles and holds wrinkles very well. Bridging the Gap: A look into African American Hair & Makeup for Theatre The pattern and that ticking stripe were informed by the possibility that this was a fabric that came from another plantation. We see her armor up in the dress and the coat and with the gun. When Tazewell turned his attention to television, the costume designer won an Emmy in 2016 for The Wiz Live! And he’s doing it in an epic way with Harriet, the sweeping saga of Harriet Tubman, the legendary 19th-century enslaved-person-turned-abolitionist who, after escaping to freedom, orchestrated the rescue of hundreds of fellow enslaved people. Tazewell felt that the outfits Harriet wears on her quest to free more enslaved people should suggest the stealth nature of her work. He strove to ensure that every costume design, in some way, helped advance the story. It was chosen because it resonated with all of the elements; the superhero quality and the fact that she is at her power peak. 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