Vixen Chat: Ruth E. Carter, The Queen of Costume Design

2012-08-13 07.41.27-2In the late 1980s, a theatre student and a young filmmaker collaborated for the first time, on his second film. 25 years later, (theatre student-cum-costume designer) Ruth E. Carter and Spike Lee are Academy Award nominees and Hollywood icons—and they still work together (most recently on Lee’s remake of the controversial Korean masterpiece Oldboy).

In addition to Lee, Carter has worked with legends like Steven Spielberg and has dressed bankable leading men from Denzel Washington to Josh Brolin. During her 30+ film career, Carter has racked up two Oscar nominations and received the American Black Film Festival Career Achievement Award in 2002. This year, her work is featured in two of 2013’s most-anticipated film releases: the aforementioned Oldboy and Lee Daniels’ The Butler (which will be released this Friday, August 16th).

We spoke to Ms. Carter about fashion in film and her inspired journey to the heights of Hollywood.

Vibe Vixen: What’s your favorite period in the history of fashion?
Ruth E. Carter: I love many aspects of fashion history. There’s something magical about [each] period.

When did you first realize that you’d “made it” in Hollywood?
When I was nominated for an Oscar, for my work on Malcolm X. I was working on Tina Turner’s life story [at the time].

What was it like to work on Whitney Houston’s final film?
It was a shock when [she passed away]. I felt loss for a long time, but I feel the blessing now. [Sparkle is] very important to me.

Falene Nurse

Photo Credit: