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Dressing Steve Jobs


Steve Jobs has always been an icon of stylish fashion design. Who can forget when he took the stage to introduce the iPod wearing a sensible black turtleneck, a pair of snazzy Levi's blue jeans and, of course, some grey New Balance sneakers for extra mobility?

And who can forget how Jobs shocked the fashion world when he wore the exact same outfit while introducing the iPhone and the iPad? Indeed, Jobs' penchant for boldly wearing the same outfit time and time again not only reinvigorated what was then a slumping market for turtlenecks, but also conveyed to the fashion elite that sometimes thinking fashion-forward means being fashion-repetitive.

All kidding aside, the last thing Jobs could have ever cared about was being fashionable. But there was a time, well before the black turtleneck became part of his de-facto uniform, when Jobs wore all sorts of different attire.

In an interesting interview with Lisa Jensen -- a costume designer who worked on the upcoming Steve Jobs movie starring Ashton Kutcher -- FancyDressCostumes found out what type of research went into making sure that the outfits used in the movie were as period-appropriate as possible.

What sort of research did you do for the costumes on Jobs?

The first piece of the puzzle in doing a historical-based story, of course, is the research, capital R. Step one is to get the essence of each year of the script's story in front of me, in bulk, mostly in 'real people's fashion', being aware of fashion trends, but not owned by them. Then also to look backward from our time line in clothing styling so that our characters have a sense of history to the lives we meet them living.

Regional reality to our story is absolutely key. Most all of our action happens in Los Altos/Palo Alto/San Francisco, CA. A short stint at Reed College in Oregon in '74 and a trip to India in '75, and a convention for Apple in Hawaii in '83 were the only other locations outside CA, and these were specifically researched. Thanks to my 23" apple computer, my 17" apple laptop computer, my iPad, my iPod, and my iPhone (thank you Steve Jobs) and the amazing internet I pulled tons of photos, testimonials, perhaps secrets and dreams, many precisely dated to my world.

Our film hired an archivist for a time as well who found extraordinary information from far corners of reality.

Once the type of clothing needed was pinned down, Jensen explained that she sourced wardrobe items from thrift stores in the Los Angeles area and from costume rental companies. Interestingly enough, New Balance was an active partner in the production and even went so far as to create, "from the old molds, the exact sneakers Jobs wore."

Now that's the type of close attention to detail that Jobs would have truly appreciated.

Lastly, as some final points of interest, Jensen notes that the film covers the years 1971 through 2000 and that Kutcher lost upwards of 25 pounds to more closely mimic Jobs' frame.

The film will arrive in theaters this August after originally premiering at the Sundance Film Festival this past January.

You can check out the trailer for the film below.

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