The last time I talked with Baz Luhrmann, he was presenting his take on “La Bohème” on Broadway, and the two of us had a far-reaching conversation that embraced everything from opera to Alexander the Great, a great passion of ours. I realized then that he had that rare kind of mind that connects the dots in unusual ways. Seeing him again at the classy press conference for his film of “The Great Gatsby” (due out May 10) at Tiffany & Co. in Manhattan proved that he has lost none of his protean imagination. His film of ephemeral Jazz Age dreams features a soundtrack produced by Jay-Z and more than 40 costumes by Miuccia Prada as well as stunning diamond and pearl creations and sleek home design elements that reflect a collaboration between the iconic jeweler and Oscar-winning production/costume designer Catherine Martin. Why Jay-Z and Prada in a story that is quintessential Roaring ’20s? Because as Luhrmann and Martin explained at the classy “breakfast at Tiffany’s” press conference to launch the company’s “Gatsby” windows – another collaboration – when F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote “Gatsby, he was glimpsing the new. Luhrmann and Martin wanted to find the contemporary in the classic.
The two are not merely collaborators. They’re husband and wife, and they parried playfully at the press event the way real husbands and wives do. But these native Australians also displayed a serious humility when they described Martin’s collaboration with Tiffany on the film and the windows.
“They really dedicate their lives to making things as true and beautiful as they can be,” Luhrmann said of Tiffany’s jewelers and staffers.
He and Martin praised the company’s attention to detail and anyone who was at the breakfast would have to agree. God was in the details, right down to the signature robin’s egg-blue paper coffee cups that some participants preferred to the china.
Luhrmann also spoke of the democracy, the very American-ness, of a store where the pretend-rich Holly Golightly can feel as much at home as the filthy rich Daisy Buchanan does.
Of course, Luhrmann added, Holly was a creation of Truman Capote, who penned the original script for the 1974 “The Great Gatsby.”
There’s that mind again. He must be awfully good at six degrees of separation.
For complete coverage of the “Gatsby”-Tiffany collaboration, check out WAG’s May “Heating Up” issue.