Before launching his career in New York as a costume painter and dyer, the Bethlehem, PA, native earned an M.F.A. in design from the University of Illinois. On Broadway, Hornung first worked as an assistant designer on shows such as Brighton Beach Memoirs before becoming a full-fledged costume designer on productions like Candida.
It was the Coen brothers who gave Hornung his break in movies on Raising Arizona (1986). He would continue designing for Coen films with The Hudsucker Proxy (1994). Hornung worked with other filmmakers too, including Oliver Stone on Nixon (1995) and Stephen Frears on The Grifters (1990). Hornung's final screen designs can be seen in City Hall (1996).
"I loved [costume designer] Richard Hornung immediately: He was handsome and smart and wry and dry and witty and the perfect choice for "The Grifters" (1990). Since Annette Bening and my character get mixed up at one point in the movie, and since we don't look alike in the least, it occurred to me that it might be a better idea to emphasize not out faces but our backs. I had a great dress that Azzedine Alaia had given me (in Paris): forest green, made of silk jersey knit, with crossed straps over a naked back. Richard loved the idea but decided to make the dress in deep red, "the color of clotted blood." "This film is essentially about poor people, and in the terms of the design, that means a distinct sense of space and color. You try to get the emotional temperature of a scene right visually by color, which Richard Hornung rightfully attached enormous importance to. And it's always good for the cinema to have to deal with emotion." Anjelica Houston
Hornung died of complications from AIDS on December 30, 1995.
Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design by Deborah Nadoolman Landis
Hardcover: 592 pages
Publisher: Harper Design; 1ST edition (November 27, 2007)
Amazon: Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design
From the lavish productions of Hollywood's Golden Age through the high-tech blockbusters of today, the most memorable movies all have one thing in common: they rely on the magical transformations rendered by the costume designer. Whether spectacular or subtle, elaborate or barely there, a movie costume must be more than merely a perfect fit. Each costume speaks a language all its own, communicating mood, personality, and setting, and propelling the action of the movie as much as a scripted line or synthetic clap of thunder. More than a few acting careers have been launched on the basis of an unforgettable costume, and many an era defined by the intuition of a costume designer—think curvy Mae West in I'm No Angel (Travis Banton, costume designer), Judy Garland in A Star is Born (Jean Louis and Irene Sharaff, costume designers), Diane Keaton in Annie Hall (Ruth Morley, costume designer), or Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark (Deborah Nadoolman Landis, costume designer).
In Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume Design, Academy Award-nominated costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis showcases one hundred years of Hollywood's most tantalizing costumes and the characters they helped bring to life. Drawing on years of extraordinary research, Landis has uncovered both a treasure trove of costume sketches and photographs—many of them previously unpublished—and a dazzling array of first-person anecdotes that inform and enhance the images. Along the way she also provides and eye-opening, behind-the-scenes look at the evolution of the costume designer's art, from its emergence as a key element of cinematic collaboration to its limitless future in the era of CGI.
A lavish tribute that mingles words and images of equal luster, Dressed is one book no film and fashion lover should be without.
More LGBT History at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Gay Classics
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