It’s nearly October and Chasing Mavericks is to be released in a couple of weeks. Chasing Mavericks is the true story of Jay Moriarty, a very well loved Santa Cruz surfer who learned to surf the Northern California big wave break Mavericks as a fifteen year-old in 1994; under the tutelage of an older surfer called Frosty Hesson. Bros the world over now flock to Mavericks, but back in the early 90’s it was a secret and was surfed only by a hand full of territorial locals. Freezing cold, dangerous, and addictive it is famous as one of the biggest & baddest big wave breaks in the world.
Curtis Hanson who was directing Mavericks asked me to design the costumes for him. Seeing as I would jump under a train for the man (after having worked with him before on In Her Shoes) I was ecstatic when everything came together. And it was a repeat performance for Gerry Butler, whose costumes I designed in The Bounty Hunter. Gerry Butler plays Frosty, Jonny Weston is Jay. Leven Rambin plays Kim, Jays true love; and the subtle and beautiful Abigail Spencer plays Brenda, Frosty’s wife. Again, another re-union. Abigail and I worked together on This Means War. She is one of my favorite actors to dress. Stylish, elegant, thoughtful but also goofy and sweet. Beautifully written by Brandon Hooper and beautifully shot by Bill Pope, it was a warm set, a creative one with a cast and a crew of people who cared. And I loved it.
The movie takes place not just in the secluded bay where Mavericks break, but also in Santa Cruz where Jay and Frosty lived. There are two different worlds running alongside each other in this movie. The world of Mavericks and the handful of local surfers, all older, who surfed it in 1994; and the world of blue collar Santa Cruz, with a generation of kids who raised themselves whilst their parents self-medicated away their pain. This is the back drop to the movie. And while part of the reason I wanted to costume design this movie was to delve into the world of big wave surfing, I was intrigued by the chance to explore a representation of the local Northern Cali kids; and how intertwined the cultures of surfing and skateboarding are in towns like Santa Cruz. I went down a rabbit hole of epic proportions with the visual research. I couldn’t get enough; it was all so satisfying and familiar and stirred so many memories in me of a particular time in my own life. Ron Church, Ed Templeton, Ari Marcopoulis and Glen Friedman are just a few of the photographers whose works I devoured. I also realized quickly that it was an opportunity to revisit an era in my own youth that was a seminal turning point in my life. In 1994 I met my husband, left New York and moved to LA. It was a left turn that I never expected, but has shaped my life, as I now know it. In the weeks leading up to the release of Chasing Mavericks (October 26th, circle the date) I will share some of my personal recollections of my journey through the movie. But in the meantime here is the official trailer.