Jean–Pierre Dorléac

Wednesday, 20 February 2008 16:13

The costume designer for Quantum Leap, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and the original Battlestar Galactica, and many others, made his UK convention debut at Cult TV 2005 ...


Jean–Pierre Dorléac's prolific career in costume design has encompassed feature films, television, theatre, music videos and private couture. An American, born in Toulon, France, many of his relatives worked in the theatre, both in front of and behind the footlights. His schooling took in many European countries, even England for a time when he resided in both Ipswich and Oxford.

For fans of Cult TV, his contributions to fantasy and science-fiction have been very memorable, and across a range of styles. These are represented through the punk, sociopathic madness of Max Headroom, the vampy, cartoonish camp of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, and the Emmy Award winning simplicity of the retro, alternative future of Battlestar Galactica (Outstanding Costume Design for a Series for the episode "The Man With Nine Lives", aka "Furlon", which guest-starred Fred Astaire).

His depiction of the South Pacific in the 1930s was nominated for an Emmy with Tales of the Gold Monkey. The 1940s were explored in "Rosie: The Rosemary Clooney Story". The 1950s, 1960s, 1970s and 1980s costumes for Quantum Leap were Emmy nominated for four consecutive years, for their factual depiction of the eras that Sam Beckett visited in his weekly trips through time. Jean-Pierre also worked for producer Donald Bellisario on other projects such as Airwolf and Magnum PI, as well as further work for Glen A Larson on Knight Rider, Rooster and Sword of Justice.

Jean-Pierre also became a trendsetter in the classic American mini series. The gallantry and pageantry of the American Revolutionary War was seen in the television movie, 1978's The Bastard, earning him his first Emmy nomination, followed by its sequel, 1979's The Rebels.

His provocative and challenging creations range from the exotic rags and tatters assembled for the 1980 version of "The Blue Lagoon", to the mad, institutional designs for the West Coast stage production of Peter Weiss' "Marat/Sade".

The beauty and romanticism of turn-of-the-century America was captured in a quartet of memorable films. These were Horton Foote's "Lily Dale" (1996), the biopics "Mae West" (1982) and "A Burning Passion: The Margaret Mitchell Story" (1994), and the cult hit "Somewhere in Time" (1980), the film that garnered him an Academy Award nomination.

The enduring "Heart and Souls" showed us San Francisco in the late 1950s and present day, while Universal's feature, "Leave It to Beaver" gave us a 'today', reminiscent of the late 1950s. His striking creations for the cover of New York magazine caused a fashion media frenzy and the beguilingly-styled, high-tech glamour Elizabeth Hurley wore in the television special "The World of James Bond" was 'simply drop-dead', according to television’s Extra.

Dorléac's collection of work has been exhibited worldwide. Benefit events for AIDS Project Los Angeles have celebrated his designs, as well as fashion shows seen at Mannequins Auxiliary of the Assistance League of Southern California. The Los Angeles County Museum of Arts showcased his costumes in their exhibition and book, "Hollywood and History: Costume Design In Film", and there have been other celebrations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York City), La Palais de la Civilization (Montreal, Canada), and La Place Vendôme, (Paris, France).

His most recent TV series, The Lot, was set in a 1938 movie studio back lot, and was a half-hour comedy that featured Jonathan Frakes. Dorléac's attention to detail earned him another Emmy in 2001 (in conjunction with Costume Supervisor Gilberto Mello) and recognition from the Costume Designers Guild in 2002, for Excellence in Period Television Design.

Jean-Pierre had an uncredited role as a mental patient in the Quantum Leap episode "Shock Theater", and played himself in an episode of the short-lived police series Tequila and Bonetti, as well as the mini series of Jacqueline Susann's "Valley of the Dolls".

He has recently completed the costumes for George F Kaufman and Moss Hart's American comedy classic, "You Can’t Take It With You" for the Geffen Playhouse, directed by Moss Hart's son, Christopher Hart.

His first novel, "Abracadabra Alakazam" was released by the renowned publishers, Monad Books. It has been described as a "deliciously decadent two-part caper revolving around an alluring but unpredictable heroine named Glenna Flanning, and two young men who enter her life, twenty-one years apart".



Last modified on Thursday, 10 May 2012 16:37

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