Irene Sharaff

Costume designer, Scenic designer, Art director
Renowned costume designer who established herself creating the witty, fluid and stylish costumes for the classic Broadway musicals of the 1930s, 40s and 50s (including "As Thousands Cheer" 1933, "On Your Toes" 1936 ... Read more »
Born: 01/22/1910 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Filmography

Wardrobe, Hair & Makeup (19)

Mommie Dearest 1981 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

The Other Side of Midnight 1977 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

The Great White Hope 1970 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Hello, Dolly! 1969 (Movie)

costume design (Costume Designer)

Justine 1969 (Movie)

costume design (Costume Designer)

Funny Girl 1968 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

The Taming of the Shrew 1967 (Movie)

(Elizabeth Taylor) (Costume Designer)

Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? 1966 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

The Sandpiper 1965 (Movie)

costume design (Costume Designer)

Cleopatra 1963 (Movie)

(Elizabeth Taylor) (Costumes)

Flower Drum Song 1961 (Movie)

costume design (Costume Designer)

West Side Story 1961 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Can-Can 1960 (Movie)

costume design (Costume Designer)

Porgy and Bess 1958 (Movie)

costume design (Costume Designer)

The King and I 1956 (Movie)

costume design (Costume Designer)

Guys and Dolls 1955 (Movie)

costume design (Costume Designer)

Brigadoon 1954 (Movie)

costume design (Costume Designer)

An American in Paris 1950 (Movie)

(ballet) (Costume Designer)

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty 1947 (Movie)

(Costume Designer)

Biography

Renowned costume designer who established herself creating the witty, fluid and stylish costumes for the classic Broadway musicals of the 1930s, 40s and 50s (including "As Thousands Cheer" 1933, "On Your Toes" 1936, "I'd Rather Be Right" 1937, "The Boys from Syracuse" 1938, "Lady in the Dark" 1941, "The King & I" 1951, "West Side Story" 1957, "Funny Girl" 1964, and "Sweet Charity" 1965). Lured to Hollywood by MGM in 1942 because of reputation for accuracy of detail in period costuming and skill in designing for fantasy sequences and musical numbers, Sharaff's first assignment ironically was for "Madame Curie" (1943), where she had little to do but design lab smocks. The next year, however, she joined the legendary Freed unit at its inception and first made her mark in film with Vincente Minnelli's precisely realized period musical, "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944), followed by his strikingly stylized if not entirely successful, "Yolanda and the Thief" (1945).

Sharaff's distinctive style--bright splashes of vibrant primary colors set off against delicate backgrounds; subtle gradations of color for chorus costumes; and flattering, womanly shapes for such stars as Judy Garland ("A Star is Born" 1954), Barbra Streisand ("Funny Girl" 1967 and "Hello, Dolly!" 1969) and four times for Elizabeth Taylor (including "Cleopatra" 1963 and "The Taming of the Shrew" 1967)--won her five Oscars and eleven nominations. Her fluidly moving, richly adorned designs enhanced almost all the major film musicals made from Broadway hits during the 1950s and 60s including such well-remembered efforts as ""Brigadoon" (1954), "Guys and Dolls" (1955), "The King and I" (1956), "Porgy and Bess" (1959), "West Side Story" (1961) and "Hello, Dolly!" (1969) as well as such dramatic films as "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946), "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966) and "The Great White Hope" (1970).

EDUCATION

Art Students League of New York

New York , New York

New York School of Fine and Applied Arts

New York , New York

Grande Chaumiere

Paris

Milestones

1942

Designed costumes for first film, "Madame Curie"

1933

First Broadway production as costume designer, "As Thousands Cheer"

1932

Debut as costume and scenic designer for LeGalliene's legendary production of "Alice in Wonderland"

Began career as teenager as assistant to Aline Bernstein at Eva LeGalliene's Civic Repertory Theatre company

Bonus Trivia

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Sharaff also designed costumes for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, the American Ballet Theatre, the New York City Ballet, the Jofrey Ballet and the Royal Ballet.

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Posthumously inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 1997

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