Wendy Stites, the film’s visual consultant, took her inspiration for the costumes from a variety of sources including Norman Rockwell paintings, Jean Cocteau, a book containing ‘Everyday Fashions of the 1940s’, the Saturday Evening Post magazines and photographs of the actor James Stewart. Working with costume designer Marilyn Matthews, Wendy set out to create clothing to reflect Truman’s world.
Marilyn Matthews says, “Our challenge was to avoid making the costumes too cartoonish and also not to make them too tied into a specific period of time.”
With this in mind Wendy and Marilyn avoided colours such as lime green and orange – which would have given the film a contemporary feel. They concentrated on using colours such as red, black, yellow and checked patterns, and rather than buying or finding ready-made garments, the costumes for the film were made to order.
Wendy Stites says, “Truman Burbank is the only person on ‘The Truman Show’ that dresses himself- the others are all dressed by the wardrobe department of the television show – so I wanted his look to be a bit different, not quite as polished.”
Peter Weir says, “I always thought of the film as taking place twenty years or so in the future, and that Christof the show’s creator would have created an idealised environment for Seahaven based on elements from the past that he particularly admired.”