Oscar Costume Design Nominees 2024: Jacqueline West for Killers of the Flower Moon

Oscar Costume Design Nominees 2024: Jacqueline West for Killers of the Flower Moon

Jacqueline West is an American costume designer, recently nominated for an Academy Award for her work on Martin Scorsese’s period drama Killers of the Flower Moon (2023). 

Jacqueline West 

West was inspired by her mother, who was an avant-garde fashion designer in the 1940s and 50s, to start her own career as a fashion designer in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 80s, where she opened her own store. Her clothing line was called “Identikit by Jacqueline West”. Her clothing was also sold in department stores such as Barney’s and Fred Segal. 

After working as a creative consultant on Philip Kaufman’s Henry and June (1990), her first credit as a costume designer came in 1993 on another Kaufman film, Rising Sun (1993). After a gap of 7 years, she came back to work with Kaufman once again, as the designer on Quills (2000), for which she was nominated for an Academy award.


Since the beginning of the 2000s, she has provided her talents to an impressive roster of films including:

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

The New World (2005)

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)

Water for Elephants (2011)

The Tree of Life (2011)

The Revenant (2015)

Dune (2021) and Dune: Part Two (2024)

She earned a further 3 Academy Award nominations, and Killers of the Flower Moon makes it her fifth overall. Will this be the year she finally takes it home? 

Brad Pitt apparently referred to her as a ‘method costumer’ because she gets so into character, after working with her on Benjamin Button.  

After her Oscar nomination in 2016 for The Revenant, West set up a scholarship with the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, for Native American youth interested in costume or fashion design. It included an internship with West herself. 

After working with her on The Revenant, Leonardo Di Caprio recommended West to Di Caprio’s longtime collaborator Martin Scorsese when he began developing Flower Moon. 

Jacqueline worked with Osage consultant Julie O’Keefe while creating the costumes for Killers of the Flower Moon (2023).

Julie O'Keefe

O’Keefe has a background in creating traditional, museum-quality regalia in her hometown of Pawhuska, Oklahoma. The film is set in during the ‘Reign of Terror’ in 1920s Oklahoma. The money that arrived to the Osage nation from the oil rich land grew and grew over time, until they eventually became the richest people, per capita, in the world. This naturally had an effect on their attire as traditional clothing was integrated with modern European couture. 

West used a variety of sources to research the costuming of the time period. From visiting museums to watching rare black and white home movies that had been commissioned by wealthy Osage families at the time. O’Keefe ensured the authenticity of the traditional clothing throughout the film. They worked with local artisans, who brought in pieces for the costume team to copy or to use as prototypes.



The Hollywood Reporter featured a great article last November on the costuming of the film with interviews from West and O’Keefe containing lots of fascinating insights. Here is a small excerpt:

“‘I use the sisters as a microcosm,’ says West. ‘Traditional’ Mollie — like her mother, Lizzie Q (Tantoo Cardinal) — wears ‘classic’ Osage blouses in calico or satin, trimmed with hand-done ribbon. To accurately make Mollie’s shirts, West studied photos of the real sisters, museum pieces and Osage family heirlooms that were on loan. William ‘Kugee’ Supernaw, the owner of Supernaw’s supply store, handcrafted Mollie’s treasured seed-bead necklace and silver circular Wabonka pins, cornerstones of Osage attire. 

West based ‘modern’ Anna’s (Cara Jade Myers) flapper garb on Natacha Rambova, Cecil B. DeMille’s fashion-trailblazing costume designer.

Natasha Rambova

Minnie (Jillian Dion) and Reta (Janae Collins), marrying outside the tribe, are ‘degrees of’ traditional Osage representation. But blankets — Osage status symbols and gestures of generosity — connect the community. ‘The power suit of the ’20s,’ says West, who had Pendleton, maker of trade blankets for Native Americans since the early 1900s, re-create period-correct designs and labels. O’Keefe invited Osage artisans Janet Emde, Ruth Shaw and Anita Fields to handcraft traditional ribbon work.”

Killers of the Flower Moon Pendleton blankets 

O’Keefe also talked to IndieWire about the project:

“The whole idea of [their clothes] is these women are still thinking, ‘How are we going to stay safe? And how are we going to fit into this world that’s being forced on us? Where do we fit?’ You see human struggle in that snapshot [of different fashion styles]. And the day that I walked into Jackie’s studio, that’s exactly what I saw she was doing. That’s what she saw, too.” 

Hundreds of suits were made for the film in Budapest and United American Costume in Los Angeles, many of which were based on costumes from old John Ford Western movies. 

Killers of the Flower Moon 

One particularly striking costume was Mollie’s wedding attire, which featured a military coat. Jacqueline and Julie explained in a Vanity Fair video the story behind this outfit. An Osage delegation had gone to Washington DC in the early 1800s and exclaimed upon the uniforms of President Jefferson’s officers at the time. The Chief was presented with one of the coats as a gift and he took it home. It was too small for him to wear so he gave it to his daughter who was getting married at the time. She used it as her wedding dress and decorated it with traditional details. It then became used as the Osage wedding dress going forward, which Julie says was typically for an arranged marriage. For Mollie’s costume in the movie, it was worn over a ribbon work skirt and had a finger woven belt around the waist. 


Osage wedding attire

Many wonderful interviews are available online to read, which Jacqueline and Julie conducted around the release of the film last year, and they are well worth checking out for more info on the incredible work of this project!

Check out our previous post HERE which details the 1920s clothing and accessories from our rental collection which were honoured to supply to the production for the costuming of the film.

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