Marit Allen (17 September 1941 – 26 November 2007) was an English fashion journalist and costume designer who specialized in costumes for films. She designed the costumes for several successful Hollywood films, including Mrs. Doubtfire, The Witches, Eyes Wide Shut, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Brokeback Mountain and La Vie en Rose. Her career as a film costume designer lasted over 33 years.
Early life and career
Marit Allen was born in Cheshire, England on 17 September 1941 to a Norwegian mother and an English father. She was a pupil at Adcote School, an independent girls' boarding school in Shropshire from 1951 and 1959. She then graduated from the University of Grenoble, in France.
Allen's career in fashion began in 1961 when she took a job as a trainee at Queen Magazine. She quickly became editor and writer for the 'About 20' young fashion section of the magazine, which she used to showcase young design talent and innovative photography. In 1964, when the editor of Queen, Beatrix Miller, went to edit British Vogue, she took Allen with her. For Vogue, Allen founded the 'Young Idea' pages which continued to champion up-and-coming innovative young designers such as John Bates and Foale and Tuffin. Allen's layouts were also original, including a spread based on the Batman comic strip in June 1966. She occasionally modelled for her own articles, and wore the designs she featured. For her 1966 wedding to the film producer Sandy Lieberson, Allen wore an ultra-modern mini-dress and coat trimmed with silver vinyl by John Bates. Allen remained at Vogue until 1973. She also helped to establish the bachelor's degree program in journalism at Central St. Martin's Art College in 1973.
Allen was persuaded to enter the costume designing business for film by director Nicolas Roeg after her successful career in fashion journalism. Following her entry into costume design, Allen worked on the costumes for a number of Roeg's movies including Don't Look Now, The Witches and Eureka.
Allen also developed a working relationship with Taiwanese film director, Ang Lee. The two collaborated to create the costumes for a number of Ang's major films, including Hulk, Brokeback Mountain and Ride with the Devil.
Allen's other noted films included La Vie En Rose (2007) for which she received her sole Oscar nomination, Love in the Time of Cholera (2007), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), Dead Man (1995), and Little Shop of Horrors (1986).
- "Costumer Marit Allen dies at 66". Variety Magazine. 30 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-12.
- Foale & Tuffin optical check suit in the Victoria and Albert Museum collection.
- Garments worn by Marit Allen in the Victoria and Albert Museum Accessed 10/1/2011
- Double D minidress by Foale and Tuffin, worn by Marit Allen in the Victoria and Albert Museum collection. Accessed 10/1/2011
- John Bates wedding outfit worn by Marit Allen
- Marit Allen at the Internet Movie Database
- The Guardian: Marit Allen, Former fashion editor who designed the costumes for a string of successful movies
- The Telegraph: Marit Allen obituary
- The Times: Marit Allen, Innovative Swinging Sixties fashion journalist who went on to become a highly esteemed costume designer for films
- Liverpool Daily Post: Marit Allen obituary
- Los Angeles Times: Marit Allen: Fashionista designed costumes for top Hollywood films