How do you create the costumes for a film set in the 1970s without making them look too dated? Call in wardrobe designer Julian Day.
“I wanted to make [them] look timeless,” Day told EW of dressing Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, and the rest of the cast of the Formula One racing drama Rush. “I didn’t want to go over the top with patterns… I used a lot of primary colors — and lots of ladies in hot pants.”
In addition to watching hours of archival footage and pouring over books and photographs, Day was also able to draw upon his own memories to shape the aesthetic. “I was around when this was happening,” the costume designer said of the rivalry between drivers James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), which took place during the 1976 racing season. “[In the ’70s] my father sponsored a Formula One car that actually appears in the film.”
Day’s idea that race car drivers are “modern-day gladiators” also helped set the tone for the actors’ costumes, which included everything from custom-made OMP racing suits to custom-made designer clothes from Gucci and Ferragamo. They might have been all business on the track, but when it was time for them to put on their play clothes, Day’s vision was “raunchy informal.” That meant asking questions like “How many shirt buttons should be left undone?”