“You don’t know what The Get Down is?” asks a Shaolin Fantastic. “It’s the flyest, secret underground party in the Bronx!” And just like that, our newest binge-watch obsession was born.
Set in broken-down Brooklyn in 1977, Baz Luhrmann’s TV directorial debut retells the story of the origins of hip hop culture through the eyes of promising young poet Ezekiel Figuero. Played by Justice Smith, Zeke seeks to transcend the injustices of his upbringing by finding his voice as a hip hop MC, mentored by Shameik Moore as Grandmaster Flash’s grafitti-writer-turned-DJ protege Shaolin Fantastic. Together they form The Get Down Crew, enlisting Jaden Smith who stars as Dizzee.
Credit: Image supplied
Not content with immortalising real-life hip hop heroes including pioneering DJs Grandmaster Flash and Kool Here, The Get Down also boasts Nas as an executive producer, plus Grandmaster Flash and rapper Kurtis Blow as associate producers.
With a stellar soundtrack assured, the pressure was on the wardrobe department to recreate a credible aesthetics for such an iconic era. Enter The Get Down‘s executive producer Catherine Martin, the Oscar-winning costume and production designer behind The Great Gatsby and Moulin Rouge! and wife to Luhrmann. Martin appointed costume designer Jeriana San Juan to create The Get Down look.
“We didn’t want it to feel historical. Everything is through a heightened perspective, in the same way anyone thinks of their own childhood – things are always bigger and more colourful when you remember them,” she reveals.
Fabled fashion houses Diane von Furstenberg, Halston and Gucci opened up their archives for research, and Jeriana called upon Grandmaster Flash to make sure the styling was on point. “Being able to go through a rack of clothes with him to find what was authentic and what wasn’t, down to the colour palette that fit 1977 was a fascinating present,” she recalls.
Kurtis Blow also consulted on the clothes. “It’s really cool to work with people who were alive and present and what the story is about – it’s really the best research I could do.” The toughest challenge? Persuading Jaden Smith to don a pair of denim flairs. “First it was a culture shock….
“When Jaden had a pair of ’70s pants that fit him like ’70s pants he’s like, ‘Wow, they’re really tight!'”
“It took a bit of adjusting their lenses to understand it, then very quickly it went from that to absolutely loving it and everyone was asking me,’Could you make one more pair of these and I’ll just wear them in my own life?'” And should you not have Grandmaster Flash on speed-dial, look to the Autumn/Winter 2016 catwalks so you can join The Get Down Crew too.
Not seen The Get Down? Tease yourself with the trailer here