Catherine Martin knows how to make a scene—in the best possible sense of the phrase. The set and costume designer has carved out an impressive career using her unmatched talent for crafting silver-screen magic—or, in her words, “finding elegant visual solutions to storytelling problems”.
The 53-year-old’s superior skills are reflected in her trophy shelf, which boasts more than 30 top accolades. Her 2014 Women of Style Lifestyle award sits alongside five BAFTAs, a Tony, 10 AFI/AACTAs and a modest collection of Oscars: two for 2001’s Moulin Rouge! and two for 2013’s The Great Gatsby, both directed by her husband, Baz Luhrmann. In fact, she is the only Australian to win four of those golden statuettes.
Martin’s more recent achievements include working on the groovy Netflix series The Get Down in 2016, and production design for the short fashion film The Secret Life of Flowers—a dreamy campaign for H&M and Erdem’s 2017 design collaboration.
Away from the camera, Martin also enjoys turning her eye to homewares, having teamed up with Mokum Textiles and Designer Rugs to produce interiors that encapsulate her brilliant sense of style.
But that’s not all: as the mother of Lillian, 14, and William, 12, Martin multi-tasks all of this between family time spent “keeping up with my incredible, loving, intelligent, sometimes challenging and fun-loving children”.
Her best advice when it comes to balancing it all? “Assumption is the mother of disaster. This has proven to be so true in my work and personal life. Assuming something will work or something will be done is a recipe for disaster.”
On celebrating women... “It’s incredibly important [that we] institutionalise the celebration of women’s accomplishments, because—in my experience— women find it difficult to celebrate themselves. We must shine a light on those who have been successful so that future generations of women will have inspirational leads to follow.”
The ultimate woman of style... “I don’t think there is a singular woman of style. There are billions of women all over the world who use their intelligence, love of humanity, creativity, style and strength of character to make the world a better place—I celebrate them all!”