Thirty years ago, one of cinema’s most iconic and enduring adventure heroes was born in Raiders of the Lost Ark. But try imagining Indiana Jones without the hat, the bullwhip and the leather jacket, and he’s just, well, Harrison Ford. Deborah Nadoolman, the costume designer for Raiders, shares the inside scoop on how she gave the good Dr. Jones his look.
“I had just designed The Blues Brothers, and we used those famous hats for John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd. The hats were iconic. You know those characters by their shadows, and we wanted the same for Indiana Jones. So we gave him a fedora. Because Harrison Ford replaced Tom Selleck in the role at the last minute, we didn’t have very much time, so Harrison and I went to the largest costume warehouse in England and went to work trying to find the right hat. Hats are tricky. They’re so individual. Most hats look bad on most people, but the right hat is like a better face. So I pulled every single ’30s and ’40s fedora they had and dumped them at Harrison’s feet. He was knee-deep in fedoras, trying on hats for hours until we found one. We had a dozen of them made. We made a dozen jackets too. I carried the first jacket with me in my luggage to our first location and I sat up all night by the swimming pool with Harrison Ford, ‘aging’ it with a Swiss Army knife. You don’t forget nights like that.”