The star of Vertigo on her favourite outfits, taking artistic inspiration from Hitchcock – and dealing with abuse from Trump
As told to Leah Harper – The Guardian
‘I always go for something you can move in, because I’m out in nature a lot’ … Kim Novak. Photograph: Provided by Kim Novak
This is my favourite outfit. My sister Arlene made the chaps out of calfskin and I made the tunic. She knew horses were a part of my life [Novak left Hollywood in the 60s to raise horses and paint], so she made mini-chaps for me. I named my horse Nur Jahan, which means “light of the universe” in Persian; I rode wearing this outfit until it got burnt in a house fire in 2000. Since then, I’ve made more clothes using hides.
I think this look was ahead of its time. I always go for something comfortable and something you can move in, because I’m out in nature a lot.
My favourite outfit from the movies was the lavender jersey dress that I wore as Judy in Vertigo. Wearing it on set, I felt totally liberated – before that, I had been playing Madeleine, who was very uptight and rigid. Suddenly, I was free of wearing the grey suit that most people remember from that film, which made me feel very limited. The costume department made the dress in my favourite colour because they wanted me to feel totally relaxed as Judy.
When I’m painting, I wear a jersey top and yoga pants; if I’m using oils, I also wear a smock. Alfred Hitchcock [who directed Vertigo] paid so much attention to colour and how he dressed his actors. I am definitely influenced by him – my paintings are all mysteries. I often write poetry to go with the paintings and I do it to drop clues, as Hitchcock did in his films.
In 2012, I had fat injections in my cheeks, but it was the worst thing I could have done. When Donald Trump took a pop [in a tweet criticising her appearance at the 2014 Oscars], it became an issue. I’m a perfectionist – when I do something in public, I want to look my best. That night, I wore an outfit that wasn’t very glamorous; I felt very insecure and I took a pill to relax, because I was nervous. It was a disaster, unfortunately, but I didn’t let it stop me. One day I would like to present another Oscar, and come out there on my horse.