A painful story comes to the screen
“Killers of the Flower Moon” is a film directed and produced by Martin Scorsese, set for theatrical release in October of 2023, followed by streaming on Apple TV. The film is based on the 2017 book of the same title by David Grann about a series of murders committed in the 1920s, after oil was found on tribal land belonging to the Osage Nation. Stars are Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, and Tantoo Cardinal, among others. The film was shot on location in Oklahoma.
Scorsese worked closely with representatives of the Osage Nation to properly represent the community, with Osage Nation chief Geoffrey Standing Bear serving as a consultant. In Mr. Bear’s words, “The dignity and care for the Osage perspective was genuine and honest throughout the process and the Osage responded with the kind of passion and enthusiasm that met this historic moment. For those of us who were watching from the sidelines while our best and brightest among us auditioned, sewed, catered, painted, acted and advised the filmmakers, it’s going to be hard not to feel our presence in helping to tell this painful, violent story to an international audience.” Input from the Nation had a profound effect on the movie’s plot and focus.
The conversation begins
As part of the production company’s commitment to authenticity, the costume team carefully researched the clothing worn by Osage people in the 1920s. Through antique photos, the costumers came to understand the role of the blanket robe; a wool blanket worn as part of traditional attire. Known as Trade blankets for their role in early trading post transactions, these blankets remain important to Native communities across the USA. In its century-plus of weaving, Pendleton has produced many thousands of the serape-style robes popular in the Osage Nation.
The story of Pendleton’s involvement with the “Killers of the Flower Moon” production began in August of 2019, when Pendleton fielded a call from Christopher Peterson from the KotFM costume department. This began a series of off-and-on talks that continued through January of 2020, when discussion paused due to COVID-19. In January of 2021, the conversation resumed with Kristi Hoffman, Assistant Costume Designer to Jacqueline West. She supplied a series of vintage images to Pendleton’s Home team for inspiration. After much discussion and brainstorming, it was decided that the production would require both vintage and reproduction blankets.
For the vintage blankets, Pendleton put Ms. Hoffman in touch with Barry Friedman. Mr. Friedman is a leading expert on the history and provenance of vintage Trade blankets. As a collector and author, he has published two books on blankets and the mills that produced them, titled Chasing Rainbows and More Chasing Rainbows. Mr. Friedman supplied approximately sixty vintage blankets to the production. Twenty of those were vintage Pendletons, including the one worn by Lily Gladstone in this photo from the film.
The reproduction blankets were drawn from designs in the Pendleton archives, and woven in the same mill as the original blankets that inspired the costumers. Working together, the teams narrowed the options to three specific stripes. Pendleton designers then created two colorways for each, for a total of six patterns.
Seventy-five blankets were shipped to the filming location in April, 2021. In Fall of 2022, Pendleton began offering three of the six stripes as part of the Home line. The stripes are named for Oklahoma towns that were part of filming.
Additionally, 700 in-line serapes and saddle blankets with custom labels (shown) were presented as gifts to the cast and crew, a fitting wrap gift for the production.
“Killers of the Flower Moon” shines a bright light on a dark period in American history. Pendleton Woolen Mills was honored to work with the production team and the Osage Nation on this important film.
The movie: Killers of the Flower Moon
Barry Friedman: see his book here Still Chasing Rainbows
The blankets: Pendleton Archival Serapes