Killers of the Flower Moon is an indisputable Martin Scorsese masterpiece. As the legendary director grapples with his own mortality, he’s put out one of the finest films of his career, one that characteristically muses on similarly heavy themes: greed, corruption, betrayal, colonialism, violence. Based on the 2017 David Grann book of the same name, Killers of the Flower Moon tells the little-known story of the Osage murders in 1920s Oklahoma and the formation of the FBI. See, the Osage Nation had the foresight to maintain mineral rights on their land so, when oil was discovered, it made them fabulously wealthy. It also made them the target of a vast murder plot by their white neighbors.
I had eagerly been anticipating this movie since it was announced, an anticipation that only grew stronger when presented with the one single still that was available and then, each subsequent trailer. Something else I instantly clocked in the trailer? A cavalcade of hats, each bigger and more beautiful than the last. This was not false advertising, but merely a small sampling of the reality: I can confirm that all three hours and 26 minutes of Killers of the Flower Moon are absolutely teeming with hats.
This film was costume designer Jacqueline West’s first time working with Scorcese (who, it must be noted, is no stranger to wild hats). “Few directors are as conversant about clothes,” she told me. “He really has incredible taste in clothing, and a wonderful Italian eye. It’s in his blood.”
She floated two Westerns to the director when explaining what her influences would be: 1926’s The Winning of Barbara Worth and 1948’s Blood On The Moon.
Of course, hats were a practical necessity in 1920s Oklahoma, to protect from the sun—these guys didn’t have any Supergoop SPF—and rain when working outdoors. But, more than that, West said, “the hats were meant to be there to tell a story.”
More than 300 hats were created for the movie. The principal actors’ hats—Leonardo DiCaprio as Ernest Burkhart and Robert DeNiro as his uncle, William Hale, for instance—were made by Jack Scholl at Weather Hats in Belle Fourche, South Dakota. (West had a connection to them through her husband, who is a Bullock, as featured in HBO’s Deadwood.)