Smith often worked with director Waters
Costume designer Van Smith, who worked with director John Waters for 32 years, died in Mariana, Fla. on Dec. 5. He was 61.
Smith started with Waters on “Pink Flamingos” in 1972. “He thought up the look for Divine,” said Waters. “He was with me from the beginning, and he really helped establish the trash aesthetic.”
Smith also designed make-up for Waters’ films from “Pink Flamingos” through “Cry-Baby.”
In “Hairspray,” he departed from Divine’s Jayne Mansfield-meets-Clarabelle-the-clown look to transform Divine into a typical Baltimore housewife. His other credits include “Female Trouble,” “Desperate Living,” “Polyester,” “Cry-Baby,” “Serial Mom,” “Pecker,” “Cecil B. Demented” and “A Dirty Shame.”
Outside of his work in Baltimore, Smith designed all the costumes and make-up for Divine’s nightclub act as well as Divine’s look during his tenure with the Cockettes in their San Francisco performances.
Smith’s work included costume design for NBC’s “Homicide: Life on the Street” and several PBS period dramas. He also worked on several off-Broadway shows including “The Neon Woman” and “Women Behind Bars.”