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NY Times: Van Smith, 61, Dies; Created Divine’s Distinctive Look

NY Times: Van Smith, 61, Dies; Created Divine's Distinctive Look

Van Smith, who was admiringly called both an artist and a terrorist for the costumes and makeup he designed for the films of John Waters, died on Tuesday at his home in Marianna, Fla. He was 61. An early exponent of the trash aesthetic, Mr. Smith was widely credited with having created the public face–once seen, not soon forgotten–of Divine, the seventh-of-a-ton transvestite star of Mr. Waters’s early movies. Mr. Smith designed the costumes for all of Mr. Waters’s films, and the makeup for the first six of them. In unleashing Divine on early-1970s America, Mr. Smith helped set a new standard for drag that endured long after Divine’s death in 1988, Mr. Waters said in a telephone interview on Friday. Margalit Fox reports.

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