can recall many times when a surprise visit to our 42nd Street
store has led to unexpected and exciting results. Such an occurrence
took place in the early afternoon one day during the spring of
1995, when members of the Costume Design Department of a prestigious
major film company, already well familiar with our reputation for
supplying hard-to-find military items, happened to stop by...
welcoming our distinguished guests we discussed in detail the
British Army WWII uniforms they required for a new production
about to begin filming in Italy. While their actual presence
highlighted the urgency of the order, we listened carefully
and addressed the concerns they raised that all the uniforms
had to be completely original and historically correct to the
reliance on our military expertise would prove to be invaluable.
surprisingly, a number of the items they required had become such
rarities over the years that we realized almost immediately how
difficult it would be to supply them.
when they added the fact that their deadline for everything was
less than two weeks away, their incredibly demanding order suddenly
seemed near impossible-
BIG question they posed to us was this: "Could Kaufman's
supply all their requirements- and if so, could we supply them
all on time?"
hindsight, it may have been sheer lunacy to have accepted this
order in the first place given its complexity and the incredibly
limited amount of time available to us. But even though we knew
just how involved it would be, we were equally certain from our
experience that we could make it all happen. So we accepted the
challenge and assured our guests right there on the spot that
we could supply everything just as they asked and do it all within
the period of time allotted…
enough, ten days later we delivered their order complete- a
full array of WWII dated desert field uniforms so outstanding
that the most discerning British military collector would have
we learned later on, most of these pieces were immediately shipped
to Italy where each one was carefully reproduced to ensure its
historical accuracy and worn in the film The English Patient,
which in 1996 went on to win nine Academy Awards, including the
one for Best Costume Design!
was sometime after we had delivered the goods that another surprise
all the wonderful khaki twill trousers and soft cotton shirts and
rumbled bush jackets we supplied was one uniform that was perhaps
rarer than all the others, and yet it was also the only item ever
returned to us. It was this same simple but beautiful British Army
nurse's dress that is photographed here, which was never chosen
for the film and never, ever used.
reader can be assured that we were very pleased indeed to get it
back, where today it holds a special distinction in the British
Army Section of Kaufman's own extensive Military Uniform