In 1962, Mayes Castillero Rubeo was born in Mexico City. She moved to the United States in the 1980s to study at the Fashion and Costume Trade Tech College in Los Angeles. Her talent and desire led her to Italy, where she worked with Enrico Sabbatini, a costume designer and film and stage producer who became her mentor.
Rubeo experimented in cinema costume design, collaborating with indie producers on films like Men with Gun (1977), Sunshine State (2002), and Casa de los Babys (2003). Her breakthrough to major Hollywood productions came with the film Apocalypto (2006), which she co-directed with Mel Gibson.
During the film Apocalypto she was given the freedom to explore with her creativity. She wanted a lot of corporations of color to set certain tones. She used colors that derived straight from nature. Every single piece of garment and clothing was handmade. Accessories that the Mayan used for luxury such as jade was strongly depicted amongst the upper class. Rubeo created faux jade with hand painted pieces of wood.
In her career as a costume designer, Mayes Rubeo has worked on some of Hollywood’s highest-grossing films, including Avatar (2009), John Cartes (2012), and Warcarft (2016). The costumes in Avatar were generated digitally. Digital costumes require graphic texture mapping. Designers such as Rubeo are fusing digital and physical languages, as well as pushing traditional design and fabrication methods. In the category of Excellence in Fantasy Film, she was nominated for a Costume Designers Guild Award. Rubeo’s career ignited after this and was hired in many successful films going forward.
- Dragonball Evolution (2009)
- Avatar (2009)
- John Carter (2012)
- World War Z (2013)
- Warcraft: The Beginning (2016)
- The Great Wall (2016)
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
- Jojo Rabbit (2019)
- WandaVision (2020)
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)
Great Wall (2016)
Beyond every arrange of costume designs comes an intensive research. Historical references and context are vital for the authenticity of her work. She made about ten thousands costumes during this film. The director of this film wanted for potent colors without them being overwhelming. She used primary colors as her main focus but with the combinations of different hues and tones.
In 2020, the Oscar’s nominations included Rubeo as the “first” Latina to be nominated for Best Costume Design. She was nominated for her performance in Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit.” While working in this film she curated a varied of choices by exploring the use of both new and antique fabrics.
Time after time Rubeo has demonstrate her capacity to take risks and go beyond expectations. She is the right women to take any task from ancient civilizations to fantasy action. Rubeo is an inspiration for the Latin American community. She is serious about continuing to break barriers and building a path for more people of color to work in the industry of film and design.