Oral Histories

Interview of Magdalena Striegl Kuehne

Costume maker who had a career in film, television, and custom-made fashion. Costume maker who had a career in film, television, and custom-made fashion. Won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Motion Picture Costumers, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 705.
The Crafts in Hollywood: Costuming
Film and Television
Collings, Jane
Kuehne, Magdalena Striegl
Persons Present:
Kuehne and Collings.
Place Conducted:
Kuehne's home in Tujunga, California.
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Jane Collings, principal editor and interviewer, UCLA Center for Oral History Research; Ph.D., Critical Studies in Film and Television, UCLA.
Processing of Interview:
The interviewer prepared a timed log of the audio recording of the interview. Kuehne was given the opportunity to review the log in order to supply missing or misspelled names and to verify the accuracy of the content. The corrections made were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff.
6.75 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series of interviews documents the work of costumers in the film and television industries in Los Angeles. The interviews preserve a dimension of Hollywood history and Los Angeles history that has been under-documented to date.
Early life in a German farming town while in Yugoslavia—Occupation of the town by the Yugoslav government after World War II— Life-threatening conditions within the town— Escape from the town—Life in a series of refugee camps in Austria—Learns to sew in Red Cross camp in Eisenerz, Austria— Family emigrates to Los Angeles as part of a transport of Catholic refugees.
Life under occupation in home village— Upon arrival in Los Angeles, finds work as a seamstress at a factory in downtown LA— Begins work for a fashion house called Irene—Family members find employment—The original group of Catholic emigres sometimes socialized with each other.
Begins to do sewing work for TV and film— Joins Motion Picture Costumers International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 705—Union rules—Works at Warner Bros. and Universal Studios—Constructs a jacket for Mel Gibson—Tends to hire immigrant seamstresses because they know how to do skilled custom work—Works on TV shows Growing Pains and Sisters—Contributes to a dress for Barbra Streisand—Works on location with The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.
Begins to participate in track and field competitions at age fifty—Wins Senior Olympics medals—Competes internationally— Honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Local 705.