Sandy Powell OBE

SEASON 20 BEGINS!!! We meet ICON of film and Hollywood costumes SANDY POWELL OBE!!!! We discuss her love of art, collaborating with legendary queer artists/creative minds Derek Jarman and Lindsay Kemp, a 25 year collaboration with choreographer Lea Anderson, and how art informs her costume design. We explore a series of portraits of Sandy painted by Sadie Lee. Sandy is a multi award-winning Costume Designer who has won three Academy Awards, three BAFTA Awards for Best Costume Design, plus the recent honour of BAFTA Fellowship 2023, and two Costume Designers Guild Awards.


Londoner, Sandy, studied at St Martins School of Art and the Central School of Art and Design where she specialised in theatre design. She started her professional career in fringe with the National Theatre working on numerous productions including Orders of Obedience and Rococo. She went on to design sets and costumes for productions of Lumiere and Son, Bright Side and Culture Vulture. As a student and one of the leading lights of the international theatre scene she most admired was Lindsay Kemp, the gifted director, designer and performer. On impulse she spoke to him on the phone and said how much she wanted to work with him. After seeing samples of her work he asked her to join him in Milan as costume designer for his theatre company. During her 3 year spell with him she worked on Nijinsky which was a study of the start and madness of the great Russian dancer. She also designed the costumes for The Big Parade, a tragic- comic homage to the silent screen, and the stage and screen versions of A Midsummer Nights Dream. In 1985 she rapidly established herself in the world of video working on many pop promos with director Derek Jarman and with him on his film Caravaggio, and Zenith's For Queen and Country.


Born in 1960, she was raised in south London, where she was taught to sew by her mother on a Singer sewing machine, and began experimenting with cutting and adapting patterns at a young age. Educated at Sydenham High School, she went on to complete an Art Foundation at Saint Martins in 1978, and in 1979 she began a BA in Theatre Design at Central School of Art and Design (now Central Saint Martins). In 1981 she withdrew from her degree to assist a costume designer who worked for a fringe theatre company called Rational Theatre, and also began a long collaboration with Lindsay Kemp designing for him in Italy and Spain.


In 1984 when, after a spell as a costume designer on music videos, she moved into the film industry. Her break came when the film director and stage designer Derek Jarman appointed her costume designer on his film, Caravaggio (1986), starring Tilda Swinton and Sean Bean. To date, Powell has worked as Costume Designer on over 50 films, including Orlando (1992);The Crying Game (1992); Interview with the Vampire (1994); Michael Collins (1996); The Wings of The Dove (1997); Hilary and Jackie (1998); The End of the Affair (1999); Gangs of New York (2002); Far From Heaven (2002); Sylvia (2003); The Aviator (2005); The Departed (2006); Shutter Island (2010) Hugo (2011) The Wolf of Wall Street (2013); Cinderella (2015); Carol (2015); Mary Poppins Returns (2018); and Living (2022). She has earned 76 award nominations and won 27 awards in her career, including Academy Awards for Shakespeare in Love (1998) and The Aviator (2004), a BAFTA Award for Velvet Goldmine (1998), and both an Academy Award and a BAFTA Award for The Young Victoria (2010).


Follow @TheSandyPowell on Instagram.


Thanks for listening!!! This season is shaping up to be one of the most fascinating so far!!! Thanks for listening. Follow us @TalkArt for images of works we discuss.


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