Designing Victoria: Visual Sources for Historical Costume

The Getty Center
Date: Sunday, April 27, 2014
Time: 3:00 p.m.
Location: Harold M. Williams Auditorium
Admission: Free; reservations recommended. Call (310) 440-7300.

Sandy Powell has received 10 Academy Award nominations for costume design and walked away with the statuette three times, for Shakespeare in Love (1999), The Aviator (2005), and The Young Victoria (2010). Powell frequently studies paintings and photographs and then prepares a costume reference bible before beginning the process of designing costumes. Her visual references include artworks from the period in which a film is set, but Powell also also relies on images she considers timeless. For instance, Powell told an interviewer that Josef Koudelka’s “Gypsies,” a book of photographs taken in the 1960s, “comes out on nearly every job I do because there are shots in there I love.” One of these photographs even provided the basis for Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Gangs of New York, set 100 years before Koudelka’s photographs.

UCLA-Swarovski costume designer-in-residence Sandy Powell comes to the Getty to speak with Professor Deborah Nadoolman Landis, director of the David C. Copley Center for the Study of Costume Design at UCLA. They discuss the role of photographs and other visual sources in costume design, with particular reference to A Royal Passion: Queen Victoria and Photography, currently on view at the Getty Museum.

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