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Interview: Costume Designer Sandy Powell Talks ‘Living’ and Finding the Proper Fashion

When it comes to costume designers, Sandy Powell is on Hollywood’s Mount Rushmore. A fifteen-time Academy Award nominee, Powell has taken home three Oscars for Best Costume Design, winning for The Aviator, Shakespeare in Love, and The Young Victoria. Now, she’s in the mix for a sixteenth citation by the Academy, this time for the period drama Living. So, it goes without saying that when the opportunity to talk with a legend came up, it was an offer that I certainly could not refuse. Recently, I spoke to Living star Bill Nighy (here). Today, it’s time to talk to Powell, the woman who dressed Nighy in his likely Oscar nominated role.

Below, you can see my conversation with Powell. As someone with limited fashion sense (I’m not inept, but I’m also at my best when there’s a girlfriend to confirm that I don’t look ridiculous), it was fascinating to pick Powell’s brain a bit. Most interestingly, she talks about how she opted to dress Nighy’s character in an older suit than the time period, since the man wouldn’t be in what then would be a new suit. It’s those little details that make her one of the best. If you haven’t seen Living, it’s out now, be sure to give it a look, not just for Nighy’s terrific performance, but for Powell’s expert threads as well.

When I saw Living back at the Toronto International Film Festival, this here is some of what I had to say:

Living is the Bill Nighy show. He’s doing a ton here, while also keeping it incredibly subtle. Nighy is completely on point with the tone of the film, which asks you to have a lot of patience. Those willing to put in the time with this movie will have that investment rewarded, but it’s certainly a work that lives and dies with its leading man turn.

Sony Pictures Classics

Here now is my interview with Oscar winner and Living costume designer Sandy Powell. Enjoy:

Living is in theaters now!


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Written by Joey Magidson

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