Issue 56 Hollywood
LONG JANUARY EVENINGS provide the ideal opportunity to indulge in a little escapism. Nothing lifts the spirits quite like losing oneself for an hour or two in a play or a good film. For me it is often the costumes that steal the show and enable me to escape into another world. In this issue Nicola Donovan has explored the work of costume designers Sandy Powell, Colleen Atwood and Jacqueline Durran, who, between them, have 23 Oscar nominations. Every costume designer has a different approach to the process, and Jenny Tiramani is another professional with a distinctive ethos. After leading a highly skilled team at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Jenny
Tiramani has devoted the last decade to studying and teaching the accurate reconstruction of historic dress. In her article, Ready for their close-up, she explains the role of her recently founded School of Historical Dress and why accuracy is important in the theatre and on screen.
I recently had the honour of judging a charity “Fantasy Fashion Show” in aid of the Karenni people in Burma. Many of you will have met Beryl Lee, Chairman of The Karenni Student Development Programme, at textile shows here and in France as she also supports the people of the Thai/Burma border by selling their beautiful textiles. The schoolgirls taking part in the show had clearly enjoyed the process of designing and making their own dresses and it was delightful to observe the revival of interest in dressmaking firsthand. The BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee is another aspect of the renewed fascination and it is good to see it on our screens. Learning, or brushing up, our dressmaking skills has never been easier; Carolyn Denham and Yoshiko Tsukiori, are two businesswomen providing domestic crafters with tools, patterns and plenty of inspiration. If you fancy running up a period piece then look no further than The Commercial Pattern Archive. It houses 56,000 and just browsing the collection is great fun. Trying to date the garments is an addictive game – I discovered that the differences between the decades is surprisingly difficult to spot!
Polly Leonard, Founder