EXCLUSIVE: Cinderella Costume Designer, Sandy Powell Tells Us About Lily James Crying During Costume Fittings And Working With Cate Blanchett

EXCLUSIVE: Cinderella Costume Designer On Lily James Crying


by Grazia |

Cinderella is ALMOST touching down on screens- we can hardly wait! So to help tide us over until the big release we caught up with the film’s Oscar winning costume designer, Sandy Powell who has worked on every great costume drama incluidng Wolf of Wall Street to talk working with Cate Blanchett and Lily James’ reactions to the costumes…

GRAZIA DAILY: Where did you start when you came to this project- what were your inspirations?

SANDY POWELL: Well, when I very first came to the project we had to decide what world it had to be set in, what period it was going to be set in, and I was lucky enough to have that opportunity to sort of come up with that and give suggestions, so I trawled through references, I trawled through different periods for a start, I kind of went everywhere from the 15th century to the 19th century and how you would do a ball gown in each period and then it came down to the 19th century simply because you could do a big dress, a big ball gown…And it is sexy for the men, and I actually thought the men were really important; it’s not just about the girls. As much as I love that this is a film for girls, about girls, the men are really important and you look at all the other periods for the men, it’s not so great.

GRAZIA DAILY: You were saying this is quite a strong female film, how does it compare to working on a film like this to say, Wolf of Wall Street?

SANDY POWELL: In The Wolf of Wall Street, I was taking the girls clothes off! I had one girl on The Wolf of Wall Street to do and the rest had no clothes on! It is a completely different and that was one of the reasons why it was so exciting of the prospect of doing Cinderella after The Wolf of Wall Street, I mean don’t get me wrong, I loved doing The Wolf of Wall Street, it’s mad, absolutely mad, but to actually do a film that was so… the antithesis of the Wolf of Wall Street and it was a girls film, for girls and hopefully some boys will like it too…

Cate Blanchet's costumes for the film (Disney)
Cate Blanchet's costumes for the film (Disney)

GRAZIA DAILY: So is this the third time you have worked with Cate Blanchett and you regularly work with Leo, how does it compare working with them to other actors?

SANDY POWELL: If you have already worked with somebody you are already half-way there, you really are because you know there physicality, you know what suits them, you know what they like, you know how they are going to be in a fitting, you know whether they are going to be helpful or not helpful. You are half-way there and it really, really helps. I actually can’t design a costume unless I know who the person is and it is even better if I know who the person is and I have touched them, and I do!

GRAZIA DAILY: What does Cate bring to the costume?

SANDY POWELL: Well she won’t come in and say ‘I want to wear this and I think that’s wrong,’ but she knows how to wear clothes, and not everybody does! I mean, not everybody is interested in clothes, a lot of people are not interested in clothes, a lot of actors aren’t interested in clothes, but if somebody is interested in them, they know how to wear them and they have a good sense of who they are and what suits them and it really helps!

The costumes for the (not so) Ugly Step Sisters (Disney)

GRAZIA DAILY: What was it like working with Lily James on the back of that because obviously she is very new, she is up and coming…

SANDY POWELL: Lily was just excited by everything! She practically burst into tears every time we put her in a new costume- the first time she put the ball gown on she was like hyperventilating, saying, ‘I feel like a little girl in my dream dress.’

GRAZIA DAILY: Is it more fun to design for the goodies and the baddies?

SANDY POWELL: You know the answer to that one! It’s not like I don’t like doing the goodies but of course the baddies are more fun! Baddies have got that exaggerated character, goodies are really hard and I think it’s hard for the actors to be goodies. It’s really hard to be good and not boring! With Cate, what I tried to do was actually not somebody who looked bad or over the top or comical, I wanted something that looked incredibly sophisticated and elegant, and actually intimidating because of that. You know like you get someone, sort of like Anna Wintour, like someone who is impeccable, not a hair out of place, looks fantastic, it’s terrifying!

GRAZIA DAILY: Were there any costume dramas?

SANDY POWELL: [Laughs] Like peeing when you have a big dress on! Aside from that it was when Helena as the fairy godmother and Lily were filming together. They were the two biggest dresses together in the same small environment, and it was quite difficult.

*** Excited much? Watch the trailer below...** *

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