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Life Journeys: Sandy Powell in Conversation

24 APR 2022 – 4.30PM

4 Richmond Mews
London, W1D 3DH

In this very special on-stage conversation between costume designer Sandy Powell and writer, curator and historian Keith Lodwick, her outstanding career creating costumes for films was explored.

How did she end up working in costume design? What were her background and interests? What did working with Derek Jarman early in her career mean to her? What is so special about her regular collaborations with Martin Scorsese, Leonardo di Caprio, Tilda Swinton, Todd Haynes, Cate Blanchett…? We’ll explore this and more.

The on-stage conversation will be followed by the screening of Sally Potter’s Orlando, costume images from which can now be seen at the Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition Fashioning Masculinity.


dir: Sally Potter
with Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane, Quentin Crisp, Charlotte Valandrey

Costume Design: Sandy Powell

UK/Russia/France/Italy/Netherlands | 1992 | cert. PG

Based on Virgina Woolf’s book by the same title, Orlando explores the life through several centuries of Orlando, a young man in the Elizabethan court who is ordered by the Queen herself not to grow old. Since then he lives struggling to find love and his place in the world, switching gender as he finds appropriate.

The film won Powell her first Best Costume Design Academy Award nomination.


Sandy Powell studied at London’s Central School of Art and began her career in film collaborating with Derek Jarman on Caravaggio.

She is the winner of three Academy Awards for her designs on The Young Victoria for Jean-Marc Vallée, The Aviator for Martin Scorsese and Shakespeare in Love for John Madden. Sandy Powell has twelve other nominations for features including Carol, Cinderella, Hugo, Mrs Henderson Presents, Gangs of New York, The Wings of the Dove, Orlando and The Irishman.

She has received three BAFTA Awards for Yorgos Lanthimos’s The Favourite, The Young Victoria and Todd Haynes’s Velvet Goldmine, and has thirteen other nominations. For The Favourite and Rob Marshall’s Mary Poppins Returns, Sandy received Academy Award nominations, a Costume Designers Guild Award and nomination, BIFA and two Critics’ Choice nominations.

Recent credits include The Glorias for director Julie Taymor and Oliver Hermanus’s Living. She is currently in principle photography on her next project, Disney’s Snow White. In 2010, Sandy was given the Costume Designers Guild Career Achievement Award, and in 2020 she was awarded the London Film Critics’ Circle Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film.

In 2011, Sandy was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her services to the film industry.


Keith Lodwick is a curator, writer, and historian. He is the former Curator of Theatre and Screen Arts at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. At the V&A, Keith curated Vivien Leigh: Public Faces, Private Lives and was the V&A assistant curator for the major exhibition Hollywood Costume, one of the most successful exhibitions in the museum’s history. Keith has contributed to a wide range of publications including Oliver Messel: In the Theatre of Design, Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty and Shoe Reels: The History and Philosophy of Footwear in Film.

Special thanks to:

John Smedley
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