With her fiery red pixie cut, it’s hard to miss Oscar-nominated costume designer Sandy Powell. That was the case on Monday night when we spotted her at The Hollywood Reporter‘s 4th annual Nominees Night at Spago, where she was surrounded by fellow Oscar noms including fellow costume designer Paco Delgado (The Danish Girl), Alicia Vikander, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Sylvester Stallone.
Nominated for two Oscars for her work in Carol and Cinderella, Powell found out about her nominations through her husband. “I was at home, and my husband was looking it up online. I think I was upstairs and he yelled out, ‘You’ve got two!’ ” said Powell, clad in a printastic Roksanda Ilincic dress and metallic Simone Rocha kicks.
While both films showcase superb costume design, Powell said she approached each the way she normally does, by talking to the director, reading the script and doing her research. “But where Carol and Cinderella are completely different is one is based in reality — Carol was based in a real world in reality — and Cinderella is fantasy. It’s kind of loosely based in the 19th century, but not in a real world particularly, and I could just let my imagination run wild. Whereas with Carol I was trying to be specifically accurate in the period.”
It’s no surprise that Powell can design beautiful clothes, so when it comes to dressing for the Oscars, she approaches film the way she does the red carpet — she shops for the textile.
“I shop for the fabric. I look at some images for some ideas, and the most important thing for me is the fabric, as always,” said the English designer, who’s already bought the material. “For all the films I do where I make the costumes, fabric is the first thing — I find that the fabric inspires me.”
Asked if she’d offer any hints on her Oscars look, she simply said, “No.” Here’s to seeing what Powell wears for the Feb. 28 ceremony.
The Hollywood Reporter’s Nominees Night was sponsored by American Airlines, Neiman Marcus, Roberto Coin and Fiji Water.