Bringing the Potter films to life involved lots of behind the scenes work, as I’m sure you will be aware. Jany Temime was a costume designer for the Potter films, from Prisoner of Azkaban onward. Jany has also worked on the recent Bond films and Gravity. In a recent interview, she discussed creating costumes for characters and gave advice for aspiring costume designers.
Jany explained how she develops costumes after receiving a script:
[I] talk to the director and then start designing character by character. You start with the main part, so I start with Bond, for example. When he is dressed you then dress the people around him accordingly – in colours or shapes that match or compliment what he is wearing.
Further, she explains how she chooses to dress a character according to their personality:
A costume is what helps an actor to become a character. The research and the creative process is the same – whether the film is modern or historical, fantastical or realistic. It doesn’t matter if they are living in the 16th century or nowadays – what’s important is whether they’re bad or good, intelligent or stupid, poor or rich.
You have a social side to it, a dramatic side, and also an aesthetic side. You don’t dress the same when you go to get a job or when you go to meet your mother-in-law. Everybody, via clothes, makes an impact. Clothes can be light or dark, open, strict, neutral. All those little pieces create the character.
Jany also offers advice for any aspiring costume designers:
We are a service department. It’s not about making beautiful costumes; it’s about an actor being right in his part. You have to respect and understand the part. A good costume designer is someone who serves the script and helps the director to express what they want to say. That’s what our job is about.
As well as revealing how she develops and dresses a character, Jany also commented on the recent new Potter story and how she would dress the grown up Harry:
I don’t know. I think he would still be an urban boy. [...] Harry is always a boy. Actually, we did a scene in the end of Harry Potter where we projected into the future. I think his clothes would be tasteful but relaxed and bohemian. Good taste but not obsessed by fashion.
Make sure you read the full interview here – if you’re interested in any elements of costume design (or even if you’re not) it’s a fascinating read. Don’t forget to watch the interview that MuggleNet did with Jany at the grand opening of the Studio Tour two years ago!
Did you enjoy reading the interview? Does knowing how a character’s costume is carefully chosen enhance your appreciation of the films? How would you dress a grown up Harry? Let us know your thoughts!