Harry Potter: Behind the Seams

Judianna Makovsky, Lindy Hemming and Jany Temime. Who are the people behind these names, and what do they mean to the Harry Potter movie world? These happen to be the women responsible for designing the costumes for the magical film franchise.

As I’ve previously mentioned: Costuming is a silent, visual and psychological force when you’re watching something, be it in a movie, a television show or on stage at a theatre. Along with the other technical aspects of a production, costuming is a necessary, integral part of a person’s viewing experience, as it helps do things like set the time period, location and mood of whatever it is you’re watching. Costumes can also give the viewer clues as to who the characters are, what their occupations may be, and can even influence how we feel toward certain characters, depending upon color, fabric and garment choices.

Thus, in order to make a macrocosm like the Harry Potter universe believable, the details separating muggles from magical beings can be seen in just about everything, including how the costume designers decided to dress all of those lovable, irascible, heroic, and/or contentious characters.


Note: I’m not going to get into analyzing how I visualized what the characters were wearing in J.K. Rowling’s engaging book series, as opposed to how the designers’ visions were realized on screen. Simply put, it’s not easy to make a book into a movie and to mimic what every readers’, or even the writer’s, imaginations created. Does everything look how I thought it would? No, of course not. But the designers and the wardrobe team behind them accomplished their jobs in helping to create the amazing world we saw on screen!

The film Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was designed by Judianna Makovsky, whose design credits also include, but are by no means limited to, the following films that you may or may not heard of: Pleasantville, Practical Magic, The Hunger Games and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (she is credited with the upcoming Captain America film, according to IMDb, as well).

Judianna Makovsky's design for Dumbledore. Source.
Judianna Makovsky’s design for Dumbledore. Source.

For her notable design work, Ms. Makovsky has been nominated for numerous awards, including a BAFTA for Best Costume Design (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), and the Oscar for the same category (Seabiscuit, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and Pleasantville). She has also won a number of awards from the Costume Designers Guild— the CDG. Among them, a Career Achievement award, and awards for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Pleasantville.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets introduced Welsh designer Lindy Hemming to the Potterverse. Ms. Hemming has another little film franchise under her belt (Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy), in addition to other well-known films like Four Weddings and a Funeral and several James Bond films from the 1990s (GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is not Enough, Die Another Day) and Casino Royale.

Costumes for Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Source.
Costumes for Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Source.

For her costume design in Topsy-Turvy, —a musical about the prickly period of time before longtime collaborators Gilbert and Sullivan created their well-known show The Mikado — Ms. Hemming won an Oscar for Best Costume Design. She has also won or been nominated for a number of other awards, including BAFTAs and CDGs.

The costume designer responsible for the films starting with Harry Potter and the Prison of Azkaban through the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was Jany Temime, who can be seen in an interview with Evanna Lynch from the Half-Blood Prince DVD extras (you can also watch it on YouTube).

Ms. Temime and Deatheaters, by Levon Biss.
Ms. Temime and Deatheaters, by Levon Biss.

The French designer has loads of costuming credits and a number of award nominations and wins to her name, including nods from the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films for her work on all of the Harry Potter films she worked on, and wins from the CDG for her work on Skyfall and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2. Addtionally, if you’ve watched films such as Children of Men or In Bruges, you’ve also seen her design work.



Harry Potter Wiki

What’s YOUR take on the costumes of the Harry Potter movie series? What did you love or wish you had in your closet this very moment? Please feel free to let us know in the comments below!


2 thoughts on “Harry Potter: Behind the Seams

  1. One thing that disappointed me as the film series went on, was a loss of the whimsical, older styles we saw amongst the wizarding community in the first 2 films. I loved the colours, the robes and the largely 19th century styles that were seen in the early adaptations. I felt the wizarding world lost a LOT of it’s visual interest and otherness as the costumes started to fall more in line with the muggle world styles. The one that bugged me the most was the change to Mr. Filch’s costume.

    1. The overall design and temperature of the films did change as the series progressed! Many times, the resultant costume design (and any design!) of any given project is a result of the collaboration between the creative team and the director. There was definitely a move away from the more flamboyant, to a more subdued feeling, which may have been a result of the films’ content, but also due to the revolving door of directors and designers who work on the films. Which I don’t necessarily think is a bad thing, or that it is indicative of poor choices or design, it’s simply the nature of a humungous undertaking such that HP was!

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