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Jenny Beavan

Jenny Beavan

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Also Known As: Jenny Beaven Died:
Born: Cause of Death:
Birth Place: England, GB Profession: costume designer, actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Designer Jenny Beavan earned a reputation for detailed and historically accurate work with a host of Oscar nominations, many for her frequent collaborations on Merchant Ivory costume dramas. In this capacity, Beavan had as important a role as the actors, given the task of creating styles that were at once pleasing to the eye and appropriate for and evocative of the characters she was outfitting. After impressive work designing for theater and the opera, with credits including 1973's "Carmen" starring Placido Domingo, Beavan made her debut creating clothing for Peggy Ashcroft for a 1979 Merchant Ivory TV-movie "The Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures" and segued to the big screen assisting costumer Judy Moorcroft on the filmmakers' "The Europeans". In 1984 Beavan began her partnership with costume designer James Bright, an alliance that would lead to six Oscar nominations including one for their debut, the Merchant Ivory filming of Henry James' suffragist drama "The Bostonians". Two years later the designers would win an Academy Award for their follow-up, another Merchant Ivory film based on a literary work, E.M. Forster's "A Room With a View". Here Beavan added to the beautiful Florence-set...

Designer Jenny Beavan earned a reputation for detailed and historically accurate work with a host of Oscar nominations, many for her frequent collaborations on Merchant Ivory costume dramas. In this capacity, Beavan had as important a role as the actors, given the task of creating styles that were at once pleasing to the eye and appropriate for and evocative of the characters she was outfitting. After impressive work designing for theater and the opera, with credits including 1973's "Carmen" starring Placido Domingo, Beavan made her debut creating clothing for Peggy Ashcroft for a 1979 Merchant Ivory TV-movie "The Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures" and segued to the big screen assisting costumer Judy Moorcroft on the filmmakers' "The Europeans". In 1984 Beavan began her partnership with costume designer James Bright, an alliance that would lead to six Oscar nominations including one for their debut, the Merchant Ivory filming of Henry James' suffragist drama "The Bostonians". Two years later the designers would win an Academy Award for their follow-up, another Merchant Ivory film based on a literary work, E.M. Forster's "A Room With a View". Here Beavan added to the beautiful Florence-set production with genuine Victorian costumes, more constricting to illustrate uptight Charlotte Bartlett (Maggie Smith) and a looser silhouette for freer spirit George Emerson (Julian Sands).

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1973:
Got start designing a hit production of the opera "Carmen" starring Placido Domingo and Kiri Te Kanawa
:
Worked as a costume designer for the Welsh National Opera, the Ballet Rambert, the Nederlans Dans Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company
1979:
Began association with Ismail Merchant and James Ivory working on Peggy Ashcroft's costumes for the British TV movie "The Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie's Pictures"; also appeared in the film as a governess
1979:
Assisted costumer Judy Moorcroft on "The Europeans", her first feature credit for Merchant Ivory
1980:
Designed costumes for the Merchant Ivory production "Jane Austen in Manhattan"
1984:
First of nine films (to date) co-designing with James Bright, Merchant Ivory's "The Bostonians"; received first Oscar nomination
1986:
With Bright, designed the Oscar-winning costumes for Merchant Ivory's "A Room With a View"
1987:
Reteamed with Bright to design the costumes for "Maurice", her sixth Merchant Ivory film; garnered third Academy Award nomination
1988:
Marked her first non-Merchant-Ivory features with work alongside James Bright as costume designer for Piers Haggard's "A Summer Story" and Nicholas Meyer's "The Deceivers"
1990:
Along with James Bright, costumed the cast of Bob Rafelson's "Mountains of the Moon"
1990:
Created clothing for The Disney Channel movie "Back Home"
1991:
Collaborated with James Bright on the costume design for the snowbound adventure feature "White Fang"
1991:
Returned to solo costume designing with work on James Lapine's 19th Century comedy-drama "Impromptu"
1992:
Designed the costumes for Syd Macartney's Victorian era drama "The Bridge"
1992:
Reteamed with Bright and Merchant Ivory for "Howards End"; received fourth Academy Award nomination
1993:
Designed the costumes for the prewar Germany-set "Swing Kids"
1993:
Worked again with John Bright in Merchant-Ivory's "The Remains of the Day"; picked up fifth Oscar nod
1994:
Designed the costumes for Caroline Thompson's "Black Beauty"
1995:
With Bright, designed the costumes for "Jefferson in Paris", another Merchant Ivory effort and Ang Lee's "Sense and Sensibility", the latter earning the pair another Oscar nomination (her sixth)
1996:
Worked with director Franco Zeffirelli as costume designer of "Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre"
1997:
Designed the costumes for the 1924 French sequence of Adrian Lyne's "Lolita"
1997:
Picked up an Emmy for her period designs for TV miniseries "Jane Austen's Emma"
1997:
Costumed the cast of Philip Saville's "Metroland"; released theatrically in USA in 1999
1998:
Designed the ornate costumes for "Ever After", Andy Tennant's revisionist take on "Cinderella"
1998:
Reteamed with Zeffirelli as costumer for the directors 1930s Italy set drama "Tea With Mussolini
1999:
Earned seventh Academy Award nomination for her lavish costumes for Tennant's "Anna and the King"
2001:
Nominated for eighth Academy Award as costumer of Robert Altman's "Gosford Park"
2001:
Earned praise for costuming the Lindsay Duncan-Alan Rickman London stage revival of "Private Lives"; production transferred to Broadway in 2002
2002:
Created the costumes for "Possession", Neil LaBute's adaptation of the A.S. Byatt novel
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Education

Central School of Art and Design: - 1971

Notes

"I never do drawings, I dress people up and they enjoy that. Experience has taught me that what looks good on the hanger doesn't always look good on the body. And vice versa." --Jenny Beavan, quoted in "Swing Kids" presskit, 1993

Jenny Beavan on attending a screening of "Anna and the King": "Such previews are absolutely terrifying. All you're thinking is, 'That seam's not straight'; oh, no, we left a pin in; I wish I'd changed that color; I wish I'd dyed that fabric down." --quoted in Victoria's online arts roundtable, 1999

Beavan on costuming "Anna and the King": "For a costume designer, you don't get much better than 1860 Siam. Especially when there's enough money to outfit twenty-seven hundred extras." --quoted in Victoria's online arts roundtable feature, 1999

"Today people are measuring other films to what we [Merchant Ivory] have done, and that is a great credit to Jenny." -- Ismail Merchant on Beavan, the woman who put the "costume" in many of their costume dramas, quoted in People, March 6, 2000.

Beavan on costuming "Gosford Park", quoted in the film's press kit (2001): "We talked in detail about every element of the costumes, down to what underwear the maids would be wearing. Robert Altman loves this detail: he wanted everything to be incredibly real without looking stagey or phony. To that end, I did a great deal of research and looked at original clothes from the 1930s that we then remade. Whilst there was a lot of inspiration for the upstairs characters, there was less available for the servants. They were not greatly photographed at the time, but we did have some wonderfully written records, by Nancy Astor's maid Rosina Harrison and by Lady Troubridge."

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Ian Albery. Director. Works primarily in theater; separated in 1995.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Peter Beavan. Cellist. Died in 1996.
mother:
Molly Beavan. Violinist. Died in 1964.
daughter:
Caitlin Albery. Born c. 1985.

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