Being in charge of every single costume in a film may faze some – but not Lindy Hemmings, costume designer on Paddington. With an illustrious career spanning 40 years, with credits to her name including Four Weddings and a Funeral, Batman and Bond films, Lindy knew that the bear from Darkest Peru needed an iconic look for his adventures in Britain, as did the characters around him. We met Lindy to find out what it feels like to re-dress a British icon…
How did you feel about taking on such an iconic character?
I didn’t feel under pressure to ‘dress’ the bear to the preconceived idea of what people might think Paddington wears – the colours I chose for him weren’t in the books. But I did have to pretend they were his real clothes and that they had to have real life in them.
Tell us more about choosing Paddington’s famous red hat for the film…
I had to decide on one hat, one that would encompass his life before he arrives in London, a hat that is the motif that travels through the story and a hat that gets battered! I went for red because Paddington loves warm colours. When Paddington meets the family he is instantly drawn to Mrs Brown because she wears very colourful clothing. His relationship with Mr Brown is not as instantly warm; he’s an accountant who wears browns and greys but, as he becomes a warmer person throughout the film, his clothes start to reflect that, with more red incorporated into his costume.
What colours did you use to dress the villains in Paddington?
The baddies wear grey and green – Paddington doesn’t like green – and in some scenes the characters and extras wear drab grey clothes because when things go wrong, Paddington is upset and things are grey.
Where did you get your inspiration for the costumes in Paddington?
What was great about Nicole Kidman’s character was there were no rules governing it; so one costume was a bit Fifth Element, a bit Philippe Starck, while for another scene we created a faux python-skin catsuit! It’s always fun to design for a character that has a bit of, well, character! The mean neighbour, Mr Curry, is a sleazy man so creating his costumes was the most fun. I find inspiration everywhere. In one scene Mrs Brown wears a dress of African print, which I found in London’s East End; just wandering around you can find inspiration.