WOMAN CRUSH WEDNESDAY: Lindy Hemming
GodenEye. Four Weddings and a Funeral. Topsy Turvy. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Tombraider. Batman Begins. Casino Royale. The Dark Knight. And now, add Wonder Woman to her list of credentials. It's safe to say that Lindy Hemming has certainly made a name for herself in not only theatre costume design, but in some of the biggest blockbusters as well.
Hemming was born in Wales in 1948 and is the oldest of five children. Her family, though not weathy, was creative. Her father worked various sales positions by day and was a very gifted woodcarver by night. Her mother, by trade a teacher, also was very crafty and would convert Hemming's hand-me-downs into newer looking clothing.
Even at the young age of 7 or 8 years old, Hemming was already fascinated with how people looked and what they wore, enjoying trips to the market places and village shops. But her fascination went beyond simply what the people of her town were wearing--she was genuinely interested in the people themselves. While observing, she'd ask herself things like where they came from, what they did, who they could be, and why did they dress the way that they did--what their choice in clothing and accessories were saying about them. It is probably this trait of looking past the outfit or accessory and looking at and questioning what it says about the individual that has really assisted her in such a dazzling costume design resume.
Before attending The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Hemming trained as an orthopedic nurse (her father had insisted on a "worthwhile" job). But leave it to Hemming to make the most of it. She enjoyed listening, observing, and working closely with patients--skills that she would constantly be using in the future. After studying at RADA for three years, she had found her passion for costume design. She worked for many years designing for theatre, including the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company (at one time she had five shows playing in London at once) before making lasing professional relationships with several directors and eventually focusing on film costume design. As listed above, she's designed for the James Bond series, Tomb Raider series, a Harry Potter movie, The Clash of the Titans and won an Academy Award for designs in Topsy Turvy.
Hemming believes that having a genuine interest in people is key to wonderful costume design. Much thought goes into all designs, especially those of contemporary films (though she believes costume designers of contemporary films often do not receive their due credit). When working on films, Hemming spends much time not only doing her own research, inspiration hunting, and planning, but has to work closely with the director, actors, and Production Designer, all of which her interest in people first, listening, and observing have served her very well. All the coordination is important to make sure the costumes align with the vision of the director, the personality of the actor, and the overall palette of the production crew.
Though Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman costume was already created (she first appeared in Batman v Superman), it was up to Hemming to create the rest of the rest of the pieces for the new film, including the back story of the Amazons in their mythical island home of Themyscira. Hemming was tasked with creating costumes spanning dates from thousands of years ago, to the historic clothing of 1918, all the while leading up the Wonder Woman outfit established in Batman v Superman. Though quite the undertaking, Hemming enjoyed recreating the awesome character and building off the comics and the 1970's television series. Even though she's worked on the Batman series, this was a fun challenge because it hadn't been recreated many times over like the Dark Knight has.
Also, working with superhero films allows even more creativity with utilizing materials that most designers don't use everyday, including metals, plastics, and molds to conform to the actors' bodies.
Because her love and interest in people first, Hemming has made a wonderful career of costume design by not only designing stand-alone pieces, but by truly working with the cast and crew, learning, listening, and caring, to create works of art for the screen.