Costumer Lindy Hemming worked extensively in British film, primarily in modern attire, but succeeded with entries into period designs as well. Her work ran the gamut from gritty realistic clothing for Mike Leigh films to the cartoon-like glamour of James Bond movies. Hemming attended the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) where she switched her concentration from stage management to design. Upon graduating from RADA, she began her work on the British stage, designing for fringe productions including those at the Open Space Theatre. More work followed, and soon Hemming was designing for West End productions and the famed Royal Shakespeare Company.
Hemming worked with Leigh on television productions including "Abigail's Room" and "Meantime," and would reteam with him for a number films beginning with the 1987 comedy short "The Short and Curlies," but not before she had already made important inroads in feature film. The designer made her big screen debut with Richard Eyre's modern day comedy "Loose Connections" (1983) and worked again with the director the following year on "Laughterhouse." Both showcased her ability to realistically recreate decidedly unglamorous working class wear, a talent that would be put to good use for years to come. Hemming did memorable work with 1985's "My Beautiful Laundrette," managing to evince economic and social status and political leanings through clothing worn by a hard working and ambitious immigrant community, a group of neo-Nazis living on the dole, and the two outsiders from each group who come together (Gordon Warnecke and Daniel Day-Lewis) while the 1950s-set "84 Charing Cross Road" (1986) proved her abilities with period garb of the recent past.
Teaming with Mike Leigh offered the designer an opportunity to enhance his films' overall themes through hyper-realistic and expository costuming. In "High Hopes" (1988) she authentically dressed three different stereotypes, the shiftless, happily impoverished hippies, the ambitious and materialistic middle-class and the cold and affected upper crust. For 1991's "Life Is Sweet," she continued to use her costuming to provide important back story. The differences between the primary characters, twin daughters played by Jane Horrocks and Claire Skinner, are obvious right away through their clothing. Hemming's versatility was exercised again with Leigh's "Naked," a much more stylized portrait than his previous efforts. 1999 saw her take on a rare period piece with Leigh's "Topsy-Turvy," a behind-the-scenes drama focused on the legendary 19th Century operetta team of Gilbert and Sullivan. Here she was given a doubly challenging task: providing the opulent stage costumes for the production of "The Mikado" as well as recreating daytime and evening wear of 1884 London. Hemming amiably rose to the challenge, designing appropriately proper Victorian garb for the off-stage scenes and bright, vibrant, Asian-influenced and then shockingly unconstructed gear for "The Mikado," an effort that garnered her first Academy Award nomination.
While Leigh was one of her more frequent collaborators, her work on other films has been no less essential. In 1990 Hemming costumed the drama "The Krays," a stylized account of the titular twins (played by Martin and Gary Kemp) who ran roughshod over London's East End in the 1950s and 1960s. The suits she put the two notorious would-be gangsters in were historically accurate and evocative, these brutal murderers dressed sharply, just like the proper gentlemen their overbearing yet permissive mother wanted them to be, but with sharp clean lines and oversized shoulders that underlined their terseness and power. More of her realistic and unobtrusive costuming could be seen in Peter Chelsom's "Hear My Song" (1991) and the same director's "Funny Bones" (1995). Chelsom's charming everyday characters were appropriately outfitted as such. The designer worked with screenwriter-director Mark Herman on both "Blame It on the Bellboy" (1991) and "Little Voice" (1998), creating an especially memorable wardrobe in the latter, outfitting Michael Caine and Brenda Blethyn's distasteful characters in perfectly tacky evening wear.
Hemming moved into more glamorous designing with Mike Newell's "Four Weddings and a Funeral" (1994), which offered her the opportunity to create a host of appropriate special occasion garments. She excelled with this unique project, designing formal clothing that was a good match with the characters' personalities: from the showy elegance of the acerbic Fiona (Kristin Scott Thomas), the carefree chic of American heartbreaker Carrie (Andie MacDowell) and the unorthodox style of the childlike Scarlett (Charlotte Coleman) to the rumpled charm of Charles (Hugh Grant), the enjoyably flamboyant attire of Gareth (Simon Callow) and the quietly unfashionable good natured nerdiness of Tom (James Fleet). "Four Weddings and a Funeral" helped introduce Hemming's work to US audiences, and the following year she landed the enviable task of designing costumes for the ever dashing James Bond in his latest over-the-top venture "GoldenEye." She followed up with strong showings in the subsequent Bond vehicles "Tomorrow Never Dies" (1997) and "The World Is Not Enough" (1999), outfitting Pierce Brosnan and a bevy of Bond beauties in the height of trendsetting techno glamour.
Costume-Wardrobe (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Designed costumes for the Mike Leigh comedy "Meantime" (aired on television in the United Kingdom)
Was costume designer for Richard Eyre's "Loose Connections"
Reteamed with Eyre on "Laughterhouse" and also costumed Bill Forsyth's "Comfort and Joy"
Costumed David Hare's "Wetherby" and Stephen Frears' "My Beautiful Laundrette"
Was costume designer for Charles Gormley's "Heavenly Pursuits" and handled costuming for the London set of "84 Charing Cross Road"
Was costume designer of Mike Leigh's short "The Short and Curlies"
Designed the costumes for Leigh's feature "High Hopes"
Was costume designer of the features "The Queen of Hearts" and "When the Whales Came"
Designed the costumes for Peter Medak's fact-based drama "The Krays"
Worked as costume designer on Peter Chelsom's "Hear My Song" and reteamed with Leigh on "Life Is Sweet"
Costumed Mark Herman's "Blame It on the Bellboy" and Stephen Gyllenhaal's "Waterland"
Was costume designer for Leigh's "Naked"
Costumed the cast of Mike Newell's "Four Weddings and a Funeral" and Barry Devlin's "All Things Bright and Beautiful"
Reteamed with director Chelsom as costume designer for his comedy "Funny Bones"
Was costume designer of Martin Campbell's James Bond vehicle "GoldenEye"
Was costume designer of Bob Rafelson's "Blood & Wine" and Anthony Hickox's "Prince Valiant" as well as Johnny Depp's directorial debut "The Brave"
Returned to Bond films, costuming Roger Spottiswoode's "Tomorrow Never Dies"
Was costume designer of Mark Herman's "Little Voice"
Costumed Mike Leigh's "Topsy-Turvy"; received Academy Award
Was costume designer for William Boyd's "The Trench"
Continued her work as James Bond costumer with Michael Apted's "The World Is Not Enough"