Inside the Magical Warehouse Where Oscar-Winning Costumes Are Born
What do the cast of Downton Abbey, Mel Gibson’s William Wallace, and Star Wars’ Obi Wan Kenobi have in common? They all owe iconic on-screen style moment to Angels Costumes, the world’s longest-established supplier of film and TV costumes in the world. In fact, it predates both media.
Since its founding in 1840, the U.K.-based, family-owned and -operated supplier has provided the costumes for some of the most beloved and praised productions, such as The Great Gatsby (both the 1974 and 2014 versions) and Casablanca. Most recently, they provided Jon Snow's memorable Night's Watch black fur coat on HBO's Games of Thrones.
This year’s Oscar nominees Leonardo DiCaprio (for best actor) and Cate Blanchett (for best actress) have both worn costumes from Angels. each did so in the 2004 film, The Aviator, as well as DiCaprio in 2014’s Gatsby and during his star-making performance in the 1997 Academy Award-winner Titanic. Blanchett also wore garb provided by Angels in her memorable performance as Queen Elizabeth I in 2008's Elizabeth. In fact, according to Tim Angel, Angels's chief executive officer, Blanchett cites the costumes she wore in these roles as the main reason she has found such success in them.
The company, which has thus far provided costumes for a total of 36 Oscar-winning films, houses its vast stock (more than 1 million pieces that would run 8.5 miles if the clothing racks were placed end-to-end) in a climate-controlled warehouse in northwest London. In 2015, Angels celebrated its 175th anniversary with a best costume design win for The Grand Budapest Hotel.