Sandy Powell’s tie troubles on Wolf of Wall Street

Sandy Powell's tie troubles on Wolf of Wall Street
Featuring: Sandy Powell
Credit: FayesVision/

Triple Oscar-winner Sandy Powell had to get to grips with neckties when she worked on Wolf of Wall Street.

The costume designer has had a more illustrious career then many of the A-list stars she dresses on movie sets, working on films from the Oscar-winning Shakespeare in Love to Shutter Island. A lot of her costuming skills are needed on period films, but when she masterminded the outfits for Martin Scorsese’s 2013 hit Wolf of Wall Street, Sandy found herself relying on one simple garment

“The challenge of designing a film depicting a bunch of men all in suits is, how to make them different from each other and show their characters. Really the only way men in suits have to express themselves in with their choice of tie!” she laughed to Britain’s Marie Claire magazine.

“Leonardo DiCaprio’s character gets richer and richer throughout the ’80s and ’90s and like many nouveau riche people, his character chose to spend huge amounts of money on his wardrobe. All of his suits were bespoke made by tailors originally from Savile Row.”

The style couldn’t be further from another Leonardo/ Martin film Sandy was part of, Gangs of New York.

Scorsese’s 2002 movie, which also stars Cameron Diaz, Liam Neeson and Daniel Day Lewis, is set in 1860’s New York, and tells the story of the troubles faced by Irish immigrants of the time.

“Although this film is set in a real place and time, Martin Scorsese wanted the world to have a look of its own, so I was able to use a bit of artistic license whilst designing the costumes,” Sandy explained.

“The men’s clothing was pretty much accurate to the period but the women’s and particularly the gang girls were more stylised. I had all the girls in trousers underneath their skirts, which were shorter than normal for the period. I wanted them to look as if they had freedom of movement even though they still wore corsets to provide the correct silhouette.”

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