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Russell, Shirley (1935-2002)

Costume Designer

Main image of Russell, Shirley (1935-2002)

Shirley Russell (born Shirley Kingdon in London on 11 March 1935) was a highly regarded designer from the early '60s when she began work on her then-husband (1956-78) Ken Russell's feature debut, French Dressing (1963) and his TV biopics, including Song of Summer (1968).

She received Oscar and BAFTA nominations for her sartorial evocation of the '20s in Women in Love (d. Ken Russell, 1969), and further nominations for meticulous period designs for Agatha (UK/US, d. Michael Apted, 1978, Oscar and BAFTA nominations), and, for two wartime fashion reconstructions, won a BAFTA for Yanks (d. John Schlesinger, 1979) and received a further BAFTA nomination for Hope and Glory (d. John Boorman, 1987).

Maintaining her reputation for period work, she distinguished exactly between Saffron Burrows' '40s glamour and Kate Winslet's dowdiness in Enigma (UK/Germany/US, d. Apted, 2001), not to forget between nerdy Dougray Scott, all baggy tweeds, and Jeremy Northam's well-cut three-piecers. She was a major figure in her field.

Brian McFarlane, Encyclopedia of British Film

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Amelia and the Angel (1958)Amelia and the Angel (1958)

Early amateur short by Ken Russell that kick-started his career

Thumbnail image of Devils, The (1971)Devils, The (1971)

Ken Russell's controversial film about the political abuse of religious faith

Thumbnail image of Blood Red Roses (1986)Blood Red Roses (1986)

Fictional biography of a working-class Scottish woman

Thumbnail image of Dance of the Seven Veils (1970)Dance of the Seven Veils (1970)

Ken Russell's controversial caricature of the composer Richard Strauss

Thumbnail image of Song of Summer (1968)Song of Summer (1968)

Ken Russell's moving drama about the last years of the blind composer Delius

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Thumbnail image of Russell, Ken (1927-2011)Russell, Ken (1927-2011)

Director, Producer, Writer, Actor