Skip to main content
Janet Patterson Costume Designer The Piano Feature
  • Vale Janet Patterson


    Posted on: 28/10/2016

    Four-time Oscar nominee and acclaimed costume designer Janet Patterson has sadly passed.

    A long-time collaborator of Jane Campion and Gillian Armstrong, Patterson was known for her fine, hand-crafted detail and ability to convey character, and was particularly famed for her period costumes.

    Most recently Patterson worked on Thomas Vinterberg’s Far From the Madding Crowd, but her work extends back three decades and includes celebrated films The Piano, The Portrait of a Lady, Bright Star and Oscar and Lucinda, all four of which she was nominated for an Academy Award. She also won the AFI Award for Best Costume for The Piano, Oscar and Lucinda and Bright Star. Her work on The Piano also gained her a BAFTA.

    The costume that she designed for Fanny Brawne (Abbie Cornish) in Bright Star was one of the highlights of our Hollywood Costume exhibition. In the video below, producer Jan Chapman discusses Patterson’s approach to designing the costume and its importance in a pivotal scene in the film. Patterson herself explains using the landscape to inform her design, as well as wanting the characters to look like “a pair of matching bookends”.  

    "It was a privilege to present Janet Patterson’s work as part of Hollywood Costume and to interview her about her creative process and collaborations with Jane Campion and Jan Chapman. Janet was one of the most important costume designers of our time, whose work was highly regarded by her peers and the film industry," said Senior Curator Sarah Tutton.

    Nicole Kidman, star of Portrait of a Lady, also paid tribute to Patterson, saying "she's not here anymore, but she lives on through those beautiful clothes and images."

    Patterson made an immense contribution to screen culture the world over and will be sorely missed.

    Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this time.



    comments powered by Disqus