Oscar-winning costume designer Julie Harris, who helped define the swinging looks of the 1960s and ’70s London, died May 30 in London. She designed for James Bond films “Casino Royale” and “Live and Let Die” as well as the Beatles’ “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help.” She was 94 and had suffered a chest infection.
Harris (no relation to the late actress Julie Harris) won an Academy Award for her mod designs in the 1967 Julie Christie-Dirk Bogarde film “Darling.” Over a four-decade career, she also served as costume designer on “Goodbye Mr. Chips,” “Rollerball,” the 1979 “Dracula” with Laurence Olivier and “The Great Muppet Caper.”
After working on the two Beatles films, she said, “I must be one of the few people who can claim they have seen John, Paul, George and Ringo naked.”
The glamorous looks for 1968’s “Casino Royale” and 1973’s “Live and Let Die” helped define the James Bond style, and she also worked with Alfred Hitchcock on 1972’s “Frenzy.”
She conceived of the tight black turtleneck Roger Moore wore as Bond, and he tweeted “Saddened to hear the wonderful Julie Harris has died. She designed my wardrobe in Live And Let Die and was a really lovely lady.”
Jo Botting, the senior curator of fiction at the British Film Institute National Archive, who announced her death, said, “In a career that embraced more than 80 films and television productions, as well as several stage plays, Julie worked with some of the greatest international stars in the history of the cinema, and for some of its most legendary directors and producers. Her outstanding work was constantly nominated for awards. She was an amazing woman.”
Born March 26, 1921, in London, she studied art before joining the court dressmaker Nesta Neve. At the age of 19, she was injured in the bombing of the Café de Paris in Piccadilly, when 80 people were killed. Her first film as a solo designer was the 1947 “Holiday Camp,” and she went on to design for films including “Good Time Girl” and Jayne Mansfield starrer “The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw,” for which Mansfield was said to have arrived for her fitting wearing a mink coat with only underwear beneath it.
She also played a role in the notorious flap over actress Diana Dors and her mink bikini. The voluptuous actress requested that Harris design the “little furry panties” for the Venice Film Festival, and though Harris thought it vulgar, she supplied the creation for Dors to be photographed standing up in a gondola.
She was known for her ability to tactfully handle difficult stars such as Melina Mercouri, who objected to the high-waisted dresses planned for Joseph Losey’s “The Gypsy and the Gentleman.” Her last film was “A Perfect Hero” in 1991.
She is survived by her goddaughter, Serena Dilnot.