AS A costume designer Julie Harris was one of few people who could claim to have seen The Beatles naked when she worked with the Fab Four on A Hard Day’s Night and Help!Oscar-winning costume designer.
Then there was the time Jayne Mansfield turned up for a fitting for the film The Sheriff Of Fractured Jaw and brazenly dropped her fur coat to reveal she was wearing nothing but her underwear. And when Diana Dors wanted to make headlines at the 1955 Venice Film Festival, it was Harris’s job to design a mink bikini which she later confessed was actually made from rabbit fur.
For Harris, who won an Oscar in 1966 for the Julie Christie/Dirk Bogarde movie Darling and a Bafta the following year for her work on The Wrong Box starring Michael Caine, each job brought new and unexpected challenges. It was her costume design in Darling, in particular, which helped define the looks of the Swinging Sixties and introduce the fashions of the day to a US audience.
Born in London, she attended boarding school in Maidenhead before studying at Chelsea Art School and working for high-society dressmaker Nesta Neve.
There was the time Jayne Mansfield turned up for a fitting for the film The Sheriff Of Fractured Jaw and brazenly dropped her fur coat to reveal she was wearing nothing but her underwear.
After the Second World War she was taken on as a design assistant at Gainsborough, working with the studio’s top designer Elizabeth Haffenden, where she learnt the basics of film costume design. She earned her first solo credit on the 1947 film Holiday Camp.
After work on films such as A Hard Day’s Night and Darling in the 1960s, the following decade Harris worked on bigger budget movies, including Live And Let Die and The Slipper And The Rose.