Designer and Creator Gill Linley
I have many years experience creating stunning period costumes for stage and screen.
I trained originally in fashion, inspired by my hero Yves St. Laurent and hours leafing through the pages of Vogue. From an early age I was fascinated by fashion, but along the way this grew into a real passion for period costume. On leaving college, slightly disillusioned with the thought of actually working in the fashion industry I went for an interview with the Wardrobe Manager of Sadlers Well’s Opera which was just about to move from Islington to the London Coliseum and be re named English National Opera.
I was offered a job as a second assistant in the Ladies Cutting Department. When I left 17 years later I held the post ‘Head of Ladies Cutting’.
My time working with this major opera company was exciting and invaluable. I was drawn willingly into the magical world of opera. I had a truly wonderful job. I was lucky to work with some top designers, bringing their designs to life. These designs could be anything from a intricately drawn costume with full period detail or an idea someone had and hurriedly scribbled down on a scrap of paper. A new production would always fill me with expectation, hoping that it would be a ‘traditional’ production with wonderful costumes and not a ghastly ‘modern’ version. It would be quite usual for me to be working on beautiful 18th century costumes for one opera while fitting drab 1940’s dresses for another on chorus ladies who were just as uninspired as me! The whole process of creating costumes for a production was fascinating to me. From the early stages of meeting and talking with a designer, cutting the costume….fittings….then first stage rehearsal through to the first night. I revelled in the creativity of my work and fell totally under the spell of opera.
After the birth of my son Matthew, I decided to become a ‘freelance’ Theatrical Costumier. I had a workshop at home and could spread my wings and work in other areas of entertainment. I worked on commissions from Cosprop, Angels,The Royal National Theatre, The Royal Opera House, The Globe Theatre and English National Opera. From that time to present day I have worked extensively in Film, Television, Theatre and Opera. Here are just a few examples of productions I have worked on…
Therese Raquin, South Pacific and Jerry Springer the Opera for the Royal National Theatre. Richard II, Phantom of the Opera, The Beautiful Game, Hard Times, Tale of Two Cities, Pygmalian, Romeo and Juliet for Jane MacDonald, An Ideal Husband, Lady Windemere’s Fan, Summer Holiday, Calamity Jane, Oklahoma. An Absolute Turkey for Felicity Kendal, The Seagul for Sheila Gish, Charlie’s Aunt for Nyree Dawn Porter. Henry V and The Maids Tragedy for The Globe Theatre. Dangerous Liasons for Amelia Fox, Singing in the Rain.
Phantom of the Opera, Elizabeth for Cate Blanchett, From Hell for Heather Graham, The House of the Spirits for Winona Ryder, Jane Eyre, Emma for Gwyneth Paltrow. The Man Who Cried, Sense and Sensibility, the Count of Monte Cristo.
Oliver Twist for Kiera Knightly, David Copperfield for Dame Maggie Smith, Heroes and Villians for Jennifer Saunders, A Respectable Trade for Jenny Agutter, Vanity Fair. The Woodlanders for Emily Woof, Perfect Match for Saskia Reeves.
Faust and Katya Kabanova for The Royal Opera House. The Marriage of Figaro, Rosenkavalier, Kismet, Turn of the Screw and La Traviata for English National Opera.
I have taught corsetry on the Theatre Course at the London College of Fashion and modern pattern cutting at Thanet College.
During my career as a Theatrical Costumier, I have constantly been approached to make wedding dresses, for discerning brides who require something a little different. I like to work with colour and texture. My inspiration for my work comes from art, historical costume and textiles