THE Oscars malfunction this year in announcing the wrong winner in the Best Picture category created headlines and embarrassment.
But for Joe Mitchell, 41, an event administrator for IACF, the show was a proud moment.
He had embroidered the beaded dress worn in the speakeasy scene by Tina Goldstein, played by Katherine Waterston in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, for which American Colleen Atwood won an Oscar this year for her costume design.
It was a first-ever Academy Award win for a Harry Potter film (albeit a spin-off) and Atwood’s fourth Oscar success.
Talking to ATG, Mitchell said: “The work was on a chemically pleated silk mousseline in black, from a Swiss maker, and is protected by the non-disclosure agreement, though all the design work was by Mrs Atwood.
“It took 200 hours of work at breakneck speed as I had just eight days to complete it. The hardest thing was keeping it secret and not freaking out when I got to meet the people involved in the film.” He added modestly about his skills: “I just kind of do what grannies do.”
Mitchell has always been interested in haute couture and developed his beading embroidery talents from a boy to a level at which his work has been used by Paris fashion house Schiaparelli’s first haute couture collection in 2015.
Items have also featured in Vogue. Film commissions have followed. Fantastic Beasts… is set in 1926 New York, and speaking after her Oscar win, Atwood said she enjoyed approaching 1920s fashion with a wizarding twist.
“I based the costumes heavily on a lot of period research and then, within the world of magic and magical people, I used the period styles but did little tweaks to it.”
Mitchell has worked on several famous films and has had his work bought by celebrities and supermodels whose names, of course, he cannot disclose.
Do you have a similar story of skill and achivement to tell? Email Joan Porter at firstname.lastname@example.org