Oscar winner Jenny Beaven perfectly explains collecting award dressed as ‘bag lady’
The costume superstar who was the subject of controversy for picking up an Academy Award wearing a biker jacket and flat shoes has spoken out.
Jenny Beaven gave her first interview since the controversy, which even saw Stephen Fry, her longtime friend, leave Twitter after he jokingly called her a “bag lady” at the event.
Mr Fry deleted his social media accounts last month after he got flak for comparing Mad Max costume designer Jenny Beavan to a “bag lady” as she picked up a BAFTA.
The pair said they are close friends, but after complaints from Twitter users that his comments were “sexist”, Fry slammed “nasty” criticism and quit the platform.
Of the social media storm her outfit created, Beaven said: “I was blissfully unaware. After the award you go backstage, through what’s called the Winner’s Walk.” By the time she reached her seat again vines, tweets and posts had been created.
One Vine of her collecting the award have been viewed over 51 million times.
Ms Beaven collected the award, for designing the costumes for the reboot of Mad Max, wearing a pleather M&S jacket, black jeans, and flat shoes.
“The thing that lots of people are missing,” she tells the Guardian, “is that I was wearing a costume. A homage to Mad Max. I look ridiculous in frocks. I can’t wear heels – my back goes out and my feet get terribly sore. And besides, I have no interest in clothes other than what they tell me about a person. I am a storyteller – I’m not interested in fashion. Other than people like Alexander McQueen. The rest of it is just so much Cinderella stuff.”
She added: “I don’t mean that as an insult to Cinderella. It’s just – fashion like that is just telling one story. Catwalk models: not only do they all walk the same way, they all look identical. It’s only the clothes that change. Whereas when I’m researching something, I go and sit in a relevant café and just watch people, which is completely fascinating. For myself, I just wear black and white. I want to be in the background.”
Already an Oscar and Bafta winner, she said “it was a shock” to be announced as the winner for Mad Max: Fury Road.
She has also designed costumes for The King’s Speech, Sense and Sensibility and Gosford Park.
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Despite being held up as a feminist icon after the awards, Beaven says she is “a feminist with a small ‘f’,”, but “not willing to become a band leader”.
In the interview, she does express an interest in Santi Toksvig’s Women’s Equality Party.
The broadcaster this week told PinkNews she was “enraged” that Pride in London had not invited the party’s London Mayor candidate to be part of a hustings tomorrow evening, and “offensive” that UKIP had been invited.