MCM: Stephen Miles


I thought I’d shake things up a bit for today’s Man Candy Monday, and focus on some behind the scenes work done by Stephen Miles. I can’t remember when it was that I realized his name kept coming up in relation to all these films I loved, but at some point I sat down and actually listed them all out. He’s worked either as the principle designer or assistant designer (frequently with James AchesonJenny Beavan, and Phyllis Dalton, to name a few) on many of our favorite costume flicks over the years. In all likelihood, he’s probably one of the people most directly responsible for the physical realization of the designs than the actual designers are. Really, though, it’s just a good excuse to revisit some of our favorite films over the years, since Miles’ name turns up over and over in the credits on these flicks.


Time Bandits (1981)

Yeah, I know, it’s a bit more of a fantasy than strictly historical, but the historical costumes were typically on point when they needed to be.


The Rainbow (1989)

I don’t know why, I’m a little surprised that we haven’t covered this flick yet.


Henry V (1989)

Such an excellent film, with costume design by Phyllis Dalton. Stephen Miles was the assistant designer.


Where Angels Fear to Tread (1991)

You need only say “Merchant Ivory” and you know the costumes are going to be choice. Strangely, we haven’t yet put a full review in it despite staring Helen Mirren, Helena Bonham Carter, Judy Davis, and Rupert Graves.


Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

1993 Much Ado About Nothing

Another collab with Phyllis Dalton, this film is chock full of beautiful people and witty banter, surrounded by amazing Tuscan scenery.


The Madness of King George (1994)

1994 The Madness of King George

The costumes in this film are superb and hold up even 25 years later.


Ever After (1998)

Angelica Huston & Megan Dodds in "Ever After" (1998).

One of my top favorite cozy films with fabulous costumes. Plus, it co-stars Anjelica Huston, which should be enough reasons for anyone to just watch and enjoy.


The Last September (1999)


“Beautiful and sad” is basically the take away. Which is probably why none of us have rushed out to review it, aside from the short review Kendra did ages ago. Miles assisted costume designer John Bright on this film.


Onegin (1999)

Starring Liv Tyler and Ralph Fiennes, the costume designs (by John Bright) are amazing. The only reason I can think of that we haven’t done a full review yet is, once again, it’s depressing AF.


Anna and the King (1999)

Anna and the King (1999)

I will cop to loving this film when it came out, but over the years I’ve gotten more and more uncomfortable when looking at the over all theme (white lady comes to foreign land and teaches non-white people important life lessons), the history of the story itself (at best it was significantly embellished, at worst totally made up), the actual issues that the filmmaker went through to get the film made (pissing off the entire country of Thailand in the process), and the “well, he’s Chinese so that’s sort of like he’s Thai, right?” casting of Chow Yun-Fat (who I adore in general, don’t get me wrong). At least the costumes are gorgeous, right?


Gosford Park (2001)

2001 Gosford Park

We need to do a full review of this film, dammit. I’m actually making a note to watch it in the next week, because the costumes are SO good, and the film is just bloody fantastic on top of it all.


Possession (2002)

Fabulous hair, fabulous cast, costumes designed by Jenny Beavan … but in the end, the book is better.


Byron (2003)

2003 Byron

Excellent example of Regency costuming that isn’t just little white dresses. Stephen Miles is uncredited as costume assistant on the film, with costumes designed by Jenny Beavan.


Timeline (2003)

Timeline (2003)

Time traveling movies are just never that great at the end of the day.


Alexander (2004)

I’ve only ever watched the last 30 minutes of this film, and I will say, I was impressed with the costumes. It’s mostly repurposed saris, but it’s also really pretty. Stephen Miles assisted Jenny Beavan on this film.


Casanova (2005)

Let’s be real clear here. There’s very little I won’t watch Heath Ledger in.


The Black Dahlia (2006)

The Black Dahlia (2006)

We haven’t gotten around to doing a dedicated review for this film yet, but the costumes I’ve seen look amazing, which, duh, it’s Jenny Beavan again.


Amazing Grace (2006)

2006 Amazing Grace

We had some problems with this film. But they weren’t costume related.


The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

2008 The Other Boleyn Girl

Hey, remember when we had a podcast? Yeah, that was a whole thing once. Overall, we weren’t thrilled with the costumes despite a handful of good things to point out, like this costume on Princess Mary.


Defiance (2008)

Generally, we don’t cover World War II movies because, well, there’s a bunch of reasons why. Go read the post about it. But this film has great costumes by Jenny Beavan, and stars Daniel Craig which is reason enough to watch any film, really.


Sherlock Holmes (2009)

I enjoyed the heck out of this movie. Really, that’s all there is to it.


Cranford (2007-2010)

Cranford (2007-2010)

Costume perfection for the 1840s, with designs by… you guessed it, Jenny Beavan. Stephen Miles is listed as a principle costume maker for the series.




9 Responses

  1. SocietyNineteen

    Okay, I totally don’t want to be that person who says HEY THERE, DO MORE WORK ON THIS THING YOU ALREADY DO TONS OF WORK ON FOR LIKE NO MONEY AT ALL! That said, it would be wonderful to see you post about Gosford Park some day. I agree that the film is so damn good as I recall the use of garments, hair, etc. to establish character, particularly of course above stairs but even in some downstairs moments, is so interesting.

  2. M.E. Lawrence

    Having a complicated week (trying to get to England to see my daughter for the first time in two years–shaking with nerves and anticipation), but had to briefly say what a great thread this is. Where would we be without beautiful and authentic things? Thanks.

  3. SarahH

    The only thing to watch in Alexander is the scene where Alexander and his captains are being entertained by the maidens of some Persian(?) mountain kingdom who are doing an AMAY-ZING whirling dervishy type dance with incredible red and blingy costumes and… ENTER Roxanne (Rosario Dawson).

    (well, also some might get a thrill out of Angelina Jolie vamping the hell out her role as the Macedonian Queen Olympias, who has an access none of the others in Phillip’s court have, has great style and a thing for snakes).

    • SarahH

      who has an access none of the others in Phillip’s court have

      an accent* none of the others…

  4. Bea

    are you sure you can cover The Rainbow?
    I know there’s a twitch factor re: Paul McGann among the Frockery….

  5. Cheryl from Maryland

    Gosford Park was completely ruined for me because I know the dates of historic events and the film itself has a specific date. The costumes, the acting, everything didn’t overcome my WTF reaction when I started composing a timeline.

  6. hsc

    the “well, he’s Chinese so that’s sort of like he’s Thai, right?” casting of Chow Yun-Fat

    Yeah, they really should’ve cast a Thai actor.

    That said, it should be remembered that Chow Yun-Fat was a HUGE star in HK films and had a following in the U.S. as a result of those films turning up on video– and he was being groomed for “breakout” U.S. stardom at that point.

    This was more an attempt to showcase him in something other than an action film, rather than “Thai, Chinese– whatever.”

    Absolutely gorgeous costumes in this post, though.

  7. Lily Lotus Rose

    Whoa!! I never heard of Stephen Miles–but I LOVE all the films on this list that I’ve seen–and I’m salivating over the pics from the ones I haven’t. Truly talented, indeed. Now, I’m off to turn that pic of Paul McGann into a life-sized poster!!