A production designer working both in film and in fashion, Michael Howells is credited with realising some of the most spectacular and ambitious sets in either field. Closely aligned with many of the highest-profile practitioners in fashion, Howells has designed numerous sets for John Galliano’s Christian Dior and eponymous fashion shows; Howells has also realised catwalk presentations for Christian Lacroix and Alexander McQueen.
The only person I can think of who was comparable in their range, scope, vivacity and imagination was Cecil Beaton. But Michael is so much less of a bitch…
Creative relationships with photographers Mario Testino, Patrick Demarchelier and particularly a longstanding collaboration with Nick Knight, have seen Howells create sets for many of the major advertising campaigns, including those for Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.
Howells is equally acclaimed for his work in the performing arts. His career in film proudly displays production design for titles including ‘Victoria’, ‘The Game’, ‘Bright Young Things’ with Stephen Fry, ‘Shackleton’ with Charles Sturridge, ‘About Time Too’ and ‘Miss Julie’ with Mike Figgis, ‘An Ideal Husband’, ‘Emma’ starring Gwyneth Paltrow and ‘Nanny McPhee’ starring Emma Thompson.
Howells’ theatre design credits include MSM/DV8 Physical Theatre at The Royal Court, ‘Towards Poetry’ for The Royal Ballet, ‘Derdemon’ for the Statsoper, Berlin, ‘Julius Tomb’ for Mark Baldwin Company and ‘Constant Speed’ celebrating Einstein’s Centenary for the Rambert Ballet, 2005.
AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS
NOMINATED 2003 ‘SHACKLETON’ BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
BRITISH FILM DESIGNERS GUILD
NOMINATED 2017 ‘VICTORIA’ BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN BRITISH TV DRAMA
WINNER 2016 ‘VICTORIA’ BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN BRITISH TV DRAMA
BRITISH INDEPENDENT FILM AWARDS
NOMINATED, 2003 ‘BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS’ BEST TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT
ROYAL TELEVISION SOCIETY
WINNER 2017 ‘VICTORIA’ PROFESSIONAL EXCELLENCE; DRAMA AND COMEDY PRODUCTION
NOMINATED 2002 ‘SHACKLETON’ BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
NOMINATED 2002. ‘SHACKLE TON’ BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
BRITISH FASHION COUNCIL
WINNER 2007. ISABELLE BLOW AWARD FOR FASHION CREATOR OF THE YEAR
PRIX D’EXCELLENCE DE LA MODE, PARIS
WINNER 2007 SCENOGRAPHIE POUR JOHN GALLIANO
THE BRIT INSURANCE DESIGN AWARDS
NOMINATION. “HATS”, AN ANTHOLOGY BY STEPHEN JONES V&A MUSEUM
Howells’ exhibitions include Ferragamo’s Cinderella (1998) at the Florence Biennale, Hair at Somerset House 2016, and Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones’ exhibition at the V&A (2009). In 2007 Howells won the Prix d’Excellence de la Mode in Paris and the first Isabella Blow award for Fashion Creator of the Year from the British Fashion Council.