The Ten Commandments
It was not the first time that we had an urgent call from a costume designer when, out of the blue, there was a call from Tunisia from the costume designer Anne Hollowood. She was desperate – the set had been flooded and they were on a tight schedule and could she have some costumes for an epic film production of The Ten Commandments.
We were told that the one actress was Claire Bloom, but the name of the lead female actress was not allowed to be divulged. It turned out to be Padma Lakshmi who, at the time, was still married to Salman Rushdie.
Pleated silk dress in sky blue with crushed fine silk chiffon coat
The Ten Commandments Padma Lakshmi’s white dress and jewells crafted locally. Our hurried brief for the film was that they needed a number of dresses for the two main female characters – Padma Lakshmi playing the part of Princess Bithia and Claire Bloom as Rani. We were given a few colours that would work, but one that Padma Lakshmi specifically wanted was the blue colour of a Citreon 3cv – now it comes to something if you have to search all the car parks looking for a specific colour. However truly professional – we searched and not one Citreon in the car parks of Abergavenny or any colour at all. So as everything was needed in a great rush we decided that the blue we had would look stunning and that is what went off to Tunisia.
Dougray Scott as Moses
The Ten Commandments – Padma Lakshmi as Princess Bithia and Dougray Scott as Moses in his formal attire. Now as it happened a friend of ours in Canada got in touch, after the film had been completed, to say that they wanted to bid for the dresses and would I ‘please’ NOT bid against them. So we struck a deal, I decided to buy the outfit that Dougray Scott is wearing on condition that they sent me the jewells that came with the dress.
Claire Bloom as Rani
Claire Bloom as Rani and Padma Lakshmi as Princess Bithia in The Ten Commandments. Claire Bloom was the only one of the two actresses that I had actually heard of although two of the lead male characters were certainly better known – even to me. Claire’s dress in this scene was a soft golden brown with a fine chiffon coat worn over it.
Omar Sharif as Jethro
Omar Sharif as Jethro – with background of traditional Egyptian collage panels used in a trial set at the studios. We were preparing for a fashion show and exhibition at Rolls Mansion in Monmouth in aid of our favourite charity – the RNLI – more generally known as The Lifeboats. We managed to buy the complete outfit worn by Omar Sharif in the Ten Commandments from eBay – thanks to the alert sent to us fro our friend in Canada. This has also been used alongside some of our clothes at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.