The costume designer Sandy Powell commissioned Charles and Patricia Lester to make a number of costumes for this classic film. Sandy Powell was nominated for an Oscar for her costume design work for the film. However the Oscar was awarded for the film Titanic.

Suzy Menkes wrote for the Herald Tribune:
“The liquid velvets and shimmering silk pleats worn by Helena Bonham Carter captured in their ever-changing surfaces the elusive elliptical spirit of the movie based on Henry James’s novel. Yet the outfits worn by the main characters and by supporting actors, such as Charlotte Rampling, were not specially designed. Sandy Powell, the film’s costume designer, approached Patricia and Charles Lester – and just picked pieces from their current collection.

Known for their exceptional fabrics and rich Renaissance colors, created from a secret formula similar to the work done by Mariano Fortuny in Venice at the turn of the century, the Lesters have carved out a unique place in international fashion. Their fluid kimono coats and neoclassical pleated dresses, all hand-dyed or printed in their Welsh workshops, are worn by women of independent spirit and artistic bent who want modern evening clothes that are outside the fashion loop.

It is their combined sense of history and modernity that made the clothes appropriate to the movie, whose dates were moved from 19th to 20th century to take in the first stirrings of the rebellious unconventional modern woman. The loose easy drapes were in symbolic contrast to the structured and stuffy clothes of the Victorian and Edwardian eras.

‘Our clothes have an easy, timeless aesthetic that fits in – we could do Roman clothes quite easily,’ says Lester, who also contributed textiles to Kenneth Branagh’s 19th century update of “Hamlet” and will costume Mascagni’s opera “Iris” at Lincoln Center in New York in November.”