Antonio Castillo (costume designer)

Antonio del Castillo
Born Antonio Cánovas del Castillo de Rey
(1908-12-13)13 December 1908
Madrid, Spain
Died 13 May 1984(1984-05-13) (aged 75)
Madrid, Spain
Nationality Spanish
Occupation Costume designer
Years active 1936-1972

Don Antonio Canovas del Castillo de Rey (13 December 1908 – 13 May 1984[1]), known professionally as Antonio del Castillo, was a Spanish costume designer who won a Academy Award for the film Nicholas and Alexandra in the category Academy Award for Best Costume Design during the 1971 Academy Awards, that he won along with Yvonne Blake.[2]


Antonio Canovas del Castillo del Rey was born in 1908 in Madrid, reportedly to a noble Spanish family. He studied at the Colegio del Pilar in Madrid, at the University of Madrid and at El Sacro Monte in Granada. In 1936, at the onset of the Spanish Civil War, he left for Paris to embark on a diplomatic career. From 1941-49, he designed dresses, jewelry and hats for the fashion houses of Paquin and Robert Piguet. He also designed accessories for Coco Chanel.

Castillo, together with Pierre Balmain, Cristóbal Balenciaga, and Christian Dior, was considered one of the most promising of the new generation of Paris designers to emerge after World War II. In 1945, Elizabeth Arden persuaded him to join her salon in New York and he worked there till 1950. He produced collections based on natural shoulder lines and slim silhouettes, topped with samell hats. He was also in demand during the 40's as a costume designer for the New York Metropolitan Opera Company and for several Broadway shows.

In 1950, Castillo was invited by Jeanne Lanvin's daughter to design for her mother's firm in Paris, with hopes of relaunching the firm's name. In 1950 he joined the fashion house of Lanvin. Lanvin had died in 1946 and the salon needed someone to maintain its traditions. From 1950-62, the salon was known for elegant clothes, slender lines, long flowing skirts in rich fabrics, and elaborate embroideries. In 1962, Castillo left Lanvin and in 1964 opened his own house in Paris. He continued to create elegant clothes and elaborate costumes for private clients, the theatre and the moves.[3]

Awards and nominations

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