A Tribute to Helen McCrory: Forever our Aunt Polly

A Tribute to Helen McCrory: Forever our Aunt Polly

On Friday 16th April 2021, it was announced that actress Helen Elizabeth McCrory OBE had sadly passed away. Her husband and actor Damian Lewis revealed the news on his Twitter, saying he was "heartbroken to announce that after an heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family. She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we love her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives. She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you." 

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McCrory's studies took place at the Drama Centre London where after in 1990, she earned her first acting role on stage in the play 'The Importance of Being Earnest' and from there, her portfolio of roles continued to grow and grow. She acted on the stage, in television and film where she performed in 'As You Like It', 'Penny Dreadful' and 'The Queen' respectively. Nominated for her many roles across the platforms, she accumulated a number of accolades over her career, including her win in 2014 for Best Actress at the Critics' Choice Television Awards for her role in the show 'Medea'; but what some may know her more from is her role as Narcissa Malfoy, mother of Draco Malfoy in 'Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince', and both parts of 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows'. More recently, what she is very well known for is her role of Aunt Polly, the strong female role and character of the Shelby family in the TV series, 'Peaky Blinders'. Here's what the official Instagram account posted regarding her sad passing:

 

We reflect on the great actress and take a look at some of her most iconic styles, both on and off-screen, and there's only one place to begin where she has provided us with some fantastic inspiration:

Aunt Polly - Peaky Blinders

 

 

Taken from the latest series of 'Peaky Blinders' seen so far, Helen McCrory's Aunt Polly is seen dressed in a powerful grey three-piece suit that really epitomised the power she had as head female of the Shelby family. The jacket has a curved hemline and flapped pockets, a single button fastening and sharp peak lapels noticeably wider than the collar. The trousers are cut in the wide leg silhouette, a style seen with suit trousers from the 1920's, but also a style matching her powerful presence. The waistcoat is cut in a single-breasted style with matching grey buttons that have a high neckline, but appropriate designed for the big wing collar to hang over the edge. The chosen accessories of the tie, gloves and trilby hat worn with the darkened glasses have made this a signature look of her character and the show.

Below are two of her other looks from the show of which she had so many infamous costumes, but they show the strength and elegance Helen McCrory so wonderfully performed as Aunt Polly: the first being a long-sleeve dark navy shirt with a notable wide cream collar, and the second being a glamorous golden evening gown worn with white elbow-length gloves and a delicate ruching detail on the neckline.

 

 

 Narcissa Malfoy - Harry Potter

 

Her role as Narcissa Malfoy in 'Harry Potter' was also one to remember, playing the mother of Draco Malfoy (played by Tom Felton) as they are involved in the Dark Arts world. The costumes she wore were dark, one example above wear she is wearing a velvet gown featuring subtle embroidery around the neckline. The shoulders are padded on this costume, but are softer on the costume below. The coat she wears here is similar with the symmetrical pattern on the front leading perfectly into the two silver buttons for the fastening. Flapped pockets are also included on this costume, and whilst her wardrobe in the film may have been dark to convey her character, she stood out with her great performance in the three films she featured in. Her on-screen son posted a lovely tribute below to the late actress:

 

 A Loving Wife

Helen McCrory was a mother of two children and a loving wife to husband and actor Damian Lewis of almost 14 years. Below is a photo from a shoot they did with Vogue in 2013 as the couple both look dashing in their tailored attire but together, are a power couple who were indeed just completely in love with one another. Both wearing black suits with herself wearing the jacket fastened, three buttons on the cuffs and straight leg trousers, McCrory herself looked ever so elegant here too with the look finished off with black court heels.

 

Many times have they appeared together on the red carpet and spotted together at public events looking stylish and a couple whose love was strong. Here's just a few of many photos of the couple together.

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Helen McCrory OBE 

In November 2017, Helen McCrory was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace, for her services to the drama world through her many fantastic roles. On the day of receiving her award, she gleamed in a lovely pale pink pleated coat worn over a black embroidered dress with a black fascinator hat. The pink woollen coat was designed without lapels, allowing the dress details to be noticed too. The fascinator itself includes purple fabric manipulated to look like flowers which creates a lovely link between the accessory and her garment. Paired with black gloves and matching court heels, this was definitely a proud moment for her.
 
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 On The Red Carpet

 Helen McCrory made many appearances at award ceremonies, film premieres and red carpet events with her husband and the casts she starred alongside. Her dresses would differ from vintage glamour to modern elegance but her presence was ever so strong: she knew how to make a statement. 

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 A talented actress, a loving mother and wife, Helen McCrory was also a patron for the London-based children's charity, Scene & Heard, and last year, herself and her husband raised over £1 million for the charity Feed NHS during the pandemic. She truly made an impact in the acting world and to those who knew her dearly.

From the team at A Hand Tailored Suit, we send our thoughts and condolences to her family, friends and those who deeply admired Helen McCrory.

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