V&A to Exhibit Iconic Hollywood Costumes

The V&A museum have found 100 of the most iconic costumes from over a century of film-making and will be creating a ‘Hollywood Costume’ exhibition for the Autumn.

Running from 20 October 2012 – 27 January 2013 as the museum’s major exhibition, ‘Hollywood Costume’ is set to be a unique opportunity to see the costumes in person and marvel at how tiny actors must be to fit into them. The exhibition will feature unforgettable characters such as Dorothy Gale, Indiana Jones, Scarlett O’Hara, Jack Sparrow, Holly Golightly and Darth Vader. As well as costumes from Harry Potter and Twilight.

Among the costumes being shown will be classics from the golden age of film such as Dorothy’s blue and white gingham pinafore dress designed by Adrian for The Wizard of Oz (1939) worn by Judy Garland, Scarlett O’Hara’s green ‘curtain’ dress designed by Walter Plunkett for Gone with the Wind (1939) and the ‘little black dress’ designed by Hubert De Givenchy for Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961). The classics will be displayed alongside costumes from more modern Hollywood releases such as Consolata Boyle’s costumes for Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady (2011).

“On every film, the clothes are half the battle in creating the character. I have a great deal of opinion about how my people are presented. We show a great deal by what we put on our bodies.” – Meryl Streep

The costumes will be displayed alongside montages, film clips and projections so the clothes are shown in their original context. There will also be interviews with key Hollywood costume designers, directors and actors.


“I don’t dress movie stars. I dress actors who are playing characters.” – Ann Roth, Academy Award-winning costume designer

The massive feat of identifying, sourcing and securing all the costumes and objects for this exhibition took a lengthy five years and came from major motion picture studios, costume houses, public museums, archives and private individuals. “This landmark exhibition will provide a once in a life-time opportunity to explore the most beloved characters in Hollywood history and gain insight on the role of the costume designer and their vital contribution to cinema storytelling.” said Deborah Nadoolman Landis, Hollywood costume designer and senior guest curator.

In three galleries, the exhibition will chart the evolution of costume design from early Charlie Chaplin silent pictures to motion capture costume design for Avatar and John Carter. Costume is an essential tool of cinema storytelling and the exhibition will illuminate the costume designer’s creative process from script to screen and reveal the collaborative dialogue that leads to the invention of authentic people in the story. The exhibition will also examine the changing social and technological context in which costume designers have worked over the last century.

The Hollywood Costume Exhibition at the V&A Museum will run from 20 October 2012 – 27 January 2013.

The Museum is open daily 10:00 – 17:45 and until 22:00 every Friday. Entry to the V&A is free but the exhibition costs £14 (concessions available). Advance booking is advised Visit www.vam.ac.uk/hollywoodcostume or call 020 7907 7073

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