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The V&A’s Hollywood Costume exhibition

October 26, 2012

FashionFilm + Entertainment | by Danny & Josh

The V&A opens our eyes this autumn to the wonderful world of film costume design- and what an incredible exhibition it is. While I may have chosen an arduous time to visit the V&A’s Hollywood Costume exhibition (Wednesday afternoons equal Seniors day), this exhibition is a must this season for anyone who’s ever watched a film.
Not merely an array of costumes on mannequins, Hollywood Costumes takes you on a thorough journey exploring every facet of the industry. While many of us may see the role of a costume designer as fun and frivolous, soon you are to learn the pivotal and crucial role the costume designer plays in the creation of a film’s plot, it’s characters, and context.

Through our favourite films, such as Fight Club, Brokeback Mountain, Closer, Indiana Jones, and The Adams Family curators Deborah Nadoolman Landis, Sir Christopher Frayling, and V&A’s own Keith Lodwick allow us to step into the minds of some of the most successful costume designers, and trace their thought process from fabric inspiration, style research, and character building. Their clever curatorship keeps the exhibition’s momentum in tack, presenting the multitude of aspects a costume designer must consider. Deborah Nadoolman Landis, Hollywood costume designer and senior guest curator, said: “This landmark exhibition provides 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.” The impressive selection and number of costume examples, in my opinion, is simply the icing on a cake whose detailed explanation is second to none.

Thanks to lead sponsor Harry Winston, the collating of garments took five years in the making, allowing us to lay eyes on Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers, Darth Vader’s helmet, Harry Potter’s cape, and Scarlett O’Hara’s green ‘curtain’ dress. It pays homage to the empire of Hollywood, and it’s most epic moments never forgotten.


Advance booking advised. Visit www.vam.ac.uk/hollywoodcostume or call 020 7907 7073 (booking fee applies). Tickets are £14 (concessions available)

The Museum is open daily 10:00 – 17:45 and until 22:00 every Friday

The exhibition is showing until January 27th, 2013.




Words by Stephanie Kukulka