BY: KARINA CORTEZ
The art of costume design represents one of the most integral roles during the making of a film. It's through costumes that an actor can better immerse themselves in their character. A fact proven through every room at the Hollywood Costume exhibition in Los Angeles. The exhibit opened to the public on October 2 and runs until March 2, 2015.
Coordinated by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the collection is shown in the historic Wilshire May Company Building--the future site of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, set to open in 2017.
Before entering the exhibit, presented are all eight Academy Awards belonging to legendary costume designer Edith Head. Head won her Oscars for films such as Roman Holiday starring Audrey Hepburn and The Sting starring Paul Newman.
The exhibition begins with a large screen playing a montage of scenes, edited together in the style of a movie trailer, from films like Titanic (1997), Pretty Woman (1990), and The Wizard of Oz (1939).
There are four rooms each broken up into "Scenes." Through each scene guests are prepared to learn what costume design lends its hand to during the making of a film.
“Scene I” poses the question, "What is costume design?" While explaining that it not only has a visual aspect in a film but also a narrative one.
Julie Andrew's costume from her iconic role of Mary Poppins is displayed with her magical umbrella. Alongside it is Charlie Chaplin's most notable Little Tramp outfit complete with top hat and cane.
Wardrobe from films like The Social Network, Fight Club, The Addams Family, and Raiders of the Lost Ark are showcased along with many others. A special area is dedicated to "royal romance" films featuring gowns from Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, and Queen Elizabeth I.
Creative collaborations between costume designer and director are what encompass “Scene II.” A long table helps to display costumes while "chairs" are displaying interviews with the director and costume designer of each film as if they are tangibly in the room with you.
Daniel Day-Lewis's costume from his role in Gangs of New York is presented. In his interview, director Martin Scorsese says, "The costume is the character, there is no doubt."
Creative contexts form “Scene III” by noting that actors often discover their character in the fitting room.
While many outfits are displayed in “scene III,” at the center of it all are the superheroes. Costumes from The Dark Knight Rises, Man of Steel, Captain America, Iron Man 3, and X-Men: Days of Future Past create the very center of the room. With Spider-Man scaling the wall in his signature pose.
Like all of the classic films on display, the exhibit finished with a climactic finale in “Scene IV.” Costumes from some of the most iconic films in cinematic history were joined together on one platform.
Marilyn Monroe's immortal white, wind-prone dress from The Seven Year Itch is one of the first costumes shown once entering the final room.
It's then a cluster of costumes from many films but with each renowned character maintaining their own spotlight.
The last costume on display is the much celebrated blue gingham dress worn by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz. Seeing as though Garland's character of Dorothy is not only an iconic image of classic cinema history but also well known worldwide, it's understandable that the exhibition comes to a close on her famed red ruby slippers.
This Hollywood exhibition is not only a cinephile’s dream but it is also made for anyone who’s ever gone to the movies and marveled over that one special character.
If this exhibit is a sign of things to come for the new Academy Museum, there will be a lot to look forward to come 2017.