Hollywood Costume at the V&A: Iconic Clothes for Iconic Characters

Movie buffs and fashionistas alike should love the V&A’s new major exhibition: gathering together over 130 of the most iconic costumes designed over a century, Hollywood Costume explores the central role played by costume design as an essential tool of cinema storytelling. Dazzling and enlightening in equal measure…

“On every film, the clothes are half the battle in creating the character”, or so once said Meryl Streep. And indeed, who can forget iconic classics such as Charlie Chaplin’s tramp suit, the ruby slippers worn by Dorothy on The Wizard of Oz (on public display in Europe for the first time ever), Scarlett O’Hara green “curtains” dress from Gone with the Wind, the revealing white cocktail dress worn by Marilyn in The Seven Year Itch, the little black dress designed by Givenchy for Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Superman’s blue and red leotard or Darth Vader’s armour- which all feature, amongst many others, in the V&A’s new exhibition? Using montages, film clips and projections, alongside interviews with key Hollywood costume designers, directors and actors, the clothes are placed in their original context, thus illuminating the costume designer’s creative process from script to screen. And shows in the process what an essential part costumes play in the art of cinema… “Hollywood Costume” at the V&A, 20 October 2012-27 January 2013 (Tickets £14) www.vam.ac.uk/hollywoodcostume

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