This exhibit is no longer at the V & A
A brightly lit marquee and a giant screen playing a montage of epic Hollywood films immediately draws you into a larger-than-life Hollywood experience. Central to the V & A’s Hollywood Costume Exhibit is the critical role of the costume designer in creating memorable characters and telling a believable story. The design of the exhibit allows visitors to slowly walk by and view not only the costume, but the story behind it, how it was made and why it was chosen. The curators brilliantly added actual movie scenes and small screens projecting the actors faces over the costumes, giving context to each display.
photo courtesy of V & A images
The continuous gasps and excited whispers from the crowd when they recognized a scene or a costume from a favourite film reinforced my initial impression that this was much more than a costume exhibit. It was interesting to see how many of the costumes evoked powerful memories and emotions. The Hans Solo costume prompted a conversation from a group…”Remember when we used to play Star Wars as kids? You were always Solo. I always had to be the Wookie…”
photo courtesy of V&A images
The costume worn by Kate Winslet in Titanic prompted one woman to remember her first date with her future husband. More than one man stopped and took a moment in front of the suit worn by Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct.
There were quite a few little ones dressed as Dorothy complete with sparkly red shoes à la Wizard of Oz trailing past Spiderman, Superman and a few other childhood favorites. I spent an inordinate amount of time in front of Daniel Craig’s costume from Casino Royale. It was hard not to touch.
There was absolutely something for everyone, regardless of your age, gender or movie genre preference. Sadly, no photography allowed (and you know I’m such a rule follower…ha!) so I listed some of my favorites costumes as they appear via movie clips. Seems appropriate, yes?
Matt Damon’s costume (Jason Bourne) in Bourne Ultimatum
The Oceans Eleven costume display includes a storyboard of sorts, explaining the research and design that went into the creation of each character’s style.
Harrison Ford’s costume (Indiana Jones) in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Whip, hat and jacket included.
The Darth Vader (Star Wars, Episode V) costume was a huge draw. The original started with a black leather motorcycle suit, a nazi helmet, a gas mask and a cloak borrowed from the middle ages costume department. The rest is history.
Daniel Craig’s (Bond. James Bond) costume from Casino Royale. No touching.
Keanu Reeves’ costume (Neo, aka the One) from The Matrix
Daniel Radcliffe’s (Harry Potter) cape from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
The infamous/famous dress from Gone With The Wind, worn by Vivien Leigh. (This one is for you, Norma)
And yes…THAT dress…from Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Marilyn Monroe’s iconic dress from The Seven Year Itch
And the most anticipated costume of all…Dorothy’s blue checked dress and ruby slippers.
There are so many more (Austin Powers, Independence Day, Blue’s Brothers), but I have work to do and so do you…Put this on your must-see-once-in-a-lifetime list, book tickets online and plan on visiting for at least two hours. The exhibit is on until 27 January.
Thank you, Harry Winston.
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