Friday, 20 January 2012

V&A Unveils Hollywood Glamour

This exhibition will only open this fall but the press was invited to have a sneak preview with a live presentation by Professor Deborah Nadoolman Landis, a leading Hollywood costume designer and author, who has been nominated for an Academy Award.

Keira Knightley as Cecila Tallis in Atonement (2007)
Costume Designer: Jacqueline Durran
Focus Features, the Kobal Collection, Alex Bailey
(Exhibition Highlights)

She is the senior guest curator of this exhibition and her enthusiasm about costume design filled the entire room, speaking passionately about unforgettable costumes and the people who have inhabited them.

"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 represented. We show a great deal by what we put in our bodies." Meryl Streep

Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
Costume Designer - Hupert De Givenchy
(Exhibition Highlights)

Other speakers included Professor Sir Christopher Frayling, guest curator, and Keith Lodwick, assistant curator who is writing a chapter on the fascinating journey of finding the clothes for this exhibition in Hollywood Costume by Landis, which will be published in October.

They all have been working on this exhibition for the past 5 years and we couldn't be more excited about it, it's such a breath of fresh air, light but poignant as many movies capture a particular moment of civilisation with such vividness that they overcome the barriers of time and go on living in our minds.

Joan Crawford as Anni Pavlovitch in The Bride Wore Red (1937)
Costume Designer - Adrian
(Exhibition Highlights)

We all have our favourite so-called fashion movies, from American Gigolo to Breakfast at Tiffany's, (these were actually designed by Giorgio Armani and Hupert De Givenchy) to Some like it Hot, Cleopatra and Atonement (who can forget Keira Knightley's emerald silk evening gown?), this exhibition features the most memorable Hollywood characters.

As Deborah Landis said in her presentation movies are about falling in love with people brought to life by talented actors and costume design plays a pivotal role in bringing these people to life. The audience has to believe people in the movies are real.

Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Costume Designer - Adrian
(Exhibition Highlights)

"Everything about costumes have to resonate true. Even the heel height tells the story." Deborah Nadoolman Landis

The movie that I have watched more times in my life was Out of Africa, I love her bravery and his free mindedness, the breathtaking landscapes, the extraordinary music and of course, her clothes. I love Karen Blixen's book and my affection for Meryl Street comes from that role in particular despite her brilliance in other films.

Tippi Hedren as Melanie Daniels in The Birds (1963)
Costume Designer - Edith Head
(Exhibition Highlights)

Whatever the movie you're most drawn to, it's very likely that you'll find the costume on display, it's a comprehensive exhibition which even includes films that are on show today such as The Iron Lady.  

The costume designer takes centre stage and his ability to interpret a character is duly recognised. It's unbelievable that it took 20 years for the Academy Awards to recognise the costume designer!

Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater in Titanic (1997)
Costume Designer - Deborah L. Scott
(Exhibition Highlights)

This presentation made me realise why I love fashion, it's not only its changing nature which can be perceived in everything else and the way it translates the present moment, but above all it's the transformation.

Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver (1976)
Costume Designer - Ruth Morley
(Exhibition Highlights)

Clothes can communicate so many things about us, making us look many different people... It's such a powerful way of expressing ourselves! We can see this happening not only in Hollywood but in the music industry, music videos also depict singers in a myriad of ways. 

But this would be another exhibition, Kylie Minogue's outfits have already been on display at the V&A... Certainly a museum at the forefront of innovation.

Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Costume Designer - Deborah Nadoolman
Lucasfilm, Paramount, The Kobal Collection
(Exhibition Highlights)

Hollywood Costume
Victoria & Albert Museum
12 October 2012 - 27 January 2013

Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)
Costume Designer - Penny Rose
(Exhibition Highlights)

Other related posts:
Have a Personal Stylist!
The Collection of Elizabeth Taylor
Shoot for the Stars! Designers & Showbiz