Costume designers are the unsung heroes of Hollywood. Sure, when you’re watching an elaborate period drama or something of the like, you might admire the costumes, but generally, the vast majority of moviegoers don’t focus on costumes.
The result of five years of work, Hollywood Costume wants to draw your attention to what characters wear. The research and time and discussion that goes into costuming is, well, a lot. And costumes can define a character and make them iconic. Just look at Audrey Hepburn’s “little black dress” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Marilyn Monroe’s Seven Year Itch dress, Russell Crowe’s Gladiator gear or the wizarding robes worn by Harry Potter. Those are among the 100 costumes by over 50 designers on display.
The ACMI exhibition isn’t just a room full of clothes though. Professor Deborah Nadoolman Landis is well positioned as the curator of Hollywood Costume, which brings together dozens of iconic and well-known costumes, and looks at the work that went into them, and why they’re so famous. Divided into three parts (I: What is costume design?, II: Creative Contexts, and III: The Finale), it has a sense of structure without being restrictive.
It is all brought together with a beautiful score, and the end result is a fascinating look at one of the most unappreciated parts of movies.
Hollywood Costume is open daily at ACMI from 10am to 5pm (9pm on Thursdays) until 18 August 2013.