The most iconic costumes of Hollywood’s Golden Age and from the rest of the world of cinema are currently on display in Los Angeles as part of The Victoria and Albert Museum, London and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences exhibition Hollywood Costume. The ticketed exhibit opened October 2 and runs through March 12 in the Wilshire May Company Building, the future location of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
The exhibition of more than 150 costumes includes many from genre pictures (designer’s name in parentheses) — like Darth Vader’s armor from The Empire Strikes Back (John Mollo, 1980), Indiana Jones’ leather jacket and fedora from Raiders of the Lost Ark (Deborah Nadoolman, 1981), plus items from The Hunger Games (Judianna Makovsky, 2012), Mary Poppins (Tony Walton, 1964), Raiders of the Lost Ark (Deborah Nadoolman, 1981), Man of Steel (James Acheson and Michael Wilkinson, 2013), The Addams Family (Ruth Myers, 1991), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Jany Temime, 2009), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Tish Monaghan, 2009), Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (April Ferry, 2003) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Eiko Ishioka, 1992).
The story of costume design from early Charlie Chaplin (The Tramp, 1912) to the present day is told through montages, animation, film clips, and projections, and a musical score by British composer Julian Scott. Among the other classics represented are Morocco, Titanic, Malcolm X, and L.A. Confidential.
One part explores key director/designer pairings, among them Alfred Hitchcock and Edith Head, who worked together on 11 films including The Birds (1963), and Tim Burton and Colleen Atwood, whose collaborations include Edward Scissorhands (1990) to Dark Shadows (2012).
Another shows how costume design is considered in animation, such as Joanna Johnston’s design for Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), and films integrating motion-capture like Avatar (Mayes C. Rubio, Deborah L. Scott, 2009).
In addition, Hollywood Costume showcases the Academy’s pair of the most famous shoes in the world – the original ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz (Adrian, 1939) shown with Dorothy’s blue and white gingham pinafore dress.
The most famous shoes in the world were made in 1938 for a Kansas farm girl named Dorothy. It is not known how many pairs were created, but it is believed that four pairs used in the film still exist today. The surviving pairs were made in sizes 5C, 5.5 and 6B to accommodate actress Judy Garland, her stand-in and stunt double. The slippers began as white silk pumps made by the Innes Shoe Company in Los Angeles and they were later dyed red at MGM Studios before being covered with fabric that had been hand-sewn with approximately 2,300 sequins. Each red leather bow, designed especially by Adrian, sparkles with red glass stones and bugle beads. The Academy’s nearly pristine pair, known as the “Witch’s Shoes,” are widely believed to be the slippers Garland wore in close ups and insert shots, most famously when Dorothy clicks her heels three times to return to Kansas. For Adrian, designing the iconic costumes for The Wizard of Oz was “The greatest fun I have ever had.”
The exhibition is open every day except Wednesday. Admission: $20 Adults; $15 Seniors (62+); $10 for students with ID and children under 13