The Movies/ Hollywood Does Fashion

“It’s not an exhibition about clothes,” costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis, the curator of the Hollywood Costume announced at the exhibition’s preview. “This is an exhibition about the movies, storytelling, about caring, about how you can see a movie over and over and over again because you want to be in it.”

The inaugural exhibit at L.A.’s future Academy Museum of Motion Pictures  — presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, where it was first showcased — does exactly that. It allows visitors to be part of a cinematic character’s development through a sartorial scope. After spending half a decade curating more than 150 original costume pieces, the “innovative exhibition,” as Landis describes it, first appeared in London in 2012 and now found its new home at L.A.’s Wilshire May Company building next to LACMA, where it will be on display until March 2.

The exhibit “explores the central role of costume design” tracing a century’s worth of movie costumes dating back to the silent era—including Charlie Chaplin’s suit, derby hat and bamboo cane from The Tramp. Among the collection with over 150 items, the Academy added more than 50 pieces from newer films, including Dallas Buyers Club, The Hunger Games, American Hustle and Lee Daniels’ The Butler.

The exhibit’s entryway displays legendary costume designer Edith Head’s whopping eight Oscars. The famed designer of Hollywood’s Golden Age is known for her work on many films, like All About Eve, Sunset Boulevard, Rear Window and Vertigo. She was behind the pale green dress and jacket in which Tippi Hedren was nearly pecked to death in The Birds, and she also outfitted Hedy Lamarr in Samson and Delilah, including a cape made with real peacock feathers handpicked by Cecil B. DeMille on his farm. Not to mention one of Oscars most memorable Oscar gown of all time, the icy blue confection worn by Grace Kelly in 1955.

The clothes are paired with quotes and video interviews with designers, actors and directors like Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton and Quentin Tarantino and there is another reason which makes this display stand out among other costume exhibits. Marilyn Monroe’s white silk halter dress from The Seven Year Itch and Dorothy’s ruby slippers, as worn by Judy Garland, in The Wizard of Oz. Period.