Hollywood costumes exhibit opens

A selection of costumes showing various designs and outfits worn by actress playing royal and regal characters are on display at the Hollywood Costume exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum in London. The exhibit showcases more than 100 movie costumes from a century of film-making. The exhibition will open to the public Saturday and will continue through Jan. 27. Enlarge photo

Alastair Grant/Associated Press

A selection of costumes showing various designs and outfits worn by actress playing royal and regal characters are on display at the Hollywood Costume exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum in London. The exhibit showcases more than 100 movie costumes from a century of film-making. The exhibition will open to the public Saturday and will continue through Jan. 27.

LONDON – A new London exhibition has brought together more than 100 Hollywood costumes, from Darth Vader’s suit to the world’s most famous ruby slippers.

The show, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, aims to tell the story of the process of costume design and how it helps create believable characters, curators said Tuesday.

“It’s not really about the clothes – it’s really about creating an authentic individual, every time,” said guest curator Deborah Landis, who has designed costumes for movies including “The Blues Brothers.”

Many of cinema’s most legendary outfits are here: Charlie Chaplin’s baggy suit, hat and cane ensemble; Holly Golightly’s black Givenchy gown in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”; Scarlett O'Hara’s green velvet dress from “Gone with the Wind”; and Indiana Jones’ leather jacket and fedora from “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

Among the show’s highlights are Dorothy’s ruby slippers and blue and white gingham pinafore from “The Wizard of Oz,” which were united for the first time since the 1939 movie was filmed.

The museum’s assistant curator, Keith Lodwick, said his team spent five years on a worldwide treasure hunt, borrowing the costumes from museums, collectors and film studios.

There were plenty of glamorous gowns from Hollywood’s best-known screen sirens: Marilyn Monroe’s white halter-neck dress from “The Seven Year Itch”; Elizabeth Taylor’s floor-length cream gown in “Cleopatra”; and Barbra Streisand’s purple evening dress in “Funny Girl.”

But Lodwick said the exhibition also included some unusual choices to surprise viewers expecting just outlandish sci-fi outfits and elaborate period costumes.

“All movie costumes, no matter the genre, are always meticulously researched,” Lodwick said.

Matt Damon’s casual outfit in the “Bourne Identity” action movies, for example, may “look just like a jacket and shirt, but it was meant to make him disappear into a crowd,” he said.

The exhibition will open Saturday and run until Jan. 27.

Alastair Grant/Associated Press
One of the four original pairs of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland playing Dorothy from the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz” are on view at the Hollywood Costume exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The slippers are on loan from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and are on display till Nov. 18, when they must be returned in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. The slippers were designed by MGM studios’ chief costume designer Adrian, who designed most of the costumes for “The Wizard of Oz.” Enlarge photo

Alastair Grant/Associated Press One of the four original pairs of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland playing Dorothy from the 1939 film “The Wizard of Oz” are on view at the Hollywood Costume exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The slippers are on loan from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History and are on display till Nov. 18, when they must be returned in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. The slippers were designed by MGM studios’ chief costume designer Adrian, who designed most of the costumes for “The Wizard of Oz.”

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