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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

ACMI - Hollywood Costume - a must see

For those who are fascinated by film, and even those who are not, Hollywood Costume is a must see exhibition currently running 24 April 2013 - 18 August 2013 at ACMI (Australian Centre for the Moving Image) - Federation Square. Not only will you see over 100 iconic costumes including Dorothy's gingham dress from The Wizard of Oz, Marilyn Monroe's famed dress from Some Like it Hot, Audrey Hepburn's little black frock from Breakfast at Tiffany's (what a tiny waist she had!), John Wayne's ride-em-cowboy western outfits; Batman and Superman - of course; the Heath Leger and Jake Gyllenhaal clothes from Brokeback Mountain (the choice of jeans/riding boot heel height specifically different); Spiderman's costume - well the list goes on, and on, and on.
They are all there watching you - rather creepy! (Telegraph.co.uk)
The 'sets' are wonderful, the explanations more so, the interviews with famed actors insightful. I was fascinated by Meryl Streep describing the handbag that she carried when playing Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. "I wanted to know what was in the handbag" (not tissue paper as is often the case in a film) That handbag represented more to Meryl Streep than just the 'outside of the handbag'. For me the following summed up the detail that Meryl Streep goes to ensure the person she is playing is her. I quote from one of the succinct and enlightening clip-board explanations throughout the exhibition  'Clothing accessories enable actors to shape their role and create a new person. As costume designer Ann Roth says of working with Meryl Street in the fitting room: "We wait for the third person to arrive".

The presentation is terrific. Above each costume is a 'TV screen' with the head (moving) of the actor. 
Mama Mia Meryl Streep outfit with her smiling/singing face above (theclotheswhisperer.co.uk)
I was fortunate to attend a lecture by the curator of the show Deborah Nadoolman Landis - herself a costume designer (think Harrison Ford and his Indiana Jones outfits, and even Michael Jackson in his Thriller jacket). She is married to Director John Landis. She has stated that this is the greatest Hollywood costume exhibition in history. Her insightful lecture on the detailing that is required by the costume designer (every single piece of clothing must be chosen to tell a story - and that includes for all the extras). If she is told that the costumes were wonderful she feels she has failed at her job. The film/story tells the tale not the costumes - they are there to re-inforce the story not to take centre stage. 

Deborah Nadoolman Landis (ACMI)
The Hollywood Costume exhibition was originally organised by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London - we are fortunate to have this amazing exhibition here in Melbourne as part of the Melbourne Winter Masterpieces. Don't miss it.  

1 comment:

  1. I agree! I saw it at the V&A and would go again - for me, it was too much for one visit.