I have been getting excited about seeing the V&A’s Hollywood Costume exhibition since it was announced earlier this year. I just couldn’t wait to see Audrey Hepburn’s dress and pearls from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, all the marvellous creations of costume designer Edith Head, as well as getting up close and personal with the replica Harry Winston Isadora necklace as seen in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, well last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the press preview and I wasn’t disappointed.
This is a huge exhibition, there are more than a hundred costumes from some of the most iconic films – from Scarlett O’Hara’s green curtain dress from Gone with the Wind, Joan Crawford’s blue gingham waitress uniform in Mildred Pierce, John Travolta’s white-3-piece suit from Saturday Night Fever, and there is even a huge displays dedicated to Indiana Jones – complete with fedora hat and whip.
Situated over three rooms, this exhibition really embraces the world of movies, literally full of lights, camera and action *sorry couldn’t resist*. As well as having the costumes on displays the lighting, the sound, and the use of technology makes you feel like you are in the cinema. Granted it maybe a little dark in places, a little noisy, and somewhat spooky seeing a slow-moving image of the actors face displayed on a TV screen suspended above the costume, but I think that adds to the atmosphere of the exhibition.
The three rooms are designed to tell the story of costume design, from the role of the costume designer in cinema, the creative process of collaborations, and finishing up with the finale, which is basically an overload of all the best known costumes in cinema history – all your heroes and heroines are there. Even some of my favourites are included such as Katharine Hepburn’s jewelled evening gown from The Philadelphia Story, Keira Knightley’s green silk from Atonement, Barbra Streisand’s Funny Girl ball gown, and Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods even shines in her pink two-piece suit.
As the exhibition is sponsored by Harry Winston the jewellery has re-created the famous ‘Isadora’ necklace as worn by Kate Hudson in one of my favourite rom-coms How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Seeing the diamond cluster necklace with its 51.94 carat yellow sapphire drop pendant is one of my highlights - also her yellow silk dress is just as stunning as it is on-screen.
Another highlight was seeing Edith Head’s pale green suit designed for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds from 1963, this section really brings the costume to life with the use of technology. I don’t want to give it away, but I could have spent all day just checking this one section out, the interviews and the sketches were really incredible – also pretty cool seeing the birds fly over the display.
The exhibition is open to the public until January 27, 2013 – so you don’t need to rush – give yourself plenty of time to take it all in. Tickets are £14 each and I would recommend booking online – this is going to be a popular exhibition.
I am not going to spoil the exhibition – but can you name all the below films from the costume?