Hollywood Costume Design

What inspires you? I adore the details behind the costuming of feature films, for they tell a story in a beautiful, confident way, sans words. My interview with Sophie de Rakoff inspired me to sign up for a costume design course and go a bit further, interviewing another creative visionary, Julie Weiss, an interview I will share later this week. In the meantime, lets all click our ruby slippers and transport ourselves to London. The V&A’s exhibition, Hollywood Costume, explores the central role costume design plays in cinema storytelling. Bringing together over 100 of the most iconic movie costumes, it is quite difficult to delight in only one.

dorothy1939’s The Wizard of Oz is my favorite film of all time. The costume designer, known as Adrian, created one of the most recognized costumes in film history. The blue and white gingham pinafore, worn by Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale, was made in the MGM costume workroom on a treadle sewing machine as if it were sewn by her Auntie Em.

1-the-birdsEdith Head, whose long career in Hollywood garnered her more Academy Awards than any other woman in history, created the Hitchcock heroine’s omnipresent pale green suit, worn by Tippi Hedren as Melanie Daniels in 1963’s The Birds.


Rose DeWitt Bukater was born by the collaboration of Kate Winslet’s genius and Deborah L. Scott’s expressive talent. 1997’s Titanic begins with a young Rose boarding the ship, outfitted in a finely tailored suit made of white twill fabric with dark violet pinstripes. Academy Award winner Scott compliments the look with a lapel, cuffs, belt and buttons created in fine royal purple satin along with a stiff white shirt and thin tie. The pre-World War I silhouette is finished off with with a hip extending jacket and narrow hobble skirt. A large picture hat, made of Milan straw with a double bow, completes the grand ensemble.

Image Credits: 1)20th Century Fox/Paramount/The Kobal Collection 2) Focus Features/Alex Bailey/The Kobal Collection 3) 20th Century Fox/The Kobal Collection

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