Free 24th Annual Costume Exhibition in Los Angeles
By Courtney Blackburn
Admit it: the best part of Disney’s 2015 live-action “Cinderella” remake was the dress. That blue, shimmering, somehow-always floating ball gown that made little girls squeal and grown women sigh.
Want to see it up close?
You can. For free. And throw in Imperator Furiosa’s mechanical arm. And a Stormtrooper from a galaxy far, far away.
FIDM, the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in downtown L.A., is hosting its 24th annual “Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition.” Over 100 outstanding costume designs from the hottest, most-Academy-Award-nominated movies from 2015 are on display to the public at no charge starting Tuesday, Feb. 9. If it sounds like a good deal, let me assure you that it is. At the media preview last Saturday night, Feb. 6, 23 different films showed some cloth while their designers smiled for the cameras.
There were dramatic costumes. There were realistic costumes. There were fantastic costumes.
All five Academy Award nominees for Costume Design – “Carol,” “Cinderella,” “The Danish Girl,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and “The Revenant” – were there, as well as a whole wall displaying highest-grossing fan-favorite “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Cinderella’s show-stopping ball gown was the first costume to greet visitors heading in to the gallery. And as one viewer exclaimed, “It is just as gorgeous in person!”
A few feet in, and vibrant decadence came from “Crimson Peak,” in a tailored Victorian dress of deep red with a train full of ruffles cascading out some six feet.
On blank-faced white mannequins, some of the clothes looked worn, but you need only picture Leonardo DiCaprio fighting a bear in “The Revenant” to make sense of that rugged, patched, skins-and-stitches outfit.
One particularly fun set of costumes (though apparently, no one saw the movie) was that for “Jem and the Holograms,” five slashed and safety-pinned rocker-chic looks that gave a pitch-perfect ‘80s vibe.
Subtle, but expertly-constructed vintage “Brooklyn” dresses and suits from “Bridge of Spies” took us back to another decade, right down to the sensible shoes and lowered hemlines.
“The Hateful Eight,” “Pitch Perfect 2,” and “Straight Outta Compton” may seem like strange bedfellows, but every bit of clothing in those movies was designed to help develop the characters and create the world.
If you tire of contemporary perfection – for, it seems, all the women of the silver screen are wasp-waisted and the men broad-shouldered – head down the hall to FIDM’s historic showroom and take a look at what was in fashion 100 or so years ago. Or visit the museum shop, which is packed with stunning photographs, jewelry, and books.
“The Art of Motion Picture Costume Design Exhibition” is open to the public Tuesday, Feb. 9 through Saturday, April 30. Visitors’ hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. FIDM is located in the heart of the fashion district at 919 S. Grand Ave (Corner of Grand Avenue and 9th Street). Parking is available under college building (entrance on 9th Street) or in surrounding lots. Call (213) 623-5821 ext. 2224 or visit www.FIDMmuseum.org for more information. Movie fans, you do not want to miss this. Get up close and personal with the threads that made your favorite characters last year.