On Sunday I went to the V&A Hollywood costumes exhibition, along with what felt like half of London. Despite the crowds it was a great day out.
We started off by playing which of the films have we seen? And even though neither of us are great cinema goers we quickly found it was difficult to find a costume where we hadn’t seen the film.
The information about the designers thought processes was particularly interesting. For example Jason Bourne’s clothes were chosen because they were so ordinary. Usually the audience can pick out a character in a crowd scene because they are wearing a particular colour. In Jason Bourne’s case they wanted him to get slightly lost in the crowd scenes so intentionally dressed him in drab clothes. Harrison Forde’s hat in Raiders of the Lost Ark was based on an Australian hat but with the brim modified so you can get a better view of his face.
Where films had been remade (they had several of Cleopatras and a brace of Elizabeth I’s) you could see how the era the film was made in influenced the costume. Apparently contemporary films are the most difficult to dress because everyone knows about current fashions and you probably don’t want the actor to stand out from the normal.
The last room was were they showed the iconic costumes; Marilyn’s sunray pleated dress, Audrey’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s dress, Superman, the Blue’s Brothers and 007’s tuxedo. The last exhibit of all being the Judy Garland’s ruby slippers.
So what was my favourite? Well it has to be Meryl Streep’s costume for the song they sang through the credits at the end of Abba (was it Waterloo?). An all in one covered in sequins with tight trousers flared from the knee.