A high-pitched cackled laugh from the Wicked Witch of the West welcomes us to the start of the Hollywood Costume Exhibit at the Richmond Virginia Fine Arts Museum. The curator mentions this exhibit will visit only four places in the world. The exhibit has already been to London and Australia. Once it’s finished in the east coast it will head over to the west coast.
When you begin the journey of the Hollywood Costumes Exhibit, you will see video clips of movies from across the decades with extraordinary costume choices. One of the very first costumes is a dazzling Dream Girls dress which sparkles across the room due to the perfect lighting of the exhibit. In the corner, you come across a video with birds flying and pecking at the screen as the backdrop to Academy Award Winner Edith Head’s The Birds costume. As you walk to the next room, you feel as if you’ve entered an Elizabethan fashion show. On the runaway there are costumes from Elizabeth I, Shakespeare in Love, and Marie Antoinette.
Around the corner is a room transformed into the Action and Adventure costumes. In those rooms you hear theme songs from the Pirates of the Caribbean, James Bond, and Indiana Jones films. Sherlock Holmes, in his layered look, is in the middle with his pipe standing next to tuxedoed James Bond with his gun drawn. Across from them you have two soldiers one from Independence Day and the other Saving Private Ryan. The soldiers costumes still have dust on the boots and pieces of dirt laying on top of the worn uniforms. When exiting, Indiana Jones is right there with his trusty hat and whip. All the articles of clothing look like they just came out of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The quality of the items are authentic and dusty.
When you leave the “Action and Adventure“ section, you head over to the “Superheroes”costumes. There is the classic red and blue Superman IV costume hanging from the ceiling. The Spider-Man costume is crawling out from the floor. The webbing detail is spectacular. The Dark Knight Rises Batman is looking overhead. A Gryffindor robe holding a wand was regal. You are able to walk right up to the costume and see the intricate details to a robe we’ve seen in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince countless times. You can inspect every stitch that goes into the Gryffindor emblem. The costume was designed by Jany Temime. On a plaque Temime responds to making the Gryffindor robes. She says
“I wanted to bring a wizard element to the English boarding school design. That is why I added a long pointed hood to the gown. The dark red inside the hood and sleeves shows the student’s house (Gryffindor for Harry). It also brings some life to the great hall scenes, where all the students in black are together, by adding some touches of color.”
Last but not least, you travel down the yellow brick road and examine the works of designer Adrian and her iconic gray checkered dress with red ruby slippers from the classic film The Wizard of Oz. The Wicked Witch of the West hat with the long flowing black scarf makes an appearance as well.
Throughout the entire exhibit the backdrops were black, and the spotlights hit every costume perfectly. You were able to see every detail in each costume down the last jewel or golden stitch as in James Acheson’s The Last Emperor costume.
The Hollywood Costume Exhibit runs from November 9, 2013 to February 17, 2014. You can find out more about the exhibit on the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts website right here. Will you be attending this amazing costume exhibit? Let us know in the comments below!
Guest blogger is Kristen Keys, MuggleNet Social Media Team