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Phoenix Art Museum to premiere vintage Hollywood costumes
Sep '13
Phoenix Art Museum will present the Western U.S. premiere of Hollywood Costume, a major, multimedia exhibition featuring more than 75 costumes from a century of filmmaking, many of which have never been displayed outside the walls of secured studio archives and private collections. This ticketed exhibition, organized by London's Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), will open in Phoenix on March 26, 2014, on view through July 6.

"It is an honor for Phoenix Art Museum to present Hollywood Costume, which uniquely explores the pivotal role that costume plays in cinematic storytelling, the ways in which an actor's dress influences the character he or she becomes," said James K. Ballinger, the Museum's Sybil Harrington Director. "It is so much more than a collection of costumes. It is a collection of the sparks that ignite the stories we love."

The exhibition offers the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see an astonishing array of some of the most recognizable costumes from films that have profoundly shaped American culture in the last 100 years.

It includes some of the most famous costumes in film history, such as Dorothy's blue-and-white gingham dress from The Wizard of Oz (Adrian), Indiana Jones' slouchy leather jacket from Raiders of the Lost Ark (Deborah Nadoolman Landis), and the infamous billowing white 'subway' dress of Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch (William Travilla).

Alongside contemporary films such as Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Jany Temime), Gladiator (Janty Yates), Titanic (Deborah L. Scott), Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (John Bloomfield), and Dreamgirls (Sharen Davis), some of the most unexpected treasures of Hollywood Costume will be the opportunity for visitors to see ensembles that have been immortalized only in black-and-white films such as Hedy Lamarr's peacock-inspired dress in Samson and Delilah (Edith Head, 1949) in full color, forever changing the viewer's perspective of these memorable costumes.

"Many would find it surprising to learn that most costume designers were not even listed in film credits until the 1940s," explains Dennita Sewell, Curator of Fashion Design at Phoenix Art Museum.

"Hollywood Costume truly examines, for the first time, the weight and importance of the costume designers' contributions to the development of a story, and the creation of a world unto itself."

Beyond a display of rarely-seen costumes, the exhibition illuminates the designer's creative process from script to screen, and the collaborative dialogue between designer, director and actor, blending multimedia elements and integrating technology such as video interviews that examine the ways in which costume enriches character and story, resulting in a meaningful and memorable film experience.

The exhibition will explore the role of costume in storytelling through a progression of three acts or themes, all of which include a historical journey beginning as early as the era of silent film and as recent as the world of motion-capture suits used in films such as Avatar.

It moves through more elaborate, glamorous confections such as Vanessa Redgrave's embellished ivory dress as Guinevere in Camelot (John Truscott), to the subtle, seemingly plain-clothes ensemble of Javier Bardem's turn as Anton in No Country for Old Men (Mary Zophres).

Phoenix Art Museum

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